Reaction: Kanye West, ‘Famous’ Music Video
Kanye West is one of the most polarizing musicians of recent times. Since the genesis of ‘Mr. West’ occurred in 2004 with The College Dropout, the gifted rapper/producer always has something to say. So many times West has stuck his foot in his mouth, whether it was the criticism of former president George W. Bush, or interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV VMAs. West’s controversies seemingly went on the uptick upon marrying Kim Kardashian. Subjective? Yes, but is it really that subjective?
This brings us to “Famous,” the first available single off of the oddly rolled out The Life of Pablo. When TLOP was released, “Famous” was a source of controversy, particularly for the lyric:
“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that b*tch famous / I made that b*tch famous”
The lyric is clearly in distasteful, even if arguably, West indeed did amplify Swift’s fame because of his erratic, childish behavior. Taylor Swift wouldn’t have needed his help obviously, but the infamous incident fueling this lyric certainly elevated her superstardom. The most offensive part of the lyric is the reference to sex – it would never happen in a trillion years.
“Famous” has other eyebrow-raising moments right after the Taylor Swift jab:
“For all the girls that got d*ck from Kanye West / If you see ‘em in the streets give ‘em Kanye’s best / Why? They mad they ain’t famous / they mad they’re still nameless.”
West does come off as the asshole he’s referenced himself to on “Power” and “Runaway” (My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy). Regardless, the song does speak upon what can happen upon becoming famous. West exemplifies what NOT to do.
With the song being a talking point itself, the video only intensifies its status. Kanye West fan or not, the execution is nothing short of creepy. True art does make a statement, with shock value being part of the formula. True art doesn’t have to shock either to be considered true art.
Perhaps to some, West’s use of nude wax models of celebrities is artistic. But to many of us, upon seeing the models in action in the bed, we ask, “WTF?”
The 10-minute video for “Famous” is unsettling, uncomfortable, and disgusting. Even the portion featuring musical accompaniment is strange. When there is no music, things grow quirkier with the sounds of sleep, among other things. What is the plot? What is the point? How do replicas of nude celebrities illustrate the message of “Famous” beyond merely being famous?
“Famous” is a highlight from The Life of Pablo without question (NOTE: the “4-star” review is attributed to the song, not the video). No, it doesn’t have the same emotionally moving quality of “Ultralight Beam,” but it’s a key moment. As for the music video, Mr. West went too far left of center. “Bound 2” (Yeezus) was cutting-edge itself, but “Famous” is TOO MUCH.