Despite his newfound penchant for social media, Kanye West has kept quiet about what’s in store for the video for his newest single, “Power.” MTV News gathered a few clues, including a look at the videos for his previous first singles, for hints about what fans might expect from his latest.
A photo from the Marco Brambilla-directed “video project” hit the Web last Thursday and it featured a sullen-faced West wearing his oversize, gold Horus chain and standing between rows of columns. Still, West urged fans to not get too excited — via his Twitter. “Preview of the ‘Power’ Trailer, it’s just a still pic. Don’t get to[o] hype.” Naturally, everyone got hyped, and West tweeted a link to a New York Times article about Brambilla’s involvement with the project soon after.
Brambilla described the video as “kind of apocalyptic, in a very personal way.” It remains to be seen how it will shape up, but it seems certain the clip will set the tone for his still-untitled fifth album.
“Through the Wire”
The video for West’s triumphant, Chaka Khan-sampled first single from his debut LP, The College Dropout, featured a bulletin board of Polaroids documenting ‘Ye’s recovery from a near-fatal car crash and early footage of West’s road to recognition. With his jaw still wired shut, West narrates the story of how his life-threatening accident fueled his fire as an MC.
The video reflected the mood of West’s debut, which saw the Chicago native detailing his early struggles trying to get put on in hip-hop after being overlooked and underappreciated. West spent years behind the scenes, producing for the likes of Jay-Z, Mos Def and Beanie Sigel, but received little encouragement when it came to his dreams of rapping. It wasn’t until his accident, however, that even he began to give it his all.
“Diamonds From Sierra Leone”
Following the enormous success of College Dropout, West upped the ante with the video for “Diamonds From Sierra Leone.” The black-and-white, Hype Williams-directed video finds West riding around in a Mercedes-Benz in Prague. As he explores the city’s lavish architecture, he’s haunted by the sins of wealth in the form of children who’ve died mining diamonds in West Africa.
The video reflects the creative steps forward that Kanye took on his second album, Late Registration. West collaborated with composer/producer Jon Brion on the project, which combined hip-hop production, string arrangements, horn riffs and piano.
“Can’t Tell Me Nothing”
West again reached out to Hype Williams for the video for “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” The visual was filmed in the desert with West rapping to a track featuring some Young Jeezy ad-libs. The barren backdrop was perfect for the boastful song, as Graduation became the album on which West began to separate himself from the rest of the rap universe.
Famously criticized for not having a street record, Kanye dropped “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” and it became not only an anthem for the streets, but nearly every MySpace page. It was during this period that West also topped 50 Cent
in a much-hyped sales duel. Following the album’s release, MTV named
‘Ye 2008’s “Hottest MC in the Game”
In all honesty, the video for “Love Lockdown” may not have played as large a role in helping to set the tone for 808s & Heartbreak. West had lost his mother, Donda West , in 2007 due to complications from surgery and broke off his engagement to his fiancée. With the album, West looked for a new way to express a myriad of emotions, including singing with the help of Auto-Tune and using an 808 drum machine to create a “minimal but functional sound.”
West sits alone in a minimally decorated apartment in the video for “Love Lockdown,” haunted by memories of a lost love represented symbolically by the drums of attacking warriors, both male and female, clad in African-inspired garb.
What’s your favorite Kanye West video? Share with us in the comments!