(18+)Kanye West – Famous, Official Video
“Famous” is a song by American rapper Kanye West. It serves as the first single from his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo (2016). The song features vocals from singer Rihanna and background vocals from fellow hip hop artist Swizz Beatz. The single was formally added to US urban and rhythmic radio stations on April 1, 2016.
“Famous” contains samples of “Do What You Gotta Do”, written by Jimmy Webb and performed by Nina Simone; samples of “Bam Bam”, written by Winston Riley and performed by Sister Nancy and contains samples of “Mi Sono Svegliato E… Ho Chiuso Gli Occhi”, written by Luis Bacalov, Sergio Bardotti, Giampiero Scalamogna, and Enzo Vita, and performed by Il Rovescio della Medaglia.
The song includes a lyric in reference to singer Taylor Swift and concerning the aftermath of West’s interruption during her acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex/Why? I made that bitch famous/Goddamn, I made that bitch famous.“ The lyric was heavily publicized and criticized by media outlets.
For the Chicago Tribune, Greg Kot called the song “an example of just how brilliant and infuriating West can be at the same time,” going on to praise the production and Rihanna’s guest vocals. The song features a segue from “braggadocious, bell-ringing hip-hop” into samples of Sister Nancy’s dancehall song “Bam Bam” chopped up over the chord progression featured in Nina Simone’s “Do What You Gotta Do.”
The song’s music video premiered at a Tidal exclusive event at The Forum in Inglewood, California on June 24, 2016. The video begins with a a camera passing slowly over the nude, sleeping bodies of George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Ray J., Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, and Bill Cosby. At the end of the video, the camera pans out to show all of the sleeping bodies at the same time as West wakes up from his slumber. All of the celebrities are synthetic bodies.
Two days prior to the video’s release, West showed the video to Dirk Standen of Vanity Fair over Skype while the video was still in its final editing stages. The video was filmed over a period of three months and went through four different versions prior to the finalized version. West did not reveal which of the celebrities’ bodies in the video were real and which ones were prosthetic; however he stated that the video was “not in support or [against] any of [the people in the video]” and was merely “a comment on fame”. He also stated that he received his wife Kardashian’s permission. Days after its release, E! Online editor Corinne Heller commented “Swift is the main reason the “Famous” video was so anticipated,” however, it received “almost no reactions.”
Vincent Desiderio’s painting Sleep was the visual inspiration for the video.