Can hip-hop headline the Big Day Out?

Debate is raging over whether Kanye West can successfully headline next year's Big Day Out - a festival normally dominated by rock and metal acts.

Friday's festival line-up announcement confirmed West - known for his on-stage outbursts and emotionally charged music - would top the bill at next year's Big Day Out, due to be held at Mt Smart Stadium on January 20.

He tops a line-up consisting of heavy-hitting rock bands like Soundgarden, Kasabian, My Chemical Romance, Battles, Beastwars and Cage the Elephant. A second line-up announcement is due later this year.

West is the first solo rapper to headline the Big Day Out, but rap artists have graced the Big Day Out main stages before with Scribe, Dizzee Rascal and Lupe Fiasco all drawing large crowds in afternoon slots.

Rap group The Beastie Boys also headlined the 2005 event.

It's a move that follows Glastonbury's controversial decision to have West's recent Watch the Throne album buddy Jay-Z top the bill for their 2008 festival.

Jay-Z was hammered by fans, critics and Oasis singer Noel Gallagher when he was announced as headliner, but won them all over with an electric performance that opened with a tongue-in-cheek cover of Wonderwall.

Big Day Out fans are questioning whether West - in what will be his fourth appearance in New Zealand - can do the same.

In an online forum, a poster called Smithy said West had "as much relevance at the Big Day Out as he did opening for U2" back in 2006.

Jordyn complained that the Big Day Out was a rock festival and should remain so.

"Kayne West? Headlining! What is this? I am disappointed. I will probably just use the money to go to Soundwave in Aussie which will be 10 times better. Nice one New Zealand and Big Day Out.

And MPT had this to say: "Kayne West? My Chemical Romance? So much for being a real rock festival. Oh well maybe I'm getting to old for it now."

There were also comments from people who applauded the decision.

"The lineup is a lot better than the last few years," said April.

"It's a fresh line-up, diverse acts, bound to be a good one! Pity about The Strokes not being there though, but Kasabian, Kanye, Soundgarden, Odd Future and Best Coast are definitely worth paying for!"

Tickets to the Big Day Out 2012 go on sale on October 14.

* Have your say on the line-up here.

- Herald online

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