Was Kanye West lip-syncing on SNL?

The hip-hop superstar's foray into singing comes under scrutiny

Hip-hop superstar Kanye West may have “committed what many fans regard as the greatest on-stage sin of all—lip-syncing,” said Sheila Marikar in ABC online. “Whether by fault of his own or because of his audio equipment,” West’s performance of songs from his new album 808’s and Heartbreak on Saturday Night Live over the weekend (watch here, via Daily Motion) “came off as feeble at best, fueling rumors that he requires a little help in the vocals department.”

Sure, the “struggle” between Kanye’s “imperfect voice and the trying-its-damndest-to-fix-it Autotune was uncomfortable,” said Maura Johnston in Idolator, “but both performances were compelling, with Kanye seemingly becoming possessed by the tracks as he sang them.” And his new album is all about heartbreak, which “ain't a pretty thing”—what I saw on SNL “was a man trying to work through demons by creating something” raw and beautiful.

“It’s a frustrating situation,” said Thomas Connor in the Chicago Sun-Times, “because here's an artist who stepped out on a limb to try something fairly interesting and maybe bold in the context of hip-hop.” Supposedly, Kanye uses an Autotuner to give his voice a “Vocoder-like effect,” but “judging by Saturday's performances, man, the ‘voice of this generation’ needs the help.”

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