If there is one thing I dislike most about Watch the Throne, the new album from the kings Kanye West and Jay-Z, it's that they know exactly what fans want. Not only does their audience want to hear West’s unique production style sampling odd artists, they also want Z’s deeply moving rap persona. Setting out to make an album that celebrates your past work is an admirable way to appease your fans, but when an ego as large as the kings' protrude into their work, failure is always bound to happen. “If it’s not broke, don’t’ fix it” might be a fitting way to describe The Throne, but with the duo’s newest Spike Jonze directed music video for “Otis,” it might be a more relevant term.
This is the first Jonze directed music video where I felt alienated. It’s as though Yeezy and Hov have taken their ideas from past videos featuring cars, girls, and senseless rapping in front of cameras and brought it to an unnecessary next level. “Otis” is like almost every other rap video in existence. The duo begins by dismantling a car and adding an extra dimension of “space ship” to their vehicle. The video then continues with two and a half minutes of West and Z rapping in front of an American flag while cut scenes are thrown in randomly of them driving around in their customized vehicle with women in the back seat. If you don’t believe me then check out, courtesy of MTV.com, the video for yourself:
The fact that Aziz Ansari is barely utilized in the video is a mockery, but the most disappointing aspect is that Spike Jonze directed “Otis.” His past efforts include the amazing short film for Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs and his two awesome music videos for Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” and “Buddy Holly” among many others. What happened to this video? Before you answer, consider this... Maybe Jonze just made this video to receive extra cash for his next project with Charlie Kaufman. That can be the only reasonable answer I can come up with because other than that, I really can’t explain how this video is so crappy when such a talent is involved.
For that matter, it even bothers me more that extremely creative guys like Yeezy and Hov are involved in this sad excuse for a music video. Yeezy’s stunningly visual escape for the Hostel inspired ”Monster” shows not only what he was capable of being a part of but what they could've made with more effort was put in. I could only suspect this was not the case with "Otis" because West and Jay-Z were comfortable with just giving fans more of what they wanted. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Yet it seems like the duo is delving into territory that is not only broken but is in some serious need of fixing.
If you want an idea of how “rap music videos” should be made within the style's tight essence of booties, cars, and outrageous self proclaim, then you need to watch “Fuck Shit Stack” by Reggie Watts. Not only does the man understand hip-hop music videos, it’s also as entertaining as West and Z’s massive ego. Check it out:
Reggie Watts Fuck Shit Stack