The sixth track on Kanye West’s magnificent “urban fairytale” album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, completely fits the adjectives of the album’s title exactly. The buzzing intro lyrics [“I shoot the lights out/Hide ‘till its bright out”] are completely out of place for a rap track, which is made clear by the subsequent verse by Rick Ross, which is some of his best work despite it being four bars. The hard bass line, near-tribal 808 drums, and swoozy synth are a testament to Kanye’s place as a leader in modern hip hop production. His rhyme is honestly a bit undercooked, but still fits the overall theme of the song with his tense assertion of his status with outrageous bragging. Jay-Z’s verse is great, blurring lines between reality and fantasy by comparing the terror of classic cinema monsters to his rap career. And Nicki Minaj kicks in the teeth of any dissenters of her fame with her jaw-dropping, schizophrenic verses that flow seamlessly even with her frequently changing personas.
In other words, “Monster” is a bomb-ass track.
That being said, it was a clear contender for a single, which was cemented by the leaked video early on in 2011. With the official release of the video on Mr. West’s page, we can all bang out this abrasive, crazy posse cut with them rapping in front of cars and drinking imported wine. Oh wait… no. In fact, the video is so far from the routine rap video that it could stand alone as an experimental short film.
It’s not often that a music video is prefaced by a disclaimer, but never before has it been so needed. Those who are not into gruesome horror films should take a warning, as this is a knowingly graphic and shocking display of art(?). There are models hung from meat hooks as Ross puffs a thick cigar. Kanye lounges near two pale bodies in lingerie, and he casually arranges their hands. He is then seen rapping the chorus as zombies bang on a window-paned door. Jay-Z rhymes in a clean suit and polarized shades while a naked woman is lazily stuffed in a sofa in the background, her ruby red shoes still on. Minaj is clad in a dominatrix attire while also sitting on a chair with her signature Hookiejookie something Barbie something hair. There are also random scenes of a tattooed contortionist in a hallway, conjoined twins connected at the shoulder, black women in werewolf cosplay, and more that should be witnessed without spoiler.
What do I think of the video? Well, it certainly aims at taking an extremely literal take on the title of the song. It is far from the norm and certainly is an aesthetically challenging piece. However… I think it was a bad choice, in terms of morality and the impending backlash. I have no problem with the video, but there have already been groups calling it a banner for sexual abuse due to all of the victims being models. Most of the true fans would realize that this choice was in tandem with the “haute couture” nature of Kanye’s album promotion, such as the ballet in “Runaway,” but outsiders, ignorant and unwilling to look further beyond what they see, will only cause more trouble for his career.
|DO NOT CLICK ME|