Some rappers happen to be thoughtful, intelligent people. Every Monday that isn't a national holiday or pre-empted by HPMA showcase coverage, Rocks Off will have some of them hear discussing issues relevant to their culture.
This Week's Panel: Paul Wall, Fat Tony, Preemo, Sam Sneed, Thurogood Wordsmith
Not Invited: Taylor Swift
This Week's Prompt: Got an easy one for you this week: Kanye.
What did everyone think of his new video? Here it is if you want to pretend like you didn't watch it already. Was it effective? Lame? So over the top and conceptualized that it became about nothing?
What was he trying to convey? Why was he wearing that gigantic chain? Was that girl sitting down the girl from those Victoria's Secret commercials? And most importantly, is Kanye back? We know all of the answers to these questions because we're geniuses, but what do the rest of you all think about it?
Paul Wall: Damn. I can't see the video over here* because Youtube is banned where I'm staying at due to explicit content and nudity. You can't get on World Star or none of those sights, it's crazy.
*Huge hat-tip to Paul Wall, who is currently in the Middle East doing shows for the troops. Even still, he proactively reached out to us to participate in this week's RRT. There are rappers here in Houston who manage to avoid this discussion each week. You should all feel terrible about yourselves.
Fat Tony: This video is completely over the top and ridiculously lavish. So much so that it almost seems immaculate in its conception and inception into our popular culture. My girlfriend described it as "beautiful." I concur.
So much gold, so many women, so much "POWER." I wish I could watch this short video clip on an IMAX screen. Kanye is living up to his "arrogant" persona perceived by present day critics and people with regular boring lives by releasing this "moving portrait." I am proud to be a fan of his work.
Preemo: I thought it was amazing. Kanye West has put himself into the category of hip-hop royalty by his hard work and hustle alone. He keeps evolving and growing artistically every time he comes out. I can only imagine the album I would put together with his production and guidance.
And the Osiris chain was bonkers. Slick Rick would have to give it up, that shit was bananas.
Sam Sneed: I thought that Kanye's new video "Power" was very creative. I think that he was effective in the strong message he wants to expose to us, and that is that he's tired of being messed with after being the joke of the year when he interrupted Taylor Swift's award speech.
To me, he portrays the idea that he thinks that it is his time to reign on the hip-hop throne as hip-hop's newest Pharaoh.
He is shown wearing a large gold medallion around his neck, as biblical Roman, Greek, and Egyptian royals wore back in the biblical era, and as the shot slowly widens he is standing between Roman columns, which back then was portrayed to represent wealth and prestige.
He has ladies; some that kneel before him on all fours dressed as satyrs, horned women, angels and goddesses suspended upside down, in the depiction of a slow-moving Roman orgy, with him being some of what as the Black Caesar as the center of attention.
He also reveals that as he moves to take this position of power that he will be careful because his does realize that "No one man should have all that power" and that all the great men of power of the past have eventually fallen to an ultimate higher power.
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Thurogood Wordsmith: Kanye, Kanye, Kanye... Always finding a way to make people talk about him. I don't know what he's best at, creating attention for himself, producing, or rapping? Well, actually I do know. He's best at creating attention for himself, producing, and rapping. In that order. But to his credit, he is incredibly talented at all three of those things.
I thought that the video was excellent. I just hope I don't see a bunch of rappers trading in their faux hawks & skinny jeans for Caesar cuts and togas. On second thought, that might be cooler than fauxhawks and skinny jeans.
To address your main point of discussion, Is Kanye back? Of course he is. Who else has an MTV video premiere aired directly after the stations top-rated show, Jersey Shore?
The truth is, Kanye will be in the public eye as long as he chooses to be. His talent speaks for itself; unfortunately he speaks for himself as well.