Kanye West, famous rapper and husband of Kim Kardashian, dropped the music video for his single "Wolves" on this glorious Friday afternoon.
"Wolves" originally debuted on February 12 last year at a Yeezy fashion show where models stood silently in rows while the song played. And in this music video, West calls back to that day by making what is essentially a seven-minute long commercial for the fashion house Balmain. The video was directed by Steven Klein and features—in addition to a bunch of models—appearances by Vic Mensa, Sia, Kim Kardashian West, and Kendall Jenner, who are all dressed in Balmain.
Kanye West doesn't exactly play by music publicity rules. He played his new album The Life of Pablo for the first time at a "listening party" he sold tickets to at Madison Square Garden. He keeps up the hype for it through his wife's Snapchat stories. And here, in this music video, he again ignores the conventions that other artists abide by religiously in order to create hits.
For example, this video starts with a minute of silence. While artistically interesting, I guess, this ignores the reality that most people don't actually "watch" the YouTube videos they play. YouTube is very often used as a music streaming platform, and with a huge chunk of silence at the beginning, West's video won't auto-play well, and that could hurt its number of streams. But West seemingly doesn't care about that. "Wolves" is also not very GIF-able, another important quality of a 2016 music video.
There's nothing really going on here except a lot of people "crying" very shimmery "tears":
In defying our expectations of what a music video should be, "Wolves" seems more like a short film produced solely for its artistic value. Shot in black-and-white, and filled with beautiful people, it is certainly a gorgeous production.
It would be so easy to believe this video was a piece of art and only that if it weren't so obviously a commercial. Kanye West is an artistic genius, and if he wants to sell that genius for big bucks to Balmain, nobody can stop him.
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.