Tone .Are

Kanye West: Runaway

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 7:37 am

Most will watch mystified; some quick to reconnect with what amounts to them the novelty playing out before a text message blast and lifting chin, others beneath a tensed brow scaling for what innovative artistry Kanye West’s new 34 minute short film/ music video brings it’s audience.
Most will find it difficult to be objective about how they experienced what it was they were watching;, weighing a concept which is so radically different, it could potentially fill a prescriptions fix for those who’ve coped this long without a “Love Below” follow up in the game.
Even if it falls shorter than on it’s face, how could you knock it when the abstract dares to walk up in monotony grabbing it’s crotch right?

‘SCUSE ME? WHAT WAS THAT?

“Runaway” is the new millenniums ‘Thriller’. Hands down, no doubt about it. But only because it attempts to be! Then again, if you want me to keep it 100 with you… ‘Thriller’ was only ‘Thriller’ because it attempted to be. It wasn’t like John Landis’ 1983 epic had a marvel of a story line, or choreography the like of which you couldn’t see at a Broadway Play. But it busted out the box of what music video’s had been at the time, thus giving the audience an imagination, and freeing the landscape for a “Runaway” to eventually be possible. *Although, even such recognition is contestable, as some might point to the grandiose formula dating back as early as The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”.

In any case, Mike, meet Kanye West. Hip Hop’s DIY Renaissance Man, whom now adds to his track record as a Producer and Rapper: …Director.
Ye proves time and again, that he’s not afraid to try it on, and make it his strong suit! Just last video he shocked us all with an all eyes on me premier of a still-shot (Power video) that was all of 1 minute and 40 seconds long. The reaction from within my circles was, as i have already observed with “Runaway”: Wow.

Somebody needs to find me the crazy responsible for convincing Pop’s erratic narcissist 2010 to jump out the window with irony.

But of course
Who other than the larger-than-life Cabezón GOD wouldn’t be able to convince otherwise..
Mr. West himself.?.

.
I am a huge Kanye West fan. We go way back to College Drop Out, when i hoisted him what at the time (for me) was a HipHop Head’s sacred mantel: my faith that he would save the culture. Soulful beats with a boombap baseline, rhymes connecting wordplay with a hint of social consciousness, and fresh song structures. To some lengths he brought it back. It might sound extra, but even with 808’s & Heartbeats, i saw an era of influence born out of Kanye West, which will attest itself if you listen to the cadence of R&B songs that followed: *listen to Usher’s OMG, then listen to 808’s, then listen to Usher’s work before 808’s*
BUT
Despite my respect and loyalty to his work, i have to tell you, that there are some things that just don’t work for the Runaway video. And they start, and they end, with the Rapper Kanye West!

– The cinematography (*a kiss of the fingers to my lips) beautiful, buenicimo! CLASSIC! lOve it, with an orgasmic O.
The lighting, the montage of scenes and camera work…

– Scenery and stage setting, selection of props, the whole works. (*palms to sky) A-W-E s-o-m-e

– The choreography (*claps) great! Went very well with the tone, colors, textures of the video.

Then there is the music.
After the Tyler Swift incident i predicted that Kanye West would return from exile with something from out of space. Something that would rock music and bring him back to the top of the world. Fortunately for Kanye, he will be back to the top of the world and some of you out there in the masses won’t stomach this well, but he can thank his ego for that (hey, it sucks, but it truly is what continues to drive him back). This time though, and the other side of the coin is that it’s unfortunate for music, his album will complement his archetypal Greek God complex as badly as it does this video!
I was distracted by Pusha T’s typical bravado-16 taking the beautiful out of a ballet number; I was beaten over the head with more references to designer clothes and expensive cars (yawn), only this time it had the effect of urine splashing off a priceless mural; And finally, i was forced to come to terms with the explosions, and shades and shoes perhaps serving as an eerily Diddy.esque compensation for a flow that is quite frankly played out and in contrast with some younger hungrier emcees today – weak!

Had “Runaway” been a silent film, i’d be putting my pre-order in for the collector’s edition DVD.
But lame celebrity name drops (Alec Baldwin) and rehashed spanglish (me no hablo) make it just too… runny.

.
There
I S
sommmeee, history to haul forward and settle here though,
the video isss
in a certain sense, symbolic…

Hip Hop has now transitioned through all of it’s paradigms.
The foundation will always be the music and so from birth, through, and past it’s death the music(DJ) will be as relevant to itself as any other element comprising of the culture.
HipHop dance (and graffiti) were the first elements to have their time… in the 70’s all the hype was the break beats and breaking; b-boys and b-girls.
Then the Emcee began to dominate HipHop. Depending on the scene we are speaking about, the DJ and Emcee alternate as pertains to the order of their relevance, although, DJs control the game.
The final paradigm HipHop entered (around the time of RunDMC) and is completing with, is the fashion. Commercialism has anointed the rapper ambassador of swag, and you simply will not survive on the mainstream level, if you cannot carry that banner. Once the hardest emcee (Biggie) incorporated Gucci and Mosquino into his content, the precedent had been set across the board. HipHop became consumer America’s theme music.

“Runaway” puts the staple through the note on the king’s door.
Yes fashion has been in the game in some sense or another since the beginning, which is why a number of pioneers include it as an element of HipHop. And yes, it has influenced the direction of HipHop for a minute –puff era is a decade and a half deep playeh’-. But the fashionista and his/her eye for ‘swag’ is no longer just influencing the game’s direction.. it is now dictating it! So much so, that if ANYBODY is going to have room to play with creative control… it’s going to be the visual artist, designer, director.

“Runaway” has great creative depth, and you can tell why.
It is not an emcee, or Producer who created it. No matter what title Kanye takes on for you when you watch it.
Judging it at lens level through such vision
Kanye does a Good Ass Job

Yet, you’ve got to wonder whether all of the allusions to Greco-Roman times is an unintended manifestation of an artist whose persona lives in the mold… or if Yeezy is trying to say something. The “Can We Get Much Higher?” sample, the hedonistic gluttons of piety too smug for their own good, Icarus, fire and destruction…

The American Pop Star is thrust to iconic heights when he/she cedes to the public’s projection/assumption of them. Bob Dylan did it, turning his famous mystique on the press and playing with them until they had gone absolute haywire trying to figure him out. Kanye is smart… it is exactly what he realized he needed to do from the angle of an insecure, vain genius fully aware that the industry so needed an insecure, vain genius, that he could get away with what nobody else could, and survive as the hottest hit maker in the universe. “George Bush hates Black People,” “Magazines are going to need to pay me to use me on their cover,” “That award belongs to Beyonce”. The industry needed that, because that image, is the absolute reflection of what Popular Music in America is in 2010… just as Pop Music was relative to Dylan in the mid 60’s: a drifter, finding it’s way…

In the midst the genius, as it is said, destroys his own art.
A more optimistic point of view will tell of it rather, a transformation.
But i’m not completely convinced. If we are talking about the visual asthetic owning responsibility for HipHop’s future then heck, HipHop is in great shape! But the fact that the content in the music has not advanced creatively, offers a sculpture that lacks of integrity. …A post modern video running over the same drivel that’s sold the organic expression of our Youth’s identity, for the kind of marketing fodder that keeps KRS-1’s cynical gray matter as relevant as Drake’s LL and Nikki’s Lil Kim franchise.

This Is It

– ToneAre

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