Like him or not, nobody can deny that Kanye West is one of the most influential personalities of modern pop culture. Well once again, Kanye has taken the music industry by surprise by releasing a 34-minute movie (because let’s face it, calling it a music video would be an insult) featuring some of his songs from his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Kanye West directed Runaway by himself (most probably with the help of some experienced director by his side), and he just proved that he has a lot of potential as a director and visionary for sure. I will not praise his acting talent though, because the 4-5 lines he says at some point feel staged a mile away and they are all but natural. Except that, there are a couple of scenes that feel cheaper than the rest, for example the opening car sequence, with the good old gradient sky. But once you’re past that and you’re able to forgive Kanye for his first-timer mistakes, the rest of the movie is pretty much amazing.
It is really an artsy trip with some powerful, in-your-face messages. The one that struck me the most was clearly the diner table with all black people being served by white waiters. It may seem racist to some but I think Kanye is just trying to show how it would have been if the roles in history had been the opposite, and just how stupid this whole black and white separation is.
The cinematography is fairly good, but it is the art direction that really shines in this video. The sets, the costumes, the accessories… everything feels like it was thoroughly thought through, and the final render is very eye-appealing.
I think Kanye was on a mission to make music-video history (or simply, history) with Runaway, and he of course will. Is it technically perfect ? No. Is it visually perfect ? Close-to, but there have been better videos in the music industry in that category. Is it the biggest project ever attempted in the music video business ? That it is for sure, and this is where Kanye will make his mark. The messages he delivers and the originality of this piece make it something you just can’t ignore.
But most of all, I think this music video is a milestone for the hip-hop industry. Hip-hop artists these days are labeled as crooks and gangsters with macho attitudes, and in all honesty it is true for 90% of the genre. Even if I’m a big fan of it, I have to admit that hip-hop is probably the most unartistic form of music ever created, but people like Kanye (and a bunch of others) are changing this, and for that, Bravo Mr. West.