Kanye West Film Premieres in NYC; Industry Reacts

After stops in Paris, Los Angeles, Chicago and more, the premiere of Kanye West’s “Runaway” videolanded in New York City last night (October 21). Held at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in Lower Manhattan, there were initially supposed to be two simultaneous screenings, but due to an issue with one of the theaters, some guests were left in the cold until the second showing.

“Thank you everybody for waiting, I really appreciate it,” Ye said, during his introduction of the piece, to those who decided to stick around for the second screening.

He then offered up some of his thinking behind creating the nearly 35-minute presentation. “It’s been a dream of mine since Late Registration to do a full movie,” he admitted, saying that he wishes all of his tracks could get their proper shine through music videos, and this was a step in that direction. “It’s a good explanation of what I’m all about and I’m getting better and better [at it].”

The XXL October 2010 cover subject explained that he makes choices naturally and organically, without worrying about what other think he should or shouldn’t be doing. “I make all of my decisions from the perspective of a five-year-old before I was taught what to like. Or what not to like.”

The film opens with West running and is narrated early on by Nicki Minaj, employing the fake British accent that she sometimes uses in her music. Soon, there is an explosion, with a fireball landing in front of Ye, and The Phoenix, played by model Selita Ebanks, emerges. The two form a relationship and The Phoenix, being an other-worldly figure, knows nothing of our ways or societal norms. Kanye tries to teach her, at times, but also seems to embrace her innocence.

Some attendees spoke with XXLMag.com to offer their reactions following the screening.

“Let me digest it,” pleaded K’Naan, laughing.

“Inspiring,” DJ Enuff praised. “It reminds me of early Pink Floyd, The Wall [and] early Led Zep[pelin] films. Not psychedelic in that sense, but just something different, beyond hip-hop. It’s bigger than hip-hop. I love the fact that he’s putting art and music all together. And that’s the beauty part. Some people ain’t gonna get it—I’ma keep it one hundred. But it’s definitely something to check out.”

Sha Money XL, Def Jam’s VP of A&R, also lauded the project. “That Kanye shit is fucking amazing, he said. “Super artistic. It’s a way to put an album snippet together at a high value of quality and make people actually watch and listen. I think that was very creative and very genius. Shout out to Kanye, Gee Roberson and the whole Def Jam family.”

“I appreciate the foreign sensibility,” said fellow producer Double-O, one half of the duo Kidz in the Hall. “I love the fact that it was shot in Prague, which is one of my favorite cities. It’s a gift and a curse. I think we all get it; my thing is waiting for Saturday to see if everybody else does. ‘Cause that’s the important thing. You want to try to really get the message out when you’re doing something on an art basis. But I love the fact that there’s a visual attached with the music, because it immediately gives you a certain feeling when you’ll hear the records when the album comes out, and I think that’s the most important part.”

“Runaway” premieres on MTV, BET, VH1, MTV.com, BET.com and VH1.com on Saturday, October 23 at 8 p.m. Of his decision to debut the fim across multiple platforms, Kanye added, “I think it’s a very Michael Jackson type thing [to do].” —Adam Fleischer

  • 7 Mile Style

    This nigga really wanna be Michael Jackson…lol Imma check it out tho…

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    dapz to kayne and all the real hip hop fans that understands that the beautiful struggle of taking hip hop from the undergrond to places unimaginable. this is huge for hip hop, and when one artist eats everybody eats and thats the win-win.

    of course some people ain’t gonna get it, some people would perfer a 30 min video in the strip club or a gangsta flick BUT the artistic perspective should and can be appreciated.

  • kanye blows

    kanye is a dick ridin homo. his music is garbage. he should have killed himself so we wouldnt have to hear about this dookie on the street from brain dead celebrities and media outlets. KANYE IF YOUR READING THIS, KILL YOURSELF NOW.

    • shutyourassup

      leave it to some random asshole to shit on something he hasnt even seen. think for yourself. K’Naan is my DUDE as well, but you shouldnt trust ANYONE’s opinion but your own. Eat shit and die. Ol bandwagon hatin’ ass nigga.

  • Official Fully

    Narrated by Nicki Manaj in a fake british accent?

    All aboard the fail boat!!!!

    • The Coon

      Yeah, that part killed it for me. Everything else about the movie was dope though. Saw it in LA last week.

  • Enlightened

    “Let me digest it,” pleaded K’Naan, laughing.

    After seeing that ridiculous-ass album cover I’ll take K’Naan’s side over the dickriders

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    I cannot feel I’ve ever viewed your website with this a lot of responses onto it!