November 19, 2016. Kanye West is hovering 12-feet off the ground at the newly-created Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California on a glowing, floating stage. Everyone below is losing their shit with blissful abandon. The show got off to a promising start thanks to a surprise cameo from one of his most prolific protégés Kid Cudi, but a mere five songs later, things begin to go off the rails. After starting and stopping the song “Famous” several times, West abandons it altogether and launches into a now-infamous rant, attacking radio, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerburg, and most notably his friend and collaborator, Jay-Z.
“Jay-Z, call me, bruh,” he pleads. “You still ain’t calling me. Jay-Z, call me. Aye, bruh, I know you got killers. Please don’t send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man.”
For 30 full-minutes Kanye raged, stringing together a nearly incomprehensible series of thoughts. The audience cheers at first, but as he continues to unravel, the praise turns to boos as they plead with Yeezy to play another song. It was not to be. “Get ready to have a field day, press,” he warns. “Get ready, get ready. Because the show’s over.” With that, he drops his microphone and walks off into an uncertain future.
As the next several days bore out, West’s lengthy diatribe and walk-off weren’t your typical rock star posturing. Shortly after returning to LA West experienced a full-on mental breakdown. Paramedics, police, and firefighters were called to his home and he was taken to a nearby hospital and put under observation. All future plans and the remaining dates of his Saint Pablo tour were immediately canceled as West recuperated. Rumors of divorce loomed so large they felt true.