Kanye West’s “Famous” video will do little to defuse tensions between him and Taylor Swift. Or between him and George W. Bush. Or between Rihanna and Chris Brown. Or indeed between anyone but Kanye and his fans. The launch of the video was delayed almost an hour to give fans time to fill the Great Western Forum and to buy more merch. When it did debut, it was one hell of a ride. The video opens on a cloudy scene, with Kanye declaring that rap is the new rock n roll in voiceover. Then it switches and slowly pans over a sea of naked bodies. Initially, we weren’t sure who they were. But then it became incredibly clear.
The forms, in order, are George W. Bush, Anna Wintour, Donald Trump, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, Kanye, Kim Kardashian, Ray J, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, and Bill Cosby. All naked, all in some kind of replica. Title cards thanked all those depicted, in reverse order, for being famous. The video ends with the opening strains of "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1." While we can’t speak to the accuracy of the nude portrayals, we can speak to the audacity of Kanye’s willingness to just sort of do whatever he feels like for maximum shock value. He closed the viewing by thanking his fans “for supporting ideas and truth” and running the video back. Comparisons on social media were immediately made to Michaelangelo's The Last Supper, as well as other famous pieces of art.
At this point, adding anything else would be gilding the lily. Fan reaction was, to put things mildly, jubilant. The video is a Tidal exclusive for the next week, after which it will presumably be widely available.