In his first live appearance since derailing his career with a series of antisemitic comments last year, Kanye West showed up unannounced tonight (Aug. 7) during Travis Scott‘s Utopia concert at Rome’s Circus Maximus. The pair performed West’s “Praise God” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” early in the 24-song performance, which was livestreamed.
“There is no Utopia without Kanye West,” Scott told the audience. “There is no Travis Scott without Kanye West. There is no Rome without Kanye West. Make some noise for Ye.” The artists are longtime friends and collaborators, with Scott having signed a publishing deal with West’s G.O.O.D. Music imprint in 2012. Scott also previously guested on West’s 2020 song “Wash Us in the Blood,” which appeared on the latter’s Donda album.
West had not been on stage since February 2022 in Miami, when he launched his album Donda 2 with appearances by fellow controversial artists DaBaby and Marilyn Manson. In the wake of his outbursts last fall, West was dropped by corporate partners such as Adidas, Gap, and Balenciega, which he unapologetically claimed cost him “two billion dollars in one day.” He was also banned from the social media platform then known as Twitter, but his account was reinstated last week by its owner, Elon Musk.
As for Scott, he scored a huge chart and sales debut with Utopia, which opened at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of nearly 500,000 copies sold, per Luminate. It was the third-highest opening week for an album in 2023, and its vinyl sales of 79,000 copies signified the highest such total for a rap album since Luminate predecessor Nielsen SoundScan began tracking point-of-sale data in 1991.
The Rome show came in place of an event Scott had originally planned for late July at the Egyptian Pyramids of Giza, which was called off by local authorities. During tonight’s performance, the artist debuted five songs from Utopia (“Sirens,” “My Eyes,” “I Know?,” “Topia Twins,” and “Telekinesis”) and also covered Lil Uzi Vert’s “Aye.”