Kanye West Just Explained the Meaning Behind the "Famous" Video in the Most Kanye Way Ever

Source: Tidal
Source: Tidal

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."

Source: Tidal

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.

Read more: 
Kanye West's 'Famous' Video Featuring a Naked Celebrity Pantheon Broke the Internet
7 Charts Show How Drastically Kanye West's Music Has Evolved
Kanye West Is Being Called Out for Suspect 'TLOP' Stream Count — Do the Numbers Add Up?

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

MORE FROM

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

'Han Solo' director Ron Howard recalls his first 'Star Wars' experience

The veteran filmmaker revealed 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas was talking about it as early as 1972.

RuPaul is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

RuPaul is among the latest Walk of Fame honorees.

Stop trying to reveal Banksy's secret identity

Revealing the identity of Banksy is a great way to destroy the power of his work.

'Arrow' executive producer talks gun violence episode and teases another topical story in season 6

"Spectre of the Gun" brought the gun control debate to 'Arrow'.

Diddy talks 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop' documentary, Biggie and not being a hater

As the Bad Boy Entertainment founder looks to burnish his legacy with a new film, he looks back on more than 20 years in the music business.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

'Han Solo' director Ron Howard recalls his first 'Star Wars' experience

The veteran filmmaker revealed 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas was talking about it as early as 1972.

RuPaul is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

RuPaul is among the latest Walk of Fame honorees.

Stop trying to reveal Banksy's secret identity

Revealing the identity of Banksy is a great way to destroy the power of his work.

'Arrow' executive producer talks gun violence episode and teases another topical story in season 6

"Spectre of the Gun" brought the gun control debate to 'Arrow'.

Diddy talks 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop' documentary, Biggie and not being a hater

As the Bad Boy Entertainment founder looks to burnish his legacy with a new film, he looks back on more than 20 years in the music business.