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Bonnaroo Battles: Jack Johnson vs. Kanye West

on May 30, 2008, 10:45am

Jack Johnson and Kanye West were both announced as headliners for this year’s Bonnaroo. After the Allman Brothers had to cancel, due to Greg Allman being treated for hepatitis C, Jack Johnson moved from abattles1 Bonnaroo Battles: Jack Johnson vs. Kanye West headlining spot on Sunday night to the ever popular Saturday night slot, taking the 8:00pm time slot on the main stage. This means he’ll be opening for Pearl Jam, but also going directly against Kanye West who is playing the 8:15 time slot on the Which Stage. Both men conjure up strong emotions of love and hate amongst music lovers, but who will emerge victorious in Bonnaroo Battle: Johnson vs. West.

Song Writing

Jack Johnson and Kanye West write catchy radio friendly tunes. West is a studio rat. He has produced singles for Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, and Janet Jackson, along with having three Platinum records of his own. Although Kanye has become a superstar, his real talent lies in producing killer tracks. On the other end, Johnson is the definition of a singer songwriter. He takes universal themes and makes happy, poppy sometimes-odd songs. Take Bubbletoes for example, “It’s as simple as something that nobody knows that her eyes are as big as her bubbly toes on the feet of a queen of the hearts of the cards and her feet are all covered with tar balls and scars.” A little different.

Winner: Jack Johnson

Kanye may have produced some monster tracks, but in the songwriting category, I would have to credit Daft Punk, Ray Charles and Curtis Mayfield for the “song writing” of Kanye’s biggest tracks. Jack Johnson puts himself out there and writes an original and true song.

Survival

Jack Johnson and Kanye West have both had to overcome some major injuries. Johnson received over 150 stitches and knocked out his front teeth in a surfing accident at the Banzai Pipeline. Johnson ultimately decided that surfing was too competitive and found inspiration in music and film. West was involved in a near fatal car accident in 2002, which inspired West’s first single “Through the Wire”, off the album The College Dropout.

Winner: Kanye West

The College Dropout was a truly inspired album and a true testament to West’s never give up mentality.

Live Show

Rolling Stone reported Jack Johnson’s performance at this year’s Coachella to be skillful, casual and unpretentious. RS also compares Kanye West’s glow in the dark tour to a “space opera complete with crashed spaceships, vast video-screen galaxies and a spot-on cover of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” With two totally opposite styles in live shows, who wins?

Winner: Kanye West

It comes down to this, Jack Johnson is just a man and a guitar and Kanye West is simply a man, a microphone… and a shit load of neon lights and special effects.

Overall Winner: Kanye West

You do not want to miss Kanye West at Bonnaroo. His glow in the dark tour is getting rave reviews, even being credited for rejuvenating excitement for live hip-hop shows. Plus, it should be entertaining, to say the least, to see a total egomaniac playing a non-headlining spot. Either Kanye is going to bring his A game and prove that he should be closing out the night or he will be crying and moaning about how he isn’t respected. Whichever Kanye shows up, the bottom line is that it will be entertaining.

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