Who knew destroying a Maybach could be so fun? In
"Have you ever seen Jay-Z look that young or that happy?" Jeff Rosenthal from the sketch-comedy group It's the Real said when MTV News gathered a group of tastemakers to preview the "Otis" video, which premiered Thursday on MTV.
"I like that it definitely has that Spike Jonze look. I like that they totally make a Batmobile out of a Maybach," his brother and comedy partner Eric added. "They do have a lot of fun, which is awesome."
Model Tahiry José knows a thing or two about video sets herself, having appeared in 50 Cent's "Think About Me" and Fat Joe's "(Ha Ha) Slow Down" clip. Initially, she wasn't impressed with the video, but the longer she thought about it, the more she appreciated the video's carefree attitude — especially after rumors surfaced that the Throne weren't seeing eye to eye. "It must've not been easy in the studio," she said. "But they do look like they're having a lot of fun."
Yes, tearing apart a car that costs at least $300,000 is a gaudy display — even more so after considering the current economic crisis the U.S. is facing. New York's Power 105 radio host Charlamagne Tha God saw some meaning behind Hov and Kanye's actions in the video. "That's what I think the whole stripping down of the Maybach represents: the fact that, 'Yo, we're stripping down this whole luxury that's around us, this whole super aura that's around us, and we're just strippin' it down to the bare bones.' "
Ultimately, the song's lyrics, which Kanye described as both "luxury rap" and "sophisticated ignorance" in his second verse, is just a reflection of the duo's reality. The display of wealth doesn't bother the radio host. "What do you want Jay-Z and Kanye West to rap about — being broke? They're rich!" Charlamagne said.
AllHipHop.com CEO Chuck Creekmur appreciated the video's minimalist vibe. Aside from the tricked-out 'Bach, there were a few pyrotechnics, a large American flag, a few models and not much else. "A lot of times you can overdo it and have a bunch of special effects and blue screens, green screens," he said. "I thought it was cool that it was just Jay and Kanye and they looked like they were genuine, just having regular fun like extremely wealthy people do, destroying things out of all of our price range like it was nothing."
Brian "B.Dot" Miller from hip-hop blog Rap Radar likened "Otis" to Jay-Z's 1998 video for "Money Ain't a Thing," in which he and Jermaine Dupri raced expensive whips for cash. "I liked it. I think that was probably the most expensive low-budget video of all time," he joked. "The Maybach alone paid for the video itself. It looks like they had a good time. Makes me want to go home and take the roof off the Nissan."
Another key scene has Hov and Yeezy in front of an America flag, similar to the one Givenchy designer Ricardo Tisci used in the design for the "Otis" single cover. As they stand, with red, white and blue in the background, Jay and Kanye trade rhymes and playfully shove each other while holding up the diamond sign, a hand symbol synonymous with their early Roc-A-Fella Records days.
"They're two brothers that made it in this country, so why not represent our flag?" Charlamagne said.
Creekmur agreed, stating that the "Otis" video in all its in-your-face lavishness is nothing more than a celebratory dance after all the duo's regal accomplishments. "I think the American flag represents the possibilities, if you look at Jay-Z's history, Kanye's history and how much they've overcome," he said.