The video, which premiered on Monday via iTunes, features an ominous woman in white, running throughout a dark, wintry forest populated by scary Grim Reaper-like characters. And West is nowhere in sight.
Elderkin didn't even have to sell the rapper on that concept. "You know what, the funny thing is, he didn't want to be in it," Elderkin told MTV News. "I wasn't even gonna put him in it. He didn't want to be in 'Paranoid,' to be honest. There was more Kanye in 'Paranoid' [originally], and I took him out. He's just cool right now with putting out visuals that fit the song without having to be in it. I think he's in that place in his life where right now he just wants to make art."
When Elderkin — who has collaborated with West on "Welcome to Heartbreak" and "Paranoid" — presented the rapper with this latest idea, it wasn't in treatment form. The director simply told West about the concept, and the rapper was onboard almost immediately.
Elderkin said he feared overshadowing the song, one of the most personal on the emotional 808s & Heartbreak, which was inspired in part by West's mother passing and a failed relationship. Instead, he wanted the visuals to complement the music, which features West's eerie production and the haunting refrain: "Goodbye, my friend, will I ever love again." Much like 'Ye's "Flashing Lights" clip, this one doesn't have a linear plot.
"Sometimes I don't want to get too literal with videos, like, 'This is what this is suppose to mean, and that's what that is suppose to mean,' " he said. "I wanted to leave it open to interpretation. I want people to get whatever they want out of it."
What do you think of Kanye West's "Coldest Winter" video? Would you rather have seen him in the new video? Let us know in the comments below.