Kanye West has kept a fairly low profile in recent months, but soon you’ll be able to catch him — or at least his animated alter ego — in the May 2 episode of Fox’s Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show. You can see the first official image of West’s guest spot in the new issue of EW, on stands today, or check it out right here in this post. In the episode, the rap megastar voices a 19-year-old local hero named, er, Kenny West, who gets into a lopsided rhyme battle with the show’s Cleveland Brown, Jr. over the affections of a young woman who’s voiced by Taraji P. Henson.
“We knew that Kanye was a Family Guy fan,” Cleveland Show co-creator Rich Appel tells the Music Mix. “He’s made reference to it on his website and stuff. In the writers’ room, we just thought it would be great to have him as a character on the town. So we came up with the story. He really liked it and said, ‘Sure!’” One year ago, West came in for a table read at the L.A. building where Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show are all produced. “You know, I’ve worked on The Simpsons and Family Guy and King of the Hill,” says Appel. “We’ve had a lot of guest stars. It’s very rare that a guest star is eager and willing to come to the table read. He showed up 15 minutes early.” West went on to record his part last March. About a month ago, when the time came to re-record a few lines for the final cut, Appel says the star obligingly stepped into a booth at the studio where he’s working on his next albumand sent the new dialogue over.
The experience went so well that West has already recorded an appearance for an additional episode of The Cleveland Show’s upcoming second season — and Appel hopes there’s even more to come. “He could not have been more collaborative or easier to work with. We’re excited, because his character has become a recurring character in our universe…He’ll become our Sideshow Bob!”