You’d think unleashing Kanye onto New York’s fashion week would result in a flurry of tweets, notable quotables and garish ensembles only Lady Gaga could love. Because, let’s be real here, the man’s back. He just cleaned out the closet by premiering a song that salutes himself at the VMAs and the release of Whatever-It’s-Called Ass Job is quickly approaching. Not only that, but his Suge-Knight-Meets-Gucci suit during aforementioned performance speaks of someone ready to talk his sh#t again.
With that being said, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. Since his MTV-endorsed pat on the back this past Sunday, mum has been the word from Yeezy and his unfiltered thought congregator, Twitter. However, New York Magazine got a word out of the currently hard-at-work MC and, boy, was it a winner.
“‘I haven’t tweeted much in the past couple days because I’ve got so much to work on,’ he said. ‘I’m color-correcting this film I shot in Prague a couple weeks ago.’ He said the movie — the same film, incidentally, about which he tweeted a week ago, ‘I want to edit the film on a boat. Where are the good editing boats?’ — is called ‘Runaway,’ and is a 40-minute noir piece based on his new album.”
Hmm, you’ve got our attention, ‘Ye. Tell us more.
“‘It’s the story of a phoenix fallen to Earth, and I make her my girlfriend, and people discriminate against her and eventually she has to burn herself alive and go back to her world,’ he told us. ‘I’ve been feeling the idea of the phoenix. It’s been in my heart for a while. It’s maybe parallel to my career. I threw a Molotov cocktail on my career last year, in a way, and I had to come back as a better person.'”
As flamboyantly outrageous as this project is, it’s not surprising. Kanye’s been traveling down a career path that would almost inevitably lead him into Michael Jackson-“Thriller” territory. Although, I can’t stop thinking about a particular chapter in writer Chuck Klosterman’s 2002 quasi-memoir, Fargo Rock City, where he dissects Guns ‘N Roses’ equally as pretentious “November Rain” video.
Klosterman argues that although making “November Rain” part of a three-track, intertwining narrative was “impressively formidable” and deserving of kudos, it just wasn’t realistic to expect an audience to follow a lengthy story and get any artistic significance out of it. While “Runaway” will only be a straight 40 minutes, there’s no way to possibly expect ‘Ye’s project to turn out anymore successful.
Here’s why: either Kanye guts the video to include only the 5:39-worth of song and risk losing its entire narrative structure for MTV play OR he posts the video in full and expects every person who watches it to sit in front of a TV or computer to view it in its entirety. Either way he loses.
Especially in today’s day and age, a 40-minute blockbuster such as “Runaway” has absolutely no chance of success. When tweets are considered legitimate hard news sources, an almost hour-long time killer won’t be met with much congratulation—at least not from the casual John Smith fan of Nowhere, Iowa, that I’m assuming Kanye would like to reach with this video.
Granted, there’s a chance that it’ll be good—even exceptional—artistically. But there’s an almost unrealistic chance of it being successful commercially.
It makes you wonder why he can’t just do this again.