So it is no surprise that Kanye West is not the perfect model for humility. And he could probably improve on his people skills. Still, he definitely knows how to get the world’s attention. Kanye West, hip-hop’s most controversial artist, created buzz yet again with the release of his 35 minute short-film “Runaway” on Saturday, October 23. In his display of artistic versatility, West breaks down walls of stereotypes, steps outside the box and proves that he is more than just a rapper. He is an artist, and regardless of whether his music tickles your fancy or if you are @KanyeHaters, Kanye West is the next breed of musician, bringing innovation, creativity, and balls to hip-hop. Kanye West respects art, is open to growth, and continues to evolve as he constantly provides his audience with a stunning display of originality.
The film is fun to watch but better to be experienced. In “Runaway,” Kanye West blurs the lines of hip-hop and fine art. In Scenic Sounds we highlight how music and film mesh, and “Runaway” is a beautiful example of how powerful music can be. Few words are spoken throughout the entire 35 minute film. West uses the tone and tempo of several of his recent songs (many which will be on his highly anticipated upcoming album) paired with the visuals to tell the story. The music speaks volumes and guides the audience through the film. There are moments of disconnect between the lyrics of the songs and the action on screen, but if you focus less on lyrics and more on the feel of the music there is perfect harmony.
I would be remiss in writing a review of “Runaway” without mentioning the storyline and screamingly obvious metaphors. The film revolves around the relationship between Kanye and a Phoenix who has fallen to earth. The Phoenix experiences the stigma of being different and the cruelty of the world toward things they don’t understand. As I previously mentioned, dialogue is scarce throughout the film, but when used, it is used with great precision. In the climactic scene before the Phoenix leaves earth to avoid being turned to stone by humanity, she says, “Do you know what I hate most about your world? Anything that is different you try to change. You try to tear it down.” Kanye’s metaphors speak to his incessant pursuit of his own personality and uniqueness despite the jeers from the rest of the world. The short-film is about Kanye moving past the hate. It is him putting bad criticism and judgment aside and rising above it. It is about Kanye West getting back to making art.
Although many of Mr. West’s bold decisions have led to public outcry and several public apologies, his bold decision to carry through with this film is not one of them. His innovative and artistic spirit shines through as he paves a path for the advancement of hip-hop. Rather than sitting around in a warehouse making music videos with Ms. New Booty, Kanye West is producing art. Just as the Phoenix caught fire and rose above the judgmental world, Kanye is back from his penitent hacienda and has put hip-hop back on his back as he flies above criticism. With many of the songs from the film to be included in his upcoming album, the film acts as a preview of the dark and twisted tunes that will make up “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Nightmare.”
Remember: Listen to the Movie!
–Kurt Skalamera, Skinny Jeans and Music Fiends Saturdays at 6pm