Kanye West, Rihanna: Paranoid

I hate to say it, but the best part of this video is that my beloved divo Kanye is barely in any of it, giving up all the screen time to enigmatic pop/R&B dance star Rihanna. In the video, I find her beautiful, unsettling and haunted … and pant-less for a small part of it. But you can barely see her skivvies as all camera work is focused on her face.

Doing her best rendition of an ex-Prince muse on an 80s influenced dance track that sounds like something Pharell shitted out two years ago, she doesn’t dance much, she doesn’t sing in the clip, but for some reason (that I can’t quite finger) I can’t take my eyes off her. Maybe because of all the drama surrounding her tumultuous relationship with Chris Brown and the “big sister” urge in me to want to protect her. Or maybe it’s because I never really noticed before how she is a really striking young woman.

More after the jump.

I like the song … a lot. But part of me would have enjoyed it more if someone else had sung it (no offense Ye). Even Pharell’s disaffected, ironic hipster moan would have been preferred, but a revved up and invigorated, cheeky male or female R&B singer would have been better. I’d suggest Prince, but in my mind Prince can turn anything from pedestrian to fucking mind-blowing. And believe me, Prince + Rihanna + 80s dance beat = CRAZY FANTASTIC. My head would have exploded for the high degree of awesome and sexy all over the place. Especially since there would have been a 50 percent chance they BOTH would have been pants-less in it and they would have been more guitar and dancing.

That and Prince and Rihanna have like the same damn haircut and Prince likes little women who look like him.

Aside from his royal badness, this also would have made an awesome comeback song for Michael Jackson. No one does paranoia and sexual confusion like the gloved one. But with the heavy hitters out of the way, even Usher Raymond might have been kind of interesting on this or Aaliyah, if she hadn’t died, or a reimmerging Ginuwine, or any of the Usher Raymond knock-offs, like Ne-Yo or Trey Songz or Mario.

Of course, the other ultimate who is not Prince or Michael Jackson would be Andre 3000, as he would have talk-sang his way through this in the freakiest way possible with Rosario Dawson arguing with him in the middle of the track. But all of this is wishful thinking because I wish Mr. “I’d never want a book’s autograph would go write and produce some material for other artists. Because Ye, I love you, but you can’t sing and I’m sick of Autotune. I mean, I get it. 808s & Heartbreaks is an anti-rock album. I TOTALLY get that. It’s not meant to be easy on the ears the first or first 15 listens. But some of the tracks would be so much more (like “Paranoid”) if someone, anyone else sang the hook. Keri Hilson, maybe. Shit, Keyisha Cole would have been nice. I’m not picky. I just like my singers singing and my rappers rapping. The only person I give a pass to is Pharell and that’s only because the first N.E.R.D. album was the most amazing thing I’d heard since “Sigh O’ the Times.”

“Paranoid” is no “Provider,” but it’s still a pretty interesting song with some danceable beats. Next time call Carl Thomas. I heard that brother ain’t doin’ jack.

24 thoughts on “Kanye West, Rihanna: Paranoid

  1. The first memory that came to me actually was, oddly, Billy Idol’s music video for "Rock The Cradle Of Love" or whatever that track was called. All that’s missing is a little more Kanye. As for the "Paranoid"… it’s growing on me. The video certainly helps… as you said about Rihanna… yeah, striking indeed… enough for an almost 4-minute video.I heard that this is apparently not the final version of the video, but rather a leaked version, and Kanye is up-in-arms about it.Regardless, I give the man credit for his attempts at "freshness" relative to other hip-hop-centered music videos. This, and the vid for "Flashing Lights" are certainly noteworthy enough. After all, both have been discussed, and dissected quite a bit.

  2. There are exceptions to every rule. Prince was rather fond of "Cat," a tall, strikingly beautiful dark-skinned woman who toured with him years back. I don’t want to brag, but I have a beautful neice who resembles Rihanna.

  3. Crappy song, and I couldn’t even watch the whole video, Rihanna can’t hold my attention when she is on stage why would i watch a 5 minute video with just her in it.

  4. I can’t get past the auto nausea.Rihanna is a beautiful little girl. Like Aliyah and Alicia I just can’t imagine her as a grown woman

  5. Rihanna has always been striking. She just needs to get her life together and stop dating jerks. Chris Brown was never on her level. Rihanna seems grown beyond her years to me, I always thought that she was too mature for Chris.

  6. Cat Glover. I remember her, wasn’t dark-skinned though. She rapped too. But Black Snob is a Prince person, huh? Lol. That would explain your cheap shots at Michael on this blog.

  7. I remember the first time I listened through Kanye’s album, and Paranoid was like the one song that didn’t utterly disgust me. That being said, this video bores me.

  8. In what universe is Cat a dark skinned black woman? I checked out the video and she’s the exact same shade as Prince. I mean, how does she compare to Naomi Campbell or Viola Davis for god’s sake?

  9. I look at this and think, "Where the hell is Terence Trent D’Arby?"Stay with me folks….Vibrator: Batteries Included LP, "TTD’s Recurring Dream" circa 1995. Give it a listen, I dare you. The song epitomizes paranoia without being titled as such and this vid (well parts of it, including Rihanna’s hollow mug) could represent the song.Oh and guess what? NO AUTOTUNE!*hangs head*I wish some of these artists would collaborate with TTD. (provided he let them) Dude’s talent is crazy.

  10. Somebody might get on here saying how race doesn’t matter, skin color doesn’t matter, we shouldn’t be having this conversation in 2009, blah blah blah, but…I’m going to have to agree with Whoah. Cat’s not dark-skinned. And yes, I did watch the video.

  11. This wasn’t about skin color per se. I was only making a point, which is getting way off the track. Now I’m getting construed as a color conscious person and I’m far from it. It was merely to show that Prince isn’t only attracted to light-skinned women. For anyone to make any other inference is just plain unethical. Personally, I don’t know how anyone can view the second video and conclude she’s not dark skinned. I love very dark-skinned women (darker than Cat) as well as white women. Hee, hee.

  12. Hey Snob – maybe the reason you could not take your eyes off Rihanna in this video is ‘cos she is the only person in it! LOL! Apart from a few glimpses of Kanye emoting like mad. Anyhow, Rihanna is very pretty..and striking. She is also uber cool and I feel completely old and out of touch..LOL!Boring video and song though. Maybe it is the uncool me talking but I would never pay money for that.

  13. dukedrave please, we all know that Prince loves the ethnic ambigious woman, the fact that you had to point out one woman who you think is dark skin proves that LOL.

  14. "I just want the truth, sir!" "You want the truth! You can’t handle the truth!"Hee, hee.

  15. The part about Prince and Rihanna sharing a haircut is so true. And:"That and Prince and Rihanna have like the same damn haircut and Prince likes little women who look like him." Also so true. Hilarious!

  16. Here’s to beating a dead horse. In my opinion, Tamrod Hall is dark skinned, and gorgeous, even-toned and flawless. I see now this skin tone thing is all relative, as with beauty. It’s in the eye of the beholder. We’ll leave it at that and agree to disagree.

  17. Oh, thanks, Danielle, for correcting me. That was really a typo. I did mean to type "Tamron." My new glasses ain’t helping me. Hee, hee.

  18. @Sierra, cosign. By that standard even my somewhat light-skinned mother is tar baby.

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