Watch Kanye West Perform ‘Runaway’ At The 2010 MTV VMAs

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It could have been a gimmick, it could have been an apology, it could have been something we’d already heard. But instead, at the 2010 MTV VMAs, Kanye West reminded us all why he’s important; it’s not because he interrupted Taylor Swift‘s acceptance speech and it’s not because he can make a public fool of himself. It’s because he’s simply one of the most gifted and talented artists working today.

With a solemn and sad piano intro, played by hand through a sampler (which was West’s only instrument) and a stage show that seemed to pay homage to the upcoming film “Black Swan,” Kanye West performed a new song called “Runaway,” with the help of The Clipse‘s Pusha T and three ballerinas.

For her VMA performance, Taylor Swift addressed Kanye West via a new song called “Innocence.” For his VMA performance, Kanye West seemed to address… well, Kanye West. And he did so beautifully and brilliantly, encouraging us to toast those troubled creative geniuses that infuriate us. Or, to use Kanye’s words, “the douchebags, the a——s, the scumbags.”

As sparks flew onto the stage and the crowd, (unlike the VMA audience that watched in shock last year), chanted his name, West made the one of the classiest moves perhaps in all VMA history: he took a bow and exited the stage.