Watch Jay Z’s “Performance Art Film” for ‘Picasso Baby’
Jay Z took over HBO last night with the premier of the music video for ‘Picasso Baby,’ a video which will certainly have people talking all weekend long.The actual shoot for this video, which took place July 10, was a spectacle in its own right, with plenty of awkward Vine videos creating a viral hype around the day’s events. The ten-minute long final product (which is actually eight minutes of footage with two minutes of straight credits rolling down) feels like an amalgamation of the day’s Vines presented in the form of a recap.
Sure, gone are the “Three Kings of Picasso” and that moment where the little boy tries to give Jay a pound and receives a handshake instead. These moments are replaced by cameos from Taraji Henson and a woman wearing pink glasses who manages to shock Jay into forgetting the ending of his first verse on the song. These replacement scenes are actually pretty cool and give off a more authentic vibe to the video.
It’s also worth noting that Jay manages to secure a cameo from Fab 5 Freddy, one of hip-hop culture’s pioneers, a powerful moment that accentuates the somewhat vintage sounding beat (which samples Adrian Younge’s ‘Sirens’) heard on ‘Picasso Baby.’
However, most of the awkwardness remains. Elderly men sit on a bench as Jay serenades them with bars. Jay does some sort of weird jig with another “performer” halfway through. And looming large in this “performance art film” is Marina Abramovic, whose creepy stone face remains a focal point. And yes, that scene where her and Hov damn near press their foreheads against each other managed to make the cut.
All in all, this was certainly an experimental video for Jay, and the unconventional roll out helped keep eyes on ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ as it continues to move units in its fourth week of sales. But one can’t help wondering how much more engaging this type of video could have been had someone else been the centerpiece. Someone like an Action Bronson, Danny Brown, or even Kanye West, all known for their spontaneity and creativity on stage, all more capable of challenging the social construct of a rap video filmed within Pace Gallery.