A brief history of surprise Kanye West performances

Kanye West at Brooklyn Bowl, photo by Graeme Flegenheimer

There is no other major artist who loves making surprise appearances more than Kanye West. Say what you want about Kanye’s need to be in the spotlight, when he’s doing what he does best instead of grabbing the mic to defend Beyonce, the people have a great time. Watch 15 of his surprise appearances below:

February, 2004 – Chicago

Back in 2004 Kanye was supposed to speak on a panel at the Chicago Culture Center. He decided to surprise the students by making his entrance by rapping All Fall Down. See 1:13 for their reaction.

September 2007 – Staples Center

Justin Timberlake was performing at The Staples Center in LA and brought out Kanye for Stronger.

March 2009 – South By Southwest

Kayne surprised the crowd at Perez Hilton’s SXSW party with Heartless.

November 2010 – MTV Europe Awards in Madrid

Kanye came out during 30 Seconds to Mars’ performance to surprise the Madrid crowd by joining in with the band and then performing his own track Power.

October 2010 – Brooklyn Bowl

On a night of music that started with bands like Matthew Dear and Titus Andronicus, Kanye made a surprise appearance at Pitchfork’s show at Brooklyn Bowl during CMJ. I was in the audience for this one and word started spreading around 11pm that Kanye was going to show up. Not sure if anyone believed it until he joined his former tour DJ A-Trak on stage and ripped through So Appalled, Monster, Devil in a New Dress, Power and Runaway.

November 2010 – Delta flight

Kanye surprised his Delta Airlines flight with a brief rendition of Gold Digger of the the plane’s intercom

7/19/11 – Rihanna Show

Kanye joined Rihanna at her show at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island for a performance of All Of The Lights and Run This Town.

July 2011 – Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

Kanye came out during Q-Tip’s set to join him Tribe Called Quest’s Award Tour.

August 2011 – Prince show in Sweden

Prince brought out Kanye to have some fun with the crowd at his show in Sweden.

August 2011 – Nicki Minaj Concert

After surprising fans in the same arena only a month before, Kanye returned to Nassau Coliseum to perform Monster with Nicki Minaj.

March 2012 – South By Southwest

Kanye returned to SXSW to perform Can’t Tell Me Nothing during 2 Chainz’ set at SOB’s 30th anniversary party (1:04 in the clip).

September 2012 – Made in America Festival

Probably the least surprising surprise of the bunch, Kanye joined Jay-Z at his Philly Made In America Festival for I Don’t Like (Remix), Can’t Tell Me Nothing, Mercy and New God Flow.

October 2012 – Pace University

2 Chainz surprised the crowd at Pace University’s homecoming concert by bringing out Kanye to join him on Birthday Song.

November 2012 – TNGHT concert in Brooklyn

Although not really a ‘performance’, Kanye showed up at Music Hall of Williamsburg during TNGHT’s set to hype up the crowd while they played Cold (2:10 in the clip).

December 2012 – Big Sean concert in Detroit

One night after appearing in Brooklyn, Kanye joined Big Sean at Palace of Auburn Hills to perform Clique (1:53 in the video)