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Kanye West unveils artwork for 'Power'

July 1, 2010 |  1:26 pm

Kanye-West-Power_320No matter what you think of Kanye West, at least the Chicago-raised  rap provocateur keeps things interesting. In late May, he unveiled "Power," the King Crimson-sampling lead single from his forthcoming "Good Ass Job." Like West himself, the tune was alternately petulant and triumphant, and drew mostly positive responses, with The Times' Ann Powers calling it a "strong shot across the barricades." 

Today, he released the George Condo-painted artwork for the single, featuring an Excalibur-like sword stuck through Kanye's decapitated crown-wearing head, superimposed on a tableau of cumulus clouds and blue sky. Early reports about the album described it as being heavily infused with '90s boom-bap sounds, with beats from RZA, DJ Premier and Madlib. However, judging from "Power's" sound and artwork, it would seem that West is on track to make the first hip-hop Yes record.  

Seeing that this is Kanye and that no action can exist without overreaching analysis, feel free to chime in with your interpretation of what the image symbolizes. The obvious metaphor is that the world's reaction to his embarrassing behavior is the sword, Kanye is the king whose head is on the stake, and Taylor Swift is uh, the fluffy clouds and the pristine sky. But that's too easy.

It's much more fun to see this as an homage to "Weekend at Bernie's." Or perhaps a tribute to T.H. White's Arthurian legends. Or perhaps Kanye has a deal with Fred Segal, where the boutique will begin selling Kanye crowns for $700 apiece, to coincide with the record's rumored Sept. 14 release date and back-to-school shopping. Or maybe he's just seen "Braveheart" a few dozen too many times.

-- Jeff Weiss

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