By James Montgomery
At last count, Jay-Z and Kanye West performed their hit single “N—-s In Paris” 11 times during one of the final stops on their Watch the Throne tour, and months later the video has finally premiered. The dark, apocalyptic clip features live concert footage, spliced with some dynamic imagery and even a slightly reworked beat.
Filmed in part during the run of Throne shows at the Staples Center in Los Angeles — additional footage, one can assume, was shot during a casted performance, unless the Staples crowd was 85 percent female models — the clip captures both the loose jocularity of ’Ye and Jay and the electric energy that coursed through the venue when “Paris” leapt from the speakers (many, many times). West fills the video with eye-catching kaleidoscopic effects, creating dizzying visuals that fold the audience, the stage and everything else in upon themselves, making fractals upon fractals. No wonder the clip is preceded by an epilepsy warning.
Given the size and scope of both the song and the artists performing it, the “Paris” video is also loaded with lasers, prowling panthers, pop-up-book cityscapes and the aforementioned models. Shoot, even producer Hit-Boy makes a one-second cameo. It’s a head-spinning, pulse-quickening mixture of imagery and movement, of sight and sound — an experience unlike any other live clip.
Oh, and yes, Will Ferrell makes an appearance too, though it’s in the form of a scene from “Blades of Glory” (guess Ferrell wasn’t lying when he told MTV News that plans to feature him in the clip never quite materialized). So truly, there’s something for everyone. If you caught the Throne tour, the “Paris” video is sure to inspire heady flashbacks. If you didn’t, well, here’s what it was like, only pushed to the absolute max. And to further replicate the live feeling, I recommend watching it for roughly the next hour. It’s the way the thing was supposed to be viewed, after all.