MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye West
Credit: Vince Bucci/PictureGroup

Image Credit: Vince Bucci/PictureGroupOkay, to say it’s been a rough year for Kanye West would be an understatement. Granted, he’s the reason he’s had it so bad. After interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at last year’s VMAs, the rapper and sometime singer spent the end of 2009 and majority of 2010 in pop culture exile. But at the top of this summer, he returned with his rebellious “Power.” Though his skills as an artist haven’t diminished, his ego apparently has– a little. On Twitter, he’s frequently apologized for his prior antics, and tonight he made another huge step back into the land of popularity at the VMAs.

After surviving Taylor Swift’s performance, which was (kind of) about him, West closed the show debuting his new single “Runaway.” Introduced by comedian and friend Aziz Ansari, West walked out in a red suit and black tee.

Kanye started off singing the track’s hook. “You’ve been putting up with my s— for way too long…/ Let’s have a toast for the douchebags/Let’s have a toast for the a–holes…/Baby, I’ve got a plan/Run away as fast as you can.” On stage with ballerinas and his drum pad, he delivered one of his most earnest, but also somehow tongue-in-cheek, performances ever.

It was a complete victory, addressing his character flaws and acknowledging public opinion without relinquishing any of his power. After a witty verse from his label mate, Pusha T of the Clipse, West returned for some Auto-Tune-assisted singing on the bridge.

“Kanye! Kanye! Kanye,” the crowd chanted after he was done. It was the night’s only standing ovation. Strategically, if this doesn’t work, I don’t know what will. But based on the crowd’s reaction, it appears to have done the trick. It was a Kanye lovefest. Check out the performance after the jump.

If you didn’t like Kanye before, do you now? Has he redeemed himself? Let us know.

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