Kanye West ‘Shocks the World’

G-Shock is undoubtedly the Kanye West of the watch world: cool, non-stop, and unbreakable. On a humid summer night in New York City, Casio, the timepiece’s creator, called on brand ambassador West to celebrate G-Shock’s “Shock the World 2009” campaign and their newest collaborations with Redman and tattoo artist Mister Cartoon. The rapper performed 14 tracks over a two-hour time period at the posh Cipriani Wall Street.

Originally scheduled to perform at 8:30 p.m., West graced the stage about an hour later (with blond beauty Amber Rose watching from the DJ booth), allowing G-Shock partygoers to experience the theatrics of his “Glow in the Dark” tour. The rapper opened his set with “Coldest Winter,” dressed in a black face mask, which he immediately ripped off to begin “Flashing Lights.” An impressive light show, featured on squares emitting a kaleidoscope of colors, accompanied him onstage as he grabbed a hold of the microphone stand. Five masked dancers joined Kanye as he segued into the pop delight “RoboCop,” which was followed by a slew of the super-producer’s album cuts.

Besides spitting verses, the highlight of the evening was what Kanye let loose in between song lyrics. Before the signature “la la la la” of “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” got underway, West announced that the track was a favorite of his career. The gem that came later was his tangent-esque freestyle during his performance of “Amazing.” The fashionable artist, rocking Mosley Tribes sunglasses, aired out his inner turmoil to a receptive audience. “I feel like fame is being an extremely obese person,” he crooned. “People help you everywhere and it takes you longer to sit down.” It didn’t end there. Through song, he also discussed his annoyance in having to give a lump sum to a photographer for breaking his camera earlier this year. On a lighter note, laughs ensued during “Heartless,” after he explained how the Austin Powers reference came to be. “While we were in the studio, I asked Mr Hudson what I could replace ‘f**king evil’ with because I curse a lot,” he said. “He then put ‘Dr. Evil’ in there.”

During the evening’s press conference, David Johnson, vice president of Casio’s timepiece division, shared G-Shock’s most expensive watch yet ($600) and presented the remaining brand ambassadors, including singer Kristinia DeBarge, skateboarder Stevie Williams, snowboarder Matt Hammer, and surfers Gabe Kling and Erica Hosseini. But there was one brand statement that Johnson made that resonated loudly with the attentive listeners: “G-Shock never stops progressing.” The same goes for Mr. West.

–Georgette Cline