First of all, consider yourself lucky—no, blessed—to be in the presence of Kanye at Dojo Karaoke. Kanye is not just the King of Karaoke, Kanye is the Almighty God of Karaoke. His taste is immaculate, and He is the only band that matters. But you already knew that, because you copped His latest genre-defying masterpiece, Yeezus. And you won the grand prize of Kanye’s Krazy Karaoke Kontest, sponsored by Kraft Singles, because you know Kanye loves a midnight snack.
And you know what else Kanye loves—other than windmills and calligraphy, of course? Kanye loves the sound of His throaty vocals when channeling Tom Cochrane. But if you want to hear Kanye cover “Life is a Highway” and pale in the wake of His magnificence, you have to follow His Karaoke Commandments.
Number one: Only Kanye sings Kanye songs. If you dare hum even a quarter note of “Heartless,” Kanye will make your head explode. For Kanye has seen Scanners so many times He has developed telekinetic powers that will dismember you in seconds.
Number two: You may not speak directly to Kanye while in the karaoke room, or at any time for that matter. You may pass messages to Kanye’s benevolent spokesman, Barthes, at a safe distance from His Majesty. Barthes will review all messages and Kanye will respond via Barthes whenever He pleases, if at all. If you attempt to converse with Kanye, you will be smote by His gamma-ray laser vision.
Number three: Do not take Kim’s name in vain. Actually, do not say anything at all. You may use hand signals or communicate with Barthes, but be aware that Kanye does not take criticism well. Kanye is easily angered, as you may have gathered.
Number four: You may not take photographs of Kanye or use social media while enjoying Kanye’s spectacular performance. You will kindly hand your smartphones to Barthes upon entering the karaoke room and they will be given back to you once Kanye is in His Uber Time Machine.
Number five: You may partake of the bounty that is Kanye’s bottle service and silently thank Him for His generosity, but must stay on your side of the table and wear the branded surgical gloves provided, because Kanye recently discovered He is a germaphobe. If you do not like mudslides, which Kanye has been really into lately, you may ask Barthes if you can order your own cocktail, though he will likely deny your request. You may also sample the delicious cheese product that has been graciously bestowed upon us by Kraft Singles. However, you must not tarnish the wrappers, as they will be added to Kanye’s pristine wrapper collection.
Number six: Only Kanye and Barthes may hold the remote. This is not due to Kanye’s incipient germaphobia, but His need for creative control.
Number seven: You may not touch the karaoke binder or choose a song. Kanye will decide which songs are played and who will sing them. Kanye’s repertoire is exhaustively deep, so you may not know the track He selects. Kanye does not care. If you miss a beat, you will pass the mic to Barthes, who will return it to its rightful owner.
Number eight: If Kanye wants to sing Neil Diamond, Kanye can sing Neil Diamond. It is widely known that Cracklin’ Rosie is the greatest song ever written by someone other than Kanye, thus it is sacred. Mr. Diamond is therefore reserved for those who have received a perfect rating on Pitchfork. If you disagree with this law, Kanye will turn you into a stack of Kraft Singles and eat you for breakfast.
Number nine: Dolly Parton is also off limits. Kanye knows you were thinking about Jolene, because Kanye is telepathic. After much deliberation, Kanye has determined that “Islands in the Stream” is the ninth greatest non-Kanye song of all time, and second best duet ever recorded. After Marvin and Tammi’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” obviously.
Finally, if Kanye wants to improvise and make nine commandments instead of ten, Kanye may do so. This is not a commandment, per se, but a rule in general.
That said, it looks like we only have time for one song. Kanye’s got a soft spot for original motion picture soundtracks, so He is going to treat you to a stunner from Flashdance. Barthes, did you punch it in? Okay, good. Put down the Singles and count it off. One, two, three, four. “Just a steel town girl on a Saturday night, looking for the fight of her life!”