The Best Thing at Last Night's VMAs Was a Guy Named Kyle

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There were many strange and confusing things about Sunday's MTV VMAs. The evening's events left the entire country with some serious head-scratchers: Who told Jared Leto that his sequined cape looked good? Did we hallucinate it or did Miley Cyrus end up with more clothes on than when she started singing? Did being "in space" make Katy Perry think these jokes were funny? On what planet is Ed Sheeran 'Artist of the Year' over Kendrick Lamar? How did Kendrick's ninja sidekick stay on (literal) fire for so damn long?

The biggest mystery of all though, had to be: What the hell is up with that Kyle dude?

It all happened so fast. I barely had a chance to wonder why someone would choose "Kyle" as a stage name and there he was: resplendent in lilac double denim and yellow One Stars, not unlike an 8-year-old girl's favorite outfit from 1991. It looked for a moment like Kyle might be a parody of a too-enthusiastic pop star, with a demeanor so sunny, it bordered on the obnoxious. It was almost impossible not to wonder: "Is this guy for real? Or is America getting Punk'd right now?"

MTV's live feed cut off Kyle halfway through his performance to go to commercial break. And my feelings of "Thank God that's over" rapidly transformed into "Uh-oh. I miss Kyle." Like a living Jackson 5 song, as soon as he was gone, I wanted him back. Never has an artist transformed feelings of confused revulsion into an overwhelming sense of pure joy, in such a short space of time.


I was compelled to hit Google immediately. And it turns out Kyle's entire persona looks, on first inspection, a lot like a Cartoon Network show. He used to go by the name of K.i.D. and I kind of wish he still did. According to Wikipedia, he overcame a speech impediment in his formative years. He hangs out and collaborates with -- this isn't a joke, honestly -- the Super Duper Crew. Other members include Super Duper BrickSuper Duper Jesus, and Super Duper Maxx.

Then I hit YouTube to check out Kyle's non-"iSpy" work, and it didn't disappoint. "Nothing 2 Lose" is unfiltered optimism in song form with a sunny video that features even more brightly colored double denim:

"Just a Picture" ft. Kehlani is about the annoyance of people spending too much time on their phones (VALID!):

"Doubt It" is basically a motivational speech:

And "Keep it Real" is about staying true to yourself and down-to-earth:

It's true that when Kyle collaborates with other dudes, things can get dark really fast; his track with G-Eazy, "King Wavy," is awash with macho posturing, and "Remember Me?" with Chance the Rapper is about the pain of parental neglect. At one point, mid-song, he raps, "Hey, look, the happy rapper’s not so happy now.”

Shut up, Kyle. Post-VMAs, you're gonna have to be the nation's happy rapper forever... or, at the very least, until we reach a point in time that is less politically turbulent and terrifying than the one we're in right now. Turns out, Kyle, you are the artist we didn't know we needed right now.

Kyle is not exactly a secret -- his videos already have millions of views on YouTube -- but, last night, the VMAs cut off probably the brightest performer of the night. Kyle might just be the ray of sunshine that can lift America's spirits right now. MTV should have let him shine.