The fundamental genius of Kanye West is that he will always find a way to out-Kanye himself, even when the expectations are sky-high.
In February, it would be difficult to imagine a statement more off-color than Kanye West's "BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!" tweet. But now it's June and West has presented Cosby (or a Cosby look-a-like) nude in bed alongside Donald Trump, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Kim Kardashian and the anti-West herself, Taylor Swift, in his "Famous" video.
It's an image that will be burned in pop culture's brain for the rest of the decade. However, it's not exactly easy to parse. Thankfully, Kanye West deigned to (partially) explain his intentions to the rest of the world in a Vanity Fair interview. "It's not in support or anti any of [the people in the video]," West said. "It's a comment on fame."
Most of the people in bed with West are figures from his long troll he's been pulling on pop culture — current and former lovers (Kardashian and Amber Rose), collaborators (Rihanna and Brown), in-laws (Caitlyn Jenner) and people he's insulted (Swift and former president George W. Bush).
The set up allowed West a window into toying with alternate realities. What if his interactions with these people had gone different?
"Maybe in some alternative universe me and George Bush could have been friends," he told Vanity Fair. "I could have been his O.J. Simpson black friend on the golf course."
He worked with several collaborators over three months to create the perfect ambiguous, voyeuristic view of fame, drawing inspiration from living sculpture artist Matthew Barney. West called Barney his "Jesus" in the Vanity Fair interview.
Even though the people he depicted are some of the most thirsted after celebrities in pop culture, he took care to make sure the sexuality of the scene didn't dominate the viewers' impression.
"We were very careful with shots that had [something] sexual to take them out," he said. They're just bodies — famous bodies. But in another alternate reality, it's just an everyday nap session at the local nudist colony.
Watch the full video via Tidal here.