Kanye West bemoaned the early release of his new video for "Paranoid" and implored fans to wait for the final cut before passing judgment. And finally — for now, at least — we have the finished version of West's 808s & Heartbreak clip, which stars Rihanna. In addition to The Spirit-esque new title sequence and the quick shots of wolves, the first notable difference between the fresh version and the leaked ones is that Kanye has brushed up the song itself, giving "Paranoid" more menacing synths and weighty percussion.
The special effects have also seen improvement: Before, when the bed sheet was ripped off of the sleeping Rihanna, it looked like a low-budget film school trick. Now, the video superimposes shadowy hands over Rihanna's bed, which gives the scene a more ominous feeling. It's slightly annoying when the new text comes emerging out of nowhere, spraying the words "Baby No" all over the screen as if the viewer couldn't figure that's what Kanye was saying to begin with. Still, to quote West, the video is "awes-mazing," a combination of "awesome" and "amazing" that Kanye uses to describe his rap skills in a recent interview with MTV.
"I kill that rap shit, that's what I do," West said, adding that he's working on his next album, which will once again focus on rap. "Lyrics right now, they're awes-mazing. They're basically untouchable. I'm about to take it to a whole 'nother level. I'd be scared if I was not me." West went on to compare himself to Michael "Air" Jordan and Michael Jackson, saying, "As far as rapping goes, how can I say this? Jordan, Michael Jackson — it's what I do. It's time for me to bust another rap album." It's like that South Park episode never happened . . .
Also on the Kanye blog, West finally unveiled the video for The College Dropout track "Spaceship." According to West, he directed the video four years ago but was never happy with the outcome. "But now, looking back, I like it," West said of the song's video, which also features rappers GLC and Consequence. "Spaceship" is one of the stranger Kanye videos we've seen, as Kanye and his fellow rappers seem to work dead-end jobs at an anti-gravity shopping mall until West decides he has had enough, dresses up as an astronaut and boards the rocket ship conveniently parked next door to the mall.
• Kanye West's "Paranoid" Video Director Talks Casting Rihanna
• New Videos for The-Dream's "Walkin' on the Moon," Kanye's "Paranoid" Debut
• Kanye West Compares Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne to Legends
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies