Kanye West premiered the video for his controversial song “Famous” in a major way.
The rapper held a screening for at The Forum in Los Angeles to debut the visual while simultaneously streaming the video worldwide via TIDAL.
It’ll be available exclusively on TIDAL for one week.
Brace yourselves — the video features wax figures of some of your favorite celebs, including Taylor Swift, Donald Trump, Amber Rose, Rihanna, Chris Brown and Ray J….totally naked.
Kanye spoke exclusively to Vanity Fair about the video. Check out an excerpt from the interview:
The crew West gathered one way or another (more on that below) for his meditation on fame in America includes current and ex-lovers (Kardashian West, Rose), collaborators and extended family (Rihanna, Jenner), and those with whom he is simply partners in controversy. Of George W. Bush, the then president he accused on live television of not caring about black people, West, speaking by phone from L.A., now reflected, “Maybe in some alternative universe me and George Bush could have been friends. I could have been his O.J. Simpson black friend on the golf course.” What about the inclusion of Cosby? Is that an endorsement? West once tweeted: BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!. “It’s not in support or anti any of [the people in the video],” West said. “It’s a comment on fame.”
Which brings us inevitably to Taylor Swift. The moment West debuted the track at the listening party for his album The Life of Pablo at Madison Square Garden in February, Famous became infamous because of that line. I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, he rapped. Why? I made that bitch famous. Since then West and Swift have been trading public barbs on how much he discussed it with her in advance, but West now refuses to be drawn further on the issue.
Important to West was that he had his wife’s co-sign. “[I say] a lot of lines other wives would not allow a husband to say,” he said. “But my wife also puts up photos that other husbands wouldn’t let them put up. One of the keys to happiness in our marriage is we’re allowed to be ourselves.” The video also reminds me of something West said about himself and Kardashian West in an earlier conversation: “Our life is walking performance art.”
How much of what appears in “Famous” is real? The video, which was filmed over a period of three months and cycled through four different formats and several different collaborators until West felt he’d achieved the result he wanted, leaves you guessing as to which of the celebrities are really playing themselves and which are presumably only there by the grace of some advanced prosthetic wizardry (will the real Taylor Swift please stand up?). Speaking from an L.A. editing suite where he was still obsessively recutting the film the day before its premiere—while also shooting a new scene involving Caitlyn Jenner and a purple Porsche—West was loath to divulge too much of what went on behind the curtain. For him, the ambiguity goes to the core of what he’s trying to say about the mythos of contemporary celebrity.
Check out the clip on TIDAL.