Kanye West's blog is widely regarded as one of the best in the celebrity blogger genre, ghostwritten or not. An unending parade of things to buy, listen to, and have sex with, Kanye is a person bombarded by a litany of cultural influences. These many references inform his art, and he lets them. In the video for his song "Heartless", he and director Hype Williams take the art of Israeli-American animator Ralph Bakshi and reinvent it entirely for one of the best music videos you'll see this year.Director Hype Williams presented the concept to Ye, and they decided to use rotoscoping technology (as in films like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly) to create a look that's not unfamiliar. Click to view You might know Bakshi's animation style from his animated The Lord of the Rings or his 1992 disaster, Cool World. His animation style combines traditional cell animation with real backgrounds and objects. Hype Williams had screened Bakshi's classic 1981 animated joint, American Pop, before they decided to go forward with the project. The film concerns itself with four generations of Russian Jewish immigrants, making it all the more unusual to work as inspiration for a Ye video.
Presumably Hype didn't also show Kanye any of Bakshi's 1975 film Coonskin. The highly controversial animated film is about a black rabbit, a black fox, and a black bear who...climb the organized crime ladder in Harlem. The exaggerated African-American caricatures were strongly criticized, and stalled the film's release. Suffice to say you won't be catching this one on local cable anytime soon. In fact, just watching the trailer gives me heart palpitations: