Kanye West will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2015 VMAs this Sunday (August 30), and we are absolutely here for it.
A prize honoring artists who have changed the visual presentation of music, past recipients of this special Moonman include Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and, of course, The King of Pop. Even though Kanye famously thinks pretty highly of himself, he is reportedly very touched and humbled by the award, and is planning an emotional acceptance speech.
It’s safe to say that ’Ye is more than worthy of this honor. He’s a true visionary and never settles for less than groundbreaking brilliance when creating his art. His music videos aren’t merely visuals that go along with songs, but mesmerizing illustrations of his inner thoughts. When watching a Kanye West video, you get a glimpse of how a mastermind works. Who wouldn’t want to go on that incredible trip?
Today we pay tribute to the master with a look at some his most iconic music videos.
“Jesus Walks” (Version 1) (2004)
Never one to shy away from the unusual, Kanye illustrates the everyday struggles of ordinary people in this barrier-breaking religious video. With angels ranging from children to crippled adults, Ye depicted those “forgotten” or “unseen” individuals overcoming adversity through the power of their faith.
“Jesus Walks” (Version 2) (2004)
Different video, same song—but this version boasts more specials effects and extra actors. Despite the additions, the simple yet powerful message was still heard. Showing the uplifting power of faith during tough times, the video makes you feel fearless.
“Heard ’Em Say” (2005)
Though this video consists of actual illustrations, it’s still very intense. Showing a parent’s controversial decision which unexpectedly harmed her young child, the video makes you seriously stop and think about the choices you make in your everyday life.
“Diamonds From Sierra Leone” (2005)
Once again speaking up for the unheard, Yeezus illuminated the suffering children forced to work the diamond mines in Sierra Leone. As if the point wasn’t clear enough, he then featured wealthy individuals rocking the blood diamonds as blood poured out. Buyer beware, indeed.
Taken from the 35-minute epic music vid/short film he directed, the “Runaway” sequence is arguably the best segment. The ballet dancing brought a new form of art to Yeezus’s work.
“Love Lockdown” (2008)
The dancers popped from the screen while the pop sounding production of track was given a new life with an ancestral feel.
“BLKKK SKKKN HEAD” (2013)
The dark, animated video works perfectly with the track. It creativity pulls you into a demonic trance.
“Bound 2” (2013)
No one can forget this vid that featured his then-girlfriend Kim Kardashian in the nude. It’s not news that he sees his rib as a piece of art, so why not display her beauty to the world?
“Power” is another mega-watt fan favorite. The special effects make you feel as if you’re in another world. The incredible, non-cliche angels surrounding him let you know that Yeezus has truly risen.
“Through The Wire” (2004)
This video proved Kanye was here to stay. How many rappers pull off a dope video while their fractured jaw is still wired shut? This showed Kanye at his finest—pushing through adversity and overcoming his difficulties like a pro.