Chicago rapper, producer, fashion designer and pop culture icon Kanye West has unsurprisingly shocked the world again with his newest video release. The track featured is “Fade”, the former closing song off of his most recent album The Life of Pablo. The music video can be viewed below:
The video features a Flashdance-style sequence of GOOD Music artist Teyana Taylor dancing in a gymnasium. The choreography (put together by Jae Blaze) is stunning and mesmerizing, and calls back to classic dances from artists such as Michael Jackson and Aaliyah. The ending features Teyana and fiance Iman Shumpert having sex, before transitioning to an image of Iman, an infant, and Teyana, who’s grown a lion’s tail and who’s face has transformed into that of a cat. The VHS-like filter put over the video further presents the themes of art from a bygone era. Combined with the track “Fade” the music video presents two stories, one direct and one metaphorical. The direct story is that of an attractive woman working out, and just being herself. However, being sexualized has allowed her to take her position as a lion among the sheep. While some may view the portrayal of a powerful woman as a predatory, sexual creature as offensive, this can also be interpreted as women taking control of and embracing their sexuality freely to take control of their own lives. The bigger, less direct story of the video is that the Flashdance inspired choreography and cinematography recalls iconic images that are simply not present in today’s media. The relevance of the tropes is “fading”, and so Kanye, an artists who pulls significant value from the past through his use of sampling, wants to put the past at the forefront again.
Once again, Kanye proves that he can pull from highly unlikely sources to shock and entertain the world. While the video is very different than the ones he released for “Famous” or “Wolves“, the sheer sexuality and bizarre nature of the video are sure to make it stand out.