Last night was a big one for Kanye West. He made his sixth appearance as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, he dropped the long-awaited album The Life Of Pablo (on Tidal and his website, at least), and he vanquished his most formidable foe. Challenged to a hallway freestyle battle with shaggy-haired SNL cast member—and life-long aspiring rapper—Kyle Mooney, West essentially delivered his third musical number of the night, fairly obliterating Mooney’s best efforts (“Kanye West/You need a mint for your Kanye breath”) by delivering a furious rendition of the self-referential “I Miss The Old Kanye.”
The sketch, rather than jumping right into the epic showdown, is set up as a faux-inspirational documentary about Mooney’s childhood desire to be the greatest rapper in the world (complete with adorable footage of the young Mooney’s breakdancing skills). Bemoaning how this whole SNL thing has taken him away from his one true desire (even though he is “sort of heartthrob on the rise, maybe”), Mooney—who excels at this sort of self-deluded character—puts on white tie and tails and nervously confronts the rap megastar and ill-advised tweeter, only for, well, this to happen.
Undeterred , the now underpants-clad Mooney tells the camera, “Well, that was the biggest mistake of my life,” but only because he thinks he’s destroyed Kanye’s confidence forever. Still, maybe Mooney can take solace in West’s final words, where Kanye confides that he loves his defeated challenger, “like Kanye loves Kanye”—which, considering the source, is a lot.