Monday, August 9, 2010

Is Kanye West on a 'Power' trip? (video review)

Love him or hate him it is undeniable Kanye West is a commanding force in the music industry. I may not like all of his music and perhaps have been up and down as a fan in recent years but there's something that keeps me paying attention. I'll be one to say I no longer think, and haven't for quite some time, that he is a rapper or hip hop artist. In my mind he's earned the right to knock off the defining genre tags. I've no doubt in my mind that Kanye will continue to shock, awe, anger and surprise us in years to come.

As far as the video for 'Power', not only is it something we've never seen as a music video, it's under 2 minutes and works more like a trailer for the song rather than a visual version of the track. It's elegantly done and way over the top in true Mr. West fashion. This is the first time a collage of video or moving painting has been brought to a mainstream audience but it's by no means the first time a music artist has dabbled in such a thing. Years ago, another very influential mega musician teamed up with artist/fashion photographer Steven Klein to create several video works that were very similar in feel and execution. Her name is Madonna and the works were for Steven's exhibition at Dietch Project in NYC. The exhibition was called 'X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS' and can be seen at Steven Klein's website under moving image/exhibitions/madonna (He has a flash site so I can only link you to the home page.)

I don't all the way like Kanye West or the work he puts out but he does have my 100% respect and attention as an artist. To think he went from his musical talents and abilities being doubted to becoming one of the more exciting names in today's music. I'm left wondering if there will ever be an extended version of this music video or if 1 minute and 42 seconds in someone said "Kanye, I'mma let you finish but..."

Interesting side note: I was actually working for Steven Klein as a production assistant at the time. I had the pleasure of meeting him and seeing the show at a private viewing.

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