Kanye West for Glastonbury 2015: Like Jay Z, he could make the hip-hop haters eat their words

Kanye West's announcement that he will headline Glastonbury angered the guitar-rock purists. But times have moved on, says Emily Jupp

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The Independent Culture

After his surprise intimate gig at Koko in London two weeks ago went down a storm, and his debut of new song, "All Day" (which contains 45 instances of the N-word), at the Brit Awards caused 126 complaints to TV watchdog Ofcom, there has been a lot of speculation that Kanye West, king of the awkward on-stage rant, might be asked to play Glastonbury. Festival organiser Emily Eavis finally confirmed the rumours in a tweet on Monday, saying: "We are thrilled to let you know we have the one and only Kanye West headlining Saturday night on the Pyramid stage!"

The announcement was followed a few hours later by a tweet from the man himself, saying: "EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE IM HEADLINING PYRAMID STAGE SATURDAY NIGHT @GLASTOFEST THIS YEAR", but the tweet came only after he'd finished tweeting nude pictures of Kim Kardashian with the caption "I'M SO LUCKY". What followed was a tirade of Twitter abuse that, like his wife's gravity-defying arse, just wouldn't quit.

Indie-rocker Liam Gallagher had already made his feelings clear after the rapper's Brit performance, tweeting: "Kanye West. Utter Shit. LG x" and once he was announced as a headliner, comedian Tiernan Douieb wrote: "Kanye West to headline Glastonbury on the Pyramid Stage, while his ego will perform on the Other Stage."

Among the usual debate about hip-hop and rap being against Glastonbury's heritage as a folk arts festival (according to some tweeters, only guitar bands like Oasis should be permitted to take the coveted headline slot), there was a lot of anger from Glastonbury-goers, who purchased their £225 tickets back in October before any of the acts had been revealed. The re-sell date is yet to be confirmed by the festival, so it remains to be seen how many of the 135,000 people who bought tickets will actually seek to return them, but judging by a petition on the website Change.org titled "Cancel Kanye West's headline slot and get a rock band", there are a lot of angry people out there who don't want to see West play; it has 8,731 signatures and counting.

Comments on the petition's web page range from poor taste ones like: "There are more deserving artists out there e.g Beck" criticisms of his singing ability, like "Without his autotune he'd be selling pencils on the street." Then there are also some less clear, yet equally entertaining points, like "He's a gay fish" and "There's little chance of him turning up without his ego and his wife."

Website The Poke has also drafted up a poster entitled "Anyone but Kanye" featuring choice quotes from around the web about who the public would prefer to see in the headline slot on Saturday 27 June, including: "A cardboard cut-out of Béyonce", "Clarkson", "A dancing horse" and "Taylor Swift's cats".

Needless to say Kanye "Imma let you finish" West is certainly a radical choice because, put frankly, he's a maniac. There is no controlling his ego. Here's a brief recap of his public rants to date: He grabbed the mic off at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to tell the world Béyonce's "Single Ladies" was "one of the best videos of all time". On the Paris leg of his Watch the Throne tour, he and Jay Z played "Niggas in Paris" on repeat. No other songs, just that one. Last year at the 2014 Wireless Festival, he pulled the plug on his own set to go on a 15-minute-long tirade about the music industry. "I'm arrogant and shy and a little bit lazy," Yeezy told the booing crowd in the misguided belief that they cared. And more recently, in the leaked track that came out this week called "Awesome", which is meant to be a musical ode to Kim Kardashian, he can't help but reference his own awesomeness: "Also, I'm also awesome, also I'm also awesome," he sings, straight-faced and auto-tuned.

Some people are angry at the Kanye announcement because they think Glastonbury should just be about guitar music. Back in 2008, when Jay Z became the first hip-hop act to headline Glastonbury, Noel Gallagher spoke for this group when he claimed it was "wrong" to have a hip-hop headliner on the Saturday headline slot. "Glastonbury has the tradition of guitar music... I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury" he moaned. Which is silly, because Glastonbury started as a 1,000-person pop, folk and blues festival, with free milk from the farm with every £1 ticket purchased. My point is times have moved on, it's now a massive music festival and it can pull in world-famous performers like Jay Z, whose show was generally hailed a success in the end after he opened with a cover of Oasis's "Wonderwall". You can't keep it the preserve of indie-rock bands because there aren't enough of them to fill Glastonbury's gazillion stages.

On the flip-side, if Kanye is anything, he's a performer, so maybe like Jay-Z before him, he'll put on a show so grand he'll convert all the haters. Then again, there's also a good chance he'll use a full-hour slot to give a sermon on his wife's anatomy, combined with an impassioned powerpoint presentation on why Béyonce should be crowned queen of the world. You never can tell with Kanye.