Pop Culture

Kanye West Performs New Releases on ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Freestyle Battles

The distractions to his creative process don't seem to have made a dent.

Kanye West stormed the "Saturday Night Live" stage with performances of "Highlights" and "Ultralight Beam" from his just-released album "The Life of Pablo."

Both tunes featured backing vocals from R&B veteran El Debarge, gospel star Kirk Franklin, Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price and The-Dream. Both tunes were performed in front of a multimedia backdrop that was a departure for the NBC franchise's musical performances. "Ultralight Beam" featured a host of additional backup singers.

The "SNL" performance came three days after West unveiled his seventh studio album in dramatic fashion with an event at Madison Square Garden in conjunction with the debut of his latest line of Yeezy-branded apparel for Adidas. The event was simulcast in movie theaters around the country and also streamed live via Tidal, the music streaming service run by Jay Z.

After his second song on SNL early Sunday morning, West announced that his album was available for streaming online — which caused a predictable bit of Internet frenzy.

Melissa McCarthy hosted the Feb. 13 episode of "Saturday Night Live," which also featured a singing-Hillary Clinton and a horror-movie parody called "The Day Beyoncé Turned Black."

It even showcased an epic freestyle rap battle between Yeezy and SNL cast member Kyle Mooney.