Jay-Z Kanye West Jay-Z is an American rapper, record producer and entrepreneur. He is extremely successful financially and has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide. Ranked as one of the greatest rappers of all time he has received 13 Grammy awards for his musical work. Kanye West is an American rapper, singer and record producer. With a total of 14 Grammy awards his musical efforts have made him very successful, selling over 25million digital songs in the United States placing him second for solo male artists on the list and sixth overall for best selling digital artist. OTIS is one of the songs from their collaboration album ‘Watch the Throne’ and peaked at number 2 on the US R&B/Hip Hop songs (billboard). The music video consists of Jay-Z and Kanye West stripping down an expensive car (Maybach) and customizing it purely for the purpose of having fun. From the content of the video Kanye West and Jay-Z’s target audience are assumed as having a strong interest in materialistic things and beautiful women, for example in the music video there’s 4 women in the back of their car, in addition the lyrics refer to expensive jewellery and how they own more then one Rolex watch: “New watch alert, Hublot's. Or the big face Rollie I got two of those” A connection can be made in relation to the materialistic content of the video and the success of the artist. From the content of this music video we can tell that the artists are very successful. i.e. the fact that they strip down an expensive car for the enjoyment of it. The idea of success and wealth is very typical of the hip hop genre.
Genre Characteristics Goodwin's theory states that each genre consists of characteristics that help make it a genre. The main characteristic for OTIS is the performance element. The combination of long shots and medium long shots introduces the two artists as a collaboration act. When Jay-Z is rapping he is the main focus of the picture however, Kanye West is still in the background, this is done so that the audience know who is performing but at the same time not neglecting/ruling out the other rapper form the song. Another characteristic of this genre is the women and props such as the many watches each performer is wearing on their wrists and of course the Maybach car which signifies wealth and sophistication but when they customize it to make fire come out the exhaust and other features it then signifies youth and the idea of having fun but also with a sophistication element in the background. This makes the video look extremely fun and enjoyable which makes it pleasurable for the audience.
Relationship between lyrics and visuals The relationship between the lyrics and visuals is according to Goodwin’s theory amplifying, where there are occasionally some similarities to the visuals, often the lyrics do not relate to the picture being shown but, they both use actions which exaggerate the lyrics for example on Kanye West’s verse “I made ‘Jesus Walks’ I'm never going to hell” he amplifies the action of praying. Throughout most of the video Kanye West and Jay-Z are performing, however there are some illustrative references to the lyrics. For example “New watch alert, Hublot's. Or the big face Rollie I got two of those” when this line is performed a medium long shot of Kanye West’s watch on his wrist is shown.
Relationship between music and visuals The first shot is a medium long shot which has both Jay-Z and Kanye West in it. Jay-Z is the main subject in the shot (below) this is to introduce his role first. However his role is not more or less important then Kanye West, when West performs his verse, he is in the foreground (main subject) and Jay-Z is in the background, however sometimes they perform together at the same distance from the camera – this introduces them together as collaboration artists. Throughout the video both Kanye West and Jay-Z are always shown in the same shot using a medium long shot this allows us to see the body language and gestures used in this performance video which is generally quite typical of hip hop videos i.e. using medium long shots/ long shots to show the dancing or performance in a hip hop music video.
Demands of the record label Goodwin’s theory states that in order to meet the demands of the record label close up shots need to be used to introduce the different members of the band for example when the medium close up of Jay-Z is shown. This Introduces him and his role to the song, Kanye West is in the background which lets the audience know that he has some sort of significance to the song. Another demand of the record label is that the artists must have their own unique selling point, when looking at Jay-Z and Kanye West their unique selling point is there ability to perform in front of the camera but also when they perform an energetic atmosphere is created which makes the environment quite fun and appealing to a younger generation.
Voyeuristic treatment of the female body There are some references to the voyeuristic treatment of the female body in this video. For example when they are in the car driving we are shown a medium shot of all the girls in the back seat and the idea of them enjoying themselves is portrayed through their actions. This all helps to sell the artist as being a fun, sophisticated collaboration act that appeals to mostly the younger generation of audiences.
Intertextual References There is no Intertextual references made in the film, this could be because the video is performance based and the music video wants to focus on the talent of the artists and their ability to perform to the viewers.