For those who didn’t hear, this past weekend was a big one for Mr. Kardashian aka Kanye West. The divisive rapper announced the release of his sixth album Yeezus June 18th, played two new songs on Saturday Night Live, and most interestingly, debuted his first single “New Slaves” Friday night on buildings across the globe, everywhere from Berlin to Miami to Sydney, totaling 66 different screenings.
My wife and I just so happened to be downtown with a friend when we saw the buzz start to circulate online about the video premieres, and we looked online and found there was one coming in an hour that was only a mile from us. We had nothing better going on, so we headed on down to Six Points in Wicker Park to see what all the hub bub was about. Over the half hour leading up to the event, probably over 500 people circulated on 6 street corners, which is pretty insane in itself. It’s a testament to the power of Twitter (where Kanye announced the screenings) and to people’s yearnings for an experience.
In typical Yeezy fashion, the black truck showing the video arrived over 30 minutes late, and picked perhaps the worst possible place to throw up the video: on the side of a white Walgreens building where pretty much half the video was covered by a window, making it nearly impossible to see. Not only that, but the truck that projected the music was extremely quiet for such a loud crowd, making the song extremely difficult to discern. The video looks cool with it sort of being a giant image of Kanye’s head (big surprise) rapping the vicious new single as his head grows bigger and bigger.
When you come down to it, this is a 10 idea, an 8 song, and sadly about a 3 execution wise. If a little more thought would have went into this, it could have been significantly better. That being said, beside maybe Daft Punk, Kanye has proved himself not just a visionary artist, but a visionary marketer, capturing people’s imaginations and excitement for his last couple releases. As for his new album Yeezus, Kanye joins a unique group of artists that have compared themselves to God, including John Lennon, Nas, and Russell Hammond from Almost Famous. Let’s just hope he has something to say with it, rather than it just being an extension of his huge ego. Based on his past work, I don’t doubt he does.