Kanye's "New Slaves" Video Bomb: An Eyewitness Account
There he is...
Photo by Charne Graham
Between his video premieres and SNL performances, Kanye West managed to confuse me in a good way all weekend. So it's Friday night in Chicago and I had planned my night of catching up on television shows I've missed all week. But I checked my Twitter and my timeline was filled with Kanye West tweets.
At first I'm thinking, "Shit, what did he do now?" but no, this time it was something good. Kanye tweeted that he was premiering his new video by projecting it on buildings across the world tonight. Several locations in Chicago were listed on Kanye's site.
I immediately started to grin an unstoppable grin and had my moment of being a complete fan, with lots of oh-my-gods, so I geared up for this treasure-hunt adventure Kanye set up for us. I chose to go to the University of Chicago location, which only gave the address of an intersection. This somewhat reminded me of that movie Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, where Michael Cera and Kat Denning's were looking for that band Where's Fluffy. The only difference was that I was on a mission to look at a Powerpoint presentation from Mr. West on a building instead of a live performance.
When I arrived at U of C, I spent a good five minutes being lost on the big-ass Ivy league-like campus until I found a group of kids with PBRs in their hands. Then I thought, "Bingo, follow the hipsters."
So once I got to the random intersection where we should be seeing a video I walked upon a block party complete with a kid carrying a portable speaker playing all of Kanye's greatest hits. I was pleased. I found a parking space, got a free beer and expected the video to show up on one of those historic buildings at any minute.
Then ten minutes went by, and city and campus police surrounded the block. I was sure it was a wrap. I just knew my night was ruined by the cops, and all I had wanted to do was watch this video. I ignored my social-media feeds in fear that someone will post photos from other locations before I could see it live.
Twenty minutes behind schedule a huge black jeep made its way through the crowd followed by an even bigger black van that came with all the equipment. The energy was very intense. A random helicopter flew over us, and I overheard people saying Kanye was in the helicopter watching us all dance like puppets.
For a brief second, I did feel a little silly standing outside a college campus at midnight waiting to watch something I had no clue about.
Within two minutes, we all held our breath as Kanye's face appeared on the building I was standing in front of. He looked like The Great and Powerful Oz -- all we needed was a smoke machine.
Overall, his song "New Slaves" is amazing. My favorite line is, "There are leaders and there are followers but I'd rather be a dick than a swallower." You tell em, Kanye. The marketing for the video was incredible, although I wish the video had more to it than just Kanye's face. There were moments between verses where he just blinked and stared back at us. Weird.
Then there's this other song at the end of the video where he sings in a high-pitched tone. Even weirder. Great concept for dragging folks like me out the house on Friday night Kanye, though. You do keep us guessing.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.