Kanye West “Heartless” Makes The Music Video Cool Again

I can’t speak for anyone except myself, but there was a time– and I certainly don’t want this to be a “remember such and such?” post– when music videos were something to experience. Rap City and Video Music Box were shows you didn’t just watch, but taped! I have countless video tapes of different videos from the 90s. I mean, some of those videos were so great that you wound up taping the same ones over and over, they were that good.

Then music videos became big events, they became multi-million dollar spectacles, with Hype Williams and Paul Hunter and Little X and [insert big budget music video director here] creating these mini movies that made our hip-hop artists seem larger than life.

Then, all of a sudden, around turn of the century, music videos just got ridiculously boring, even with all the high quality production values. Before you even saw a video, you knew what it was going to be. There’d be a scene in a club or mansion with women, a scene with the rapper and their cars, maybe if they were feeling really creative they’d be out on the Vegas strip (“Lollipop” anyone?). The general consensus was, if you’d seen one rap video, you’d seen them all.

So MTV, what they did was, they stopped airing music videos on their main channel, eventually canceling TRL, and that’s what BET is doing now by canceling Rap City and replacing it with some other new music video show.

They’re basically saying to the artists and the labels (who service them with the videos), give us something good to play– something that will keep our viewers eyes on the television– and we’ll give you some air time. But until you do that, consistently, we’re not giving you shit.

By now, we’ve all pretty much migrated to the web for our video watching anyway. Youtube and Onsmash and Dailymotion, these sites– among others– are the truth for web videos. Still, maybe it’s just me, but despite the fact that I watch videos online (because that’s really the only place I can see them), I don’t enjoy watching videos on a little screen. I have a 37 inch flat screen, I want to see music videos in high definition on there, not on some little tiny box playing within my web browser. That’s just… weak.

And that sucks for Kanye West, who consistently churns out incredible videos to pretty much all of his music. I actually can’t recall Mr. West ever making a video that made me want to change the channel. Even if I didn’t like the song, the video itself would keep me tuned in.

In his new video, for “Heartless” (which by the way is the best song I have heard this year, hands down), Kanye gets Hype “Big Budget” Williams to draw upon a technique called Rotoscoping to keep our eyes glued to the screen. Complex.com describes Rotoscoping as,

“…an animation technique in which illustrators trace over live-action film movement and turn it into animation. Originally, pre-recorded films were projected onto frosted glass panels and re-drawn by an animator, but now it’s all computers. This technique allows animators to perfectly emulate a character’s idiosyncrasies…”

I think this video is an amazing work of art, one that should be experienced on a big screen. And while years ago the big screen meant a movie theater, now I think it just means a television. Because if the television used to be the small screen, and your computer is a smaller screen, and we’re watching videos on there, well… you get the point.

It sucks for Kanye (and ultimately Def Jam) that he’ll have few outlets and opportunities for people to actually see this video. I mean, really, the first time Hype Williams has done something I actually want to watch in god knows how long, and there’s nowhere to watch it except for my little laptop screen. What, you thought I was going to actually sit around and wait for it to air on “106 and Park” or “Sucker Free?”

Who remembers when Michael Jackson’s video for “Remember The Time” aired during prime time on network television back in 1992?

Seeing as how Kanye wants to be the biggest pop star on the planet, do you think he could pull that off? I know he damn well remembers it.

  • Rosco

    SMH @ n e one who likes n e thing offa 808 and hartbreaks.

  • grant ny

    is thier naything that kanye and wayne do that XXL dont lie? fucking stupid shit.

  • texasleen

    i really like “heartless” its smooth…reaching out to more then just rap music

  • EReal

    I got a better question,

    “Can XXL stop slobbing on Kanye and Wayne?”

    • nellz

      What?..all i ever see is hate…very rarely does any1 from XXL have anything positive to say about either artist.

      • EReal

        Are you kidding me? Every damn blog or story is Wayne or Kanye related, the shit gets old. This site fell off hard, I only come here to fucks with Bol and Ron Mex.

  • Arcey

    Y’all crazy!!! I do agree ’bout the Wayne Stanism goin’ on here but if you don’t like, don’t click on it…

    About “Heartless” I like it & Kanye does put an effort in making his video above the average bullshit online/TV

    Gooch, have you tried connecting your TV to the laptop, I know it’s possible with a PC but I’m no computer geek, just a Suggestion.

  • gooch

    Yes, I have my computer connected. For the sake of argument tho, I failed to mention that lol. Not everyone gets down like that.

  • http://www.theroyaltytakeover2.blogspot.com Yoda

    …really?

    Wow…I enjoyed “Do For Love” better than this rotoscoping or not.

    And let’s not forget, the song is horrible.

  • capcobra

    i think kanye has the appeal/story and talent to pull it off…i remember mike did it for bad/black and white and remember the time…and if i’m not mistaken..they was all on fox…sorry it’s very possible..keep in mind he world premiered love lockdown on ellen….so ain’t no telling….but please believe if the nigga ‘ye get close enough to doing it that big…hov and beyonce gon jump on the bandwagon and try to do it even bigger…you know how they do!!

  • the r

    you never heard of rotoscoping….that’s REAL old…it was cool 5 years ago…check out a scanner darkly from 2 years ago. it’s not expensive either

    • http://myspace.com/kyngedwardwang EDIWANG

      shit first time i seen it was in this movie called american pop…..damn near an exact replica of the heartless video

  • Qu33f_Machine

    Can he save the music video? After seeing this video? Nope. I love Kanye’s music, but this was nothing spectacular and the video for his last single was confusing and pretty much garbage.

    The Murikami video was tight though.

  • Bobo D

    “I have countless video tapes of different videos from the 90s.”

    Glad I’m not the only one.

    But I don’t truly agree with you that MTV stopped showing music videos because they sucked. They just jumped on the reality show scheme. When they where only a small amount music videos being played artist started making backyard music videos for the internets to try boost sales.

  • yoprince

    the video and song are ill, and i’m not a kanye fan.

    in fact, the video is amazing.

  • marc

    Everybody should think outside the fucking box for a while.
    People go into the shit expecting hip hop shit when this is some alternative.
    Hip Hop is definetly not the only style of music i listen to thats why i can dig this Kanye shit.
    BUT MAYBE I’M TOO OPEN MINDED

  • Enlightened

    Heartless is the best song you’ve heard this year? Hands down? Word? I couldn’t never kick it you. We’d be up in the club and you’d be pointing at a broad that looks like somebody’s ass crack talking about, “that’s baddest bitch in here, hands down.”

  • Enlightened

    Marc,

    Then he should put it in an alternative category and stop trying to tell us that it’s a fuckin hip-hop album.

    Queen Latifah made a JAZZ album. This girl I know who likes jazz loves that shit. Queen Latifah wasn’t all on 106 and Park trying to promote her jazz album. She took that shit where the jazz people are.

    Kanye needs to get the fuck on with that to where the pop and alternative people go. This is a hip-hop site. I haven’t seen no shit on here about AC/DC or no shit lately.

  • Rae Tha Great

    HEARTLESS IS THE BEST SONG HANDS DOWN BUT I KNOW ITS ANOTHER SONG ON THE ALBUM KILLING IT. THAT ALWAYS HAPPENS WHEN I BUY AN ALBUM FOR SOME REASON. YOU REALLY BUY IT FOR SONG THEN FALL IN LOVE WITH ANOTHER ONE. BUT HEARTLESS HAS SO MUCH EMOTION IN IT AND IT REMINDS ME OF “GOOD MORNING”
    PEACE