Kanye West unveiled his latest NSFW music video for his hit single "Famous" (featuring Rihanna and Swizz Beatz) at The Forum in LA last Friday. The song refers to Yeezy's stardom status and how others have profited from his fame — or at the very least attempted it. The recording artist chose to accompany his lyrics with some very naked visuals, suggesting a massive celebrity orgy.
The song had already been introduced to fans in his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo, which was released on February 14, 2016 by Roc-A-Fella Records, GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings. The track unleashed much controversy upon its introduction and the accompanying music video is no different.
The clip features multiple public figures laying naked in a massive bed, while sleeping next to an equally naked Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian West. Alongside them, you'll recognize Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, Ray J, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour.
This set was inspired by Sleep, a large mural painting by American realist Vincent Desiderio, which portrays 12 naked bodies laying asleep on a bed. In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, Kanye also gave a shoutout to the artist best known for his use of living sculptures: “Matthew Barney is my Jesus."
The bodies in his music video lay motionless (although some appear to be breathing) and are a combination of real people and wax figures. West basically created his own X-rated Madame Tussauds with the seemingly implicit message that celebrities are regular people at their core.
It is unclear as to whether Kanye sought the approval of the celebrities featured in the video. However, he did attribute a "special thanks" in the credits "for being famous." In his interview, Yeezy clarified the inclusion of certain figures:
“It’s not in support or anti any of [the people in the video]. It’s a comment on fame.”
In fact, there is some he-said-she-said controversy relating to Taylor Swift's inclusion, which followed the original feud that came with the song's original release. Below are the lyrics to a verse of "Famous" in which Kanye explicitly takes credit for Swift's fame:
"For all my Southside [email protected] that know me best
I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex
Why? I made that b*tch famous (God damn)
I made that bitch famous
For all the girls that got d*ck from Kanye West
If you see 'em in the streets give 'em Kanye's best
Why? They mad they ain't famous (God damn)
They mad they're still nameless (Talk that talk, man)
Her man in the store tryna try his best
But he just can't seem to get Kanye fresh
But we still hood famous (God damn)
Yeah we still hood famous"
In an interview with GQ, Kim Kardashian addressed Swift's reaction to "Famous," shedding light on the juicy details (keep her bias in mind). Kim insisted that regardless of Taylor's surprised follow-up at the Grammys, she was most certainly in on it.
“She totally approved that. She totally knew that that was coming out. She wanted to all of a sudden act like she didn't. I swear, my husband gets so much sh*t for things [when] he really was doing proper protocol and even called to get it approved. What rapper would call a girl that he was rapping a line about to get approval?”
Kim continued by claiming that record producer Rick Rubin, along with "many respected people in the music business" overheard the phone conversation. She also asserted that the entire thing was recorded since Kanye keeps footage of his productions for documentary purposes. Taylor apparently joked that the world would think she was against it, which would be funny when they found out the truth.
There may have been a misunderstanding in which Taylor was aware she'd be mentioned, but that the exact lyrics were never disclosed. Unless the footage is ever released, the world may simply never know the truth.
The music video is exclusively available on Tidal, and you can view it here.