This weekend Kanye released his "Famous" video in modern Kanye fashion: TIDAL exclusive, a live viewing at The Forum, with every site on the interwebs dutifully falling in line with coverage. It was a whole thing, except it really wasn't.
The video's currently only available on TIDAL - and, you know, other places on the internet I can't link to and you're just going to have to track down on your own if you're so inclined - but if you don't have a subscription and are afraid you're missing something great, I assure you, you're not. Allow me to save you some time, energy and money. Here, look at this photo:
There, now you've seen the video. For five minutes the camera slowly pans back and forth across wax figures of assorted celebrities: Ray J, Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Caitlyn Jenner, George W. Bush, with Kanye and Kim in the center. The wax figures sometimes appear to be moving slightly, and there's some audio of people breathing in the background. There's a pretty good amount of wax boobs, and a wax Kim Kardashian ass (of course), but no wax genitalia. That's it. That's the whole thing.
Kanye's of course claiming that it's a grand artistic statement about the nature of celebrity - famous people are real humans just like us, made vulnerable when they're naked and sleeping! - but replicating a Vincent Desiderio painting on video except with a (not actually) naked Taylor Swift feels a lot less like artistic genius and a lot more like manufactured attention seeking of the Kardashian kind.
(Kanye later deleted this tweet)
The video's being described as controversial, but it's hard to believe anyone who hasn't been living on an Amish homestead for the entirety of their life is truly shocked by "Famous" (perhaps they're on Rumspringa). Kanye knew that according to Internet Law [Section 16, Subsection 12], all media sites are legally required to write about any story involving naked celebrities. Another recent addition to Internet Law [Section 24, Subsection 7], demands that all sites also cover anything related to Donald Trump, with Section 29, Subsection 2, requiring all celebrities portrayed to issue statements in response - Taylor's horrified!!! - generating another round of coverage for everyone involved.
Vanity Fair can breathlessly proclaim it "Kanye's Most Thought Provoking Video Yet," but for those of us not angling to get Kim and Kanye on the front cover of their magazine, there's very little thought to be provoked. This is Kanye West masterfully gaming the system, nothing more, nothing less. He might have dressed it up in artistic garb, but the emperor celebrity still has no clothes.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credit: TIDAL