After several days of build-up, the hype evaporated into thin air. Kanye West, the rumored special guest at last weekend’s Monte Foundation Fireworks Show, did not indeed show up, and fans were left thinking, what the heck was that all about?
West had solid links with both rapper Really Doe (who did perform) and Griffin Guess, the LA music producer who co-produced the Monte event. So it was not out of the realm of possibility that the superstar hip-hop artist might gift Seacliff Beach with his presence.
Those links were intriguing enough to get those of us in the media into a low boil about the idea of West jetting into Aptos.
Guess, who is married to supermodel and Santa Cruz native Marisa Miller, did nothing to squash the rumors, nor did the Monte Foundation or fellow rapper Really Doe, a friend and collaborator. The event was running ads talking about a surprise special guest. The official word, as the event approached, on Kanye was a definitive maybe.
Generally, coyness drives journalists crazy, and that’s what we were getting. Meanwhile, the news hit on Thursday that West had cancelled his entire upcoming tour. Of course, these are weird days for West who committed an act of brazen rudeness at the Video Music Awards against country singer Taylor Swift, followed by a weeping apology on the set of the Jay Leno show.
Why would West, who clearly want to disappear for a while, want to come to Aptos for a fireworks show? Well, a school fundraiser might be a good PR move. But I never really thought this guy really cared too much about his public image, at least outside his fan base.
Even after the news hit that West had cancelled his tour, the possibility that he would come to Aptos was dangled to the local press. We were told that there would an announcement on Friday morning on KDON. There was no such announcement. On Saturday, we were told that the surprise guest was “in the air.”
The Monte show did indeed have a special surprise guest, the rapper GLC who is a protege of Kanye West. But clearly, the press and the audience was led to believe that West himself would show.
It could have been a case of West, a mercurial figure obviously, telling everyone he would come, until changing his mind at the last minute. Or it could have been the case that a slick LA producer coming to his wife’s hometown to hype the locals and dangle Kanye for an audience of kids.
The acts that did show up, by many reports, put on fine performances, the fireworks were great, and the Monte Foundation should be lauded for doing all this to help out schools. But the Kanye ruse leaves a sour taste. There’s little doubt that somebody got punked. The question is, who did the punking?