West unveiled new record “I Love It” at the inaugural Pornhub Awards, and it definitely got the public talking (or, tweeting), that’s for sure.
Co-directed by Kanye himself and Amanda Adelson, West marks a pivotal moment in his own rebrand, and in doing so shows a softer, satirical side. Almost unchartered territory for Mr West. The track starts and cue Lil Pump and Kanye moving down an infinite hallway in oversized garments, with box-like frames and some wooden dance moves. Like a caricature of themselves, straight out of an inflated Yeezy factory, the duo bounce down in uncomfortable unison. Why so big, West? Kanye was recently criticised for sporting sliders that were distinctively too small, and the pictures surfaced heavily in the press. Which begs the question, is West retorting to critique by going all-out with shape and size in this video? It wouldn’t be the first time that West has used his creativity to challenge haters.
Enough about the aesthetics, what about the content? The derogatory lyrics have caused understandable offence, but I think it’s the materialism that sits behind them that requires further comment. During a time of such obsession with perfection and online presence, West manifests the alarming spectrum of choice we’re exposed to, pressures of surgery and ‘faking it’ in the lyrics. When you throw in the fact that West is married to Kim Kardashian, otherwise known as the queen of the selfie, it hits that bit harder. But, the jury cannot come to a verdict on whether this depiction of alteration normalises or disrupts. Its position in limbo reflects where we are today, half of us trying to fight against complete social media obsession and the other half fully engrossed in refreshing our trusty feeds and securing those likes.
Like all songs in this style, at face value, it’s not been a hit with everyone. Haters to one side, “I Love It” reached the top spot for the biggest-ever global debut for a hip-hop video on YouTube, with 108 million streams on the platform alone. The bizarre visuals of the video have quickly entered meme territory, sparking the #ILoveItChallenge. Click the hashtag and witness attempts to recreate West’s creative vision. Even James Corden has got involved with this one, releasing a parody for the Late Late Show.
It’s problematic that parodies are gaining such traction online, blocking the way for artists who are out there grafting. But again, that’s 2018 for you. We all buy into novelty and throw in a bit of controversy and records get broken. Even if we don’t agree with the narrative, we’re downloading it, streaming it and plugging into it 24/7.
He wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last to produce a record that’s success hinges on memebait culture. Cast your mind back to Drake’s “Hotline Bling” for a minute… That very baton was firmly in Mr West’s hands with this latest offering. Kanye, a problematic fave, certainly had an impact with this track. Teetering on the age of artificial and downright insane. Or, was it all just part of a creative vision with nothing to back it up? Only one man can answer that one. What’s next for Mr West, and can this track smash any more records?
Stream ‘I Love it’, below.
Words by Emma McCormack