Kanye West 'Power' video: Rapper brings painting to life in highly-anticipated comeback music video

Kanye West 'Power' video: Rapper brings painting to life in highly-anticipated comeback music video

In a Michael Jackson-esque move, Kanye West turned the debut of his "Power" music video into a bona fide TV event. In addition to a high-profile "Jersey Shore" episode lead-in to ensure maximum viewership, the video was interrupted with mini-commercials roughly every fifteen seconds on MTV.

Over the past few days, West teased the video, off his still-untitled new album, with the catchphrase, "It's not a video, it's a painting" (sounds like an action-movie tagline) and referred to it on his Twitter account as "The Portrait of Power" (sounds like a self-help book).

It seemed as if West, speaking in his usual self-centric riddles, was plugging his video as a work of art and trying to make it into something more than it was. And he wasn't kidding this time.

The one-take "Power" video starts with a stylized shot of a dark-clad West with glowing eyes, surrounded by pillars and wearing a 15-pound Horus piece around his neck. The camera pulls back to reveal the rapper on a living canvas, surrounded by mythological chaos: angels and nymphs cavort around him, levitating servants pour water upside-down onto their faces, two sword-swinging goons come flying at each other in slow-mo, and a giant sword threads through a halo above West's head.

Marco Brambilla, who directed the video, recently told Vulture that the theme of "Power" was a fall from grace; a visual metaphor for his high-profile plummet last year after stealing the mic from Taylor Swift at the VMAs.

"It visualizes power, and him as the icon as power," said the director, who West hand-picked after seeing his "Civilization" installation at the Standard Hotel.  "At the end of the piece it challenges the power that I set up at the beginning. It's an elliptical piece of storytelling."

The focus of the video turns out to be West's death. After a few close-up shots of the rapper's surroundings, Brambilla's camera pulls back and everyone disappears, leaving only West and the two warriors. Realization dawns that they aren't swinging at each other, but rather converging on King Kanye. But before they can decapitate him, however, the video cuts to black.

Interestingly, the video only encompasses about a third of the five-minute track, and you can't help but wonder what he'd have come up with for a clip of whole thing.

Brambelli wasn't at all surprised that West's first video post-Taylorgate portrayed the rapper as nothing less than a king; it's his style to come back strong, albeit painfully self-aware.

"It's the anti–Tiger Woods moment, you know?" Brambelli told Vulture, referring to the golfer's incredibly low-key comeback following a sex scandal. "I think it's a very honest piece. It's definitely larger-than-life and it's definitely a strong kind of statement ... he's brash, and uncensored, but [the video] has a self-awareness."
 

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