Mr. West traveled west for the first full screening of his short film Runaway in the U.S. on Monday night (Oct. 18). Ryan Phillippe, Ashlee Simpson, Pete Wentz, Tracee Ellis Ross, Big Sean, and Teyana Taylor were among those who packed Harmony Gold Theater in Los Angeles as the rapper presented his self-directed feature following premieres in Paris, London, Tokyo, and Sydney. While we won’t spoil the film, which premieres this Saturday, read below for Rap-Up.com’s recap of the evening.
After a few hundred guests were seated in the auditorium around 8 p.m., a well-dressed Kanye, wearing a black blazer, dark denim, and loafers with no socks, introduced his work of art with a brief speech. He explained that this was something he had been wanting to do since 2005’s Late Registration, taking several songs from his album and making one cohesive video. Inspired by directors Jim Henson and George Lucas, he approached the creative process by asking himself, “If I was five, what would I like?”
The 35-minute visuals, shot in Prague, star supermodel Selita Ebanks as a phoenix who comes down from the sky after a cosmic explosion. Kanye takes her under his wing and soon a relationship blossoms. Several songs from his fifth album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, including “POWER,” “Devil in a New Dress,” “Runaway,” “All of the Lights,” and “Lost in the World,” provide the soundtrack.
Following the screening, Kanye addressed the audience. He mentioned that he had been in the studio with Rihanna the night before, but didn’t specify what they were working on. “We’re like blue blood and our ideas turn red when they hit the air,” he said of RiRi.
He shared how he stepped away from music for six months, moving to Rome and taking up an internship at Fendi. He also witnessed fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld at work and noticed the parallels between their jobs. “When I saw the way he worked, it made me feel how he felt in his space, the way I feel in my space,” said ‘Ye. “I realized any creative can compare himself to any other creative.”
His third single “All of the Lights” features an all-star roster of talent including Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Fergie, John Legend, The-Dream, Tony Williams, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson, Ryan Leslie, and La Roux’s Elly Jackson. He described it as “completely seamless and completely ghetto as f**k.”
He detailed a conversation he had with fellow envelope pusher M.I.A. “Smart people almost have to be on drugs to work in a regular job,” she told him. Guess we know how she came up with these outfits.
Fans will be happy to know that after Fantasy is released on November 22, his joint album with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, will come next, followed by an album from CRS, his group with Pharrell and Lupe Fiasco. He explained the abundance of music is necessary “to maintain in this culture the way it’s set up for creative people.”
Kanye was able to let go of his fears by making Runaway. “I’m so not fu**ing scared. I don’t care. I don’t care whatsoever,” he told the audience. “What I see as the truth, that’s what I’ll deliver.”
Growing up, he had six prominent women in his life, but today he has none. “I have absolutely no women—and I lived with a woman my entire life,” he revealed, referring to the loss of his mother.
His mission is to deliver change through popular culture, calling himself a “soldier for culture.” “If I have this position that can change the culture—make people wear skinny jeans—what do I do with that?” he joked. “So many people will never get the chance for their voice to be that loud and I have to do it for them.”
While Kanye once contemplated suicide, he realized what his purpose in life truly was. “What can I do with this in 80, 90, 100 years?” he asked himself. “I have to fight for those that don’t have.”