For the last few years, the “Runaway” MPC bit has been both a staple and a highlight of Kanye West’s live show. You’ve seen it; he looms over his MPC on a short stand and plays the single, introductory key from “Runaway” while the crowd goes nuts with anticipation. Well, it appears another performer has decided to try to a similar result at his own live shows. Justin Timberlake tried something similar at his Toronto stop with an interpolation of his Timberland-produced hit “My Love” and a sample of a Drake verse.
While it appeared fans at the show appreciated the international love for their hometown favorite, as well as JT’s display of showmanship, Kanye fans online weren’t happy. One account noted the similarity between Timberlake’s approach and West’s, writing, “KANYE remains the blueprint. Get ready for what ‘Ye is about to do next because it’s a preview of what your unoriginal faves will be doing 7 years later.”
Harsh analysis aside, the Akai Music Production Controller has long been a staple of hip-hop production because of the ease it brings to the art of sampling. Once samples are programmed, they can be activated by pressing the corresponding pads, and higher-end models allow for greater manipulation of the sample in question. It can make for an exciting, instrumental-based musical set with the right execution live, but it can also make things a bit sticky for someone like Timberlake, whose tenuous connection with hip-hop was frayed by his Man Of The Woods rollout. Of course, as long as he keeps getting a positive reaction and shows, he’ll keep doing it, while the peanut gallery will continue to critique.