808s and heartbreak

Watch a clip from Kanye West’s shelved “Robocop,” the best Hype Williams music video you’ll never see

Sixteen seconds of an abandoned 808s & Heartbreak video gets me wondering why it was abandoned.

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- Aug 8, 2014
Kanye West - RoboCop Starring Amber Rose [Official Music Video] Snippet 2014

In the '90s the videos of Hype Williams helped give black music an auteur for the MTV era. But the director's hunger seems to have cooled recently, and now he mostly sticks to concepts that could be thought up on the drive to set. But on Wednesday, CG modeller Shihan Barbee posted a short clip to his Instagram from "Robocop," the shelved Hype-directed video from Kanye West's genre-redefining 808s & Heartbreak, and it's easily the coolest looking thing Williams has (not) put out in years.

West is placed in a twitchy stop-motion world with a naked Barbie doll wearing his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose's face. Kanye looks confused, but he's wearing a tux, so automatically he's handling things more OK than not. (The footage notably predates Tyler, The Creator's puppet suburban angst visuals by about five years).

Rose and West had a very messy falling out, so it's not difficult to see why this never ended up getting released, even though they filmed a behind-the-scenes interview and everything. Or perhaps there's something even more embarrassing than publicly airing out a dying relationship's dirty laundry? What else could the rest of the video's ~4:18 contain that Ye would want to hide? Some theories:

1. Kanye wears cargo jorts!

On Yeezus's "I Am A God" Kanye lamented some of his past fashion decisions, like "pink-ass polos and a fuckin' backpack." What if the worst ones of all are in this video? Like a backpack bigger than his body, and a pink polo bright enough to turn you salmon-coloured just from looking at it.

2. It's another one of Kanye's failed comedy pilots!

Kanye once shot a Curb Your Enthusiasm style show for HBO, who passed. Does Kanye try his hand at comedy again in this video? Is it really bad? Or was it so good that Kanye didn't want it to distract from his rap career?

3. The video predicts every major global catastrophe that's taken place since it was filmed (this is actually why).

At the last minute Kanye decided against revealing the full and terrible extent of his powers. In Amber Rose's twitching plastic breasts, the location of the Malaysian plane is waiting to be deciphered.

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