Friday, November 22, 2013
"If Kanye were simply out to make typically exploitative videos, he has taken the most obtuse and scenic route possible. These clips speak to the way he wrestles with rap's messy value system and attempts an album-to-album snapshot of how he feels. This is what rap does best: It allows for two opposing ideas to exist at the same time, and creates semi-coherent art out of that tension. Even by pop standards, rap can be aggressively temporal and in-the-moment, and Kanye's found a way to turn hip-hop's flighty qualities into public, personal-is-political introspection.
...Which brings us back to the “Bound 2” video. It stars and dotes on Kardashian, a figure of constant public ridicule, and affords her a knowingness she doesn't get to display very often. Why is she someone to mock, exactly? Because she's on a reality-television show? Because she's had plastic surgery? Because she made a sex tape? In 2013, why would any of these things be objectionable? Notice how Kanye and Kim are on equal footing (or close to it: Kardashian is topless, though it seems like it's only a matter of time before we get a John-and-Yoko-style photoshoot with those two), and as a result, Kanye seems more implicated in the crazy concept, not above it.
So sure, he's winking here a little, daring viewers to take this thing seriously – especially those fucking-on-the-bike shots – and adjusting a certain kind of CMT Americana (John Ford landscapes spruced up with CGI; horses running like they're in a beer commercial) until it feels uncomfortably sincere. But if “Bound 2” is in part a song about transcending all the bullshit in our lives and falling in love, no matter how corny that shit might look from the outside (especially if you're a scowling art-rapper like circa-2013 'Ye), then give him credit for turning his entire tasteful aesthetic into something corny and easy to clown, and daring viewers to clown him."
SPIN: Kanye West's 'Bound 2' Video Is Better (and More Progressive!) Than You Think