Kanye to The banner

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Oh look, a think piece" :oblivious:

But really, with all the different responses to the video and hype on this site, I thought it'd be worth taking a short step back and put some things into perspective. This isn't a critical analysis of the video, rather an observation of images - particularly the final shot - and how Kanye uses it to reference himself. (Although I'll touch on critical analysis very briefly at times mostly for anecdotal reasons.)

First, to quote myself from a couple minutes after the video premiere concerning the nature of the video:

RASIE said:
The embodiment of the word "famous" all in one bed, naked and asleep, and the in-your-face, handheld camera gives the illusion of being invasive (again, the embodiment of the what being "famous" means)
Then Kanye's "explanation" for the video given to Vanity Fair a few hours afterwards:

[quote author=Kanye West]
"It's not in support or anti any of [the people in the video]. It's a comment on fame."
[/quote]

Briefly elaborating on Kanye's and my own quote: The heavy breathing in the video is there to set a most intimate, if not uneasy tone - same with the nudity. The low quality, handheld POV mimics how we're used to seeing celebrities in media (e.g., candid shots for TMZ and gossip mags). The comment on fame is that it's an inescapable, invasive pressure on those who live in it, capturing every moment of life no matter how personal. It's often argued that those who are famous are just "getting what they asked for", or should expect to live without privacy, which is somewhat justified. But if fame is not addressed head-on or reaffirmed by the famous, then it can be crippling. Luckily, Kanye is well-versed in doing that, and this music video is no different. Yet again, he's just saying "this is what I am; this is what people like me deal with - if this is what you want then I'll give it to you myself." The master PR stuntman at it again.

But onto the final image of the video (what this thread is really about):


The pan out shows a handful of some of the most famous people of the 21st century, with Kanye in the middle. Every person in the image is connected to Kanye in some way through publicity, whether it be a brief statements that made headlines, who he keeps company with, or just by a noteworthy association. It's a relatively simple image, but it defines Kanye's entire public career arguably better than anything else, if not in the most concise way.

To quote Chuck Klosterman (quoting Kanye) from his 2014 essay "Perpetual Topeka": "Kanye operates from the nuclear center of our popular culture, but he literally says things like 'I am the nucleus' when discussing himself [in his infamous NY Times interview]. This prompts a certain kind of person to hope that he's eventually humiliated for being right."

And Kanye is right, and he knows it. Everything Kanye has done in the past decade, from major televised appearances and statements to the most trivial Twitter ramblings (i.e., Jimmy Kimmel's "Josh Groban sings Kanye tweets" segment and Etsy products capitalizing on them), has been exhaustingly gawked at by every minor gossip blog and major media network. The image above is just Kanye reaffirming his place in culture and defining his career: He's in the middle - the nucleus - of all these celebrity and cultural figureheads from various fields, connected to every one of them. He exemplifies the word "famous", perhaps better than any other person this century.

When he moves, the world feels it; when he speaks, the world hears it. And most of all, he's willing to endure (and own) the negative side of fame in order to assert his position as "the nucleus". The first half of the video being the negative, gritty, invasive results of fame, but the second the song transitions into it's celebratory climax the aesthetic changes to a glossy, glorified, and somewhat divine setting - as if to say all the bullshit and backlash is worth it in the end, because nobody can really doubt his iconic place in the world.
 

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classic tragic backflip
 

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One more thing. Did yall realize everyone to the right, (or kanyes left) is connected and famous now by sex or behaviors involving sex.

Kim ray j amber cosby, self explanatory. Caitlyn from sex change.

The people on the left or kanyes right are famous by surprises or unexpected outcomes.

Just a theory not full proof.
 

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technically Kanye isn't in the middle the only way he could be in the middle is if you believe he and Taylor are in the middle
 

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:oh: and people still saying its try hard art
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Leo DatOscarDoe said:
One more thing. Did yall realize everyone to the right, (or kanyes left) is connected and famous now by sex.

Kim ray j amber cosby, self explanatory. Caitlyn from sex change.
I briefly tried finding patterns in the people and their placements just to entertain myself but there isn't any that could actually be substantiated; any perception of pattern is really just circumstantial (or coincidental). For a second it also seemed like the people made a literal "timeline" from left to right (George Bush comment being one of the first major headlines Kanye made; Cosby tweet being the most recent), but it's not, particularly due to Anna Wintour's and Trump's placement. But it is fun to hunt for things like that haha.
 

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RASIE said:
I briefly tried finding patterns in the people and their placements just to entertain myself but there isn't any that could actually be substantiated; any perception of pattern is really just circumstantial (or coincidental). For a second it also seemed like the people made a literal "timeline" from left to right (George Bush comment being one of the first major headlines Kanye made; Cosby tweet being the most recent), but it's not, particularly due to Anna Wintour's and Trump's placement. But it is fun to hunt for things like that haha.
Either way, you did a great analysis Bravo :salute:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
SAINT WEST said:
technically Kanye isn't in the middle the only way he could be in the middle is if you believe he and Taylor are in the middle
Technically, yes haha. But Kanye remains the focal point during the full pan out: it starts with just him and zooms out up to the final moment when he moves his head and mugs the camera.
 

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Great analysis. Honestly when I saw this shit I didn't even think about the art behind the video just the shock value and I was like :floyd:

But when you think about it, it's really some pretty deep shit
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Evatallica said:
Great analysis. Honestly when I saw this shit I didn't even think about the art behind the video just the shock value and I was like :floyd:

But when you think about it, it's really some pretty deep shit
And you're supposed to think about the shock value as well. It's supposed to provoke reaction, it's what Kanye has done best since his career started (other than music of course). Doesn't have to exclusively be either shocking or deep, it can be both. And often, shocking work containts some sort of subtextual value (e.g. Pasolini's Salò).
 
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