Kanye West's gory 'Monster' video leaks, full of half-naked corpses: Amazing or appalling?

kanye-vid1The version of Kanye West‘s “Monster” video that you may have seen today is an unfinished, unsanctioned leak. The video quality is fuzzy, some of the images appear to be watermarked placeholders, and the clip is currently available only as a YouTube stream that will no doubt soon be yanked by West’s label. Even as a rough cut, though, the “Monster” clip already has the entire Internet talking and debating. After all, “Monster” is an all-star selection from the year’s best album, and fans have been eagerly awaiting the video treatment for this incredible song since August.

Does the leaked video live up to the hype? That depends on your tolerance for arty shots of dead women in various states of undress. The clip as it stands now is full of half-naked female corpses — hanging from the ceiling by their necks as Rick Ross reclines, slumping over in bed next to West, sprawled face-down on a couch behind an uncomfortable-looking Jay-Z. At one point, West stands casually holding a woman’s blood-dripping severed head in one hand.

These are intentionally ghastly images, meant to disturb. In addition to being a fantastic posse cut, “Monster” is all about ugliness. West’s chorus proclaims that “Everybody knows I’m a motherf—ing monster.” Now you can see that metaphor played out quite literally. But to what end? Images of models who look like they’ve been murdered are nothing new in the fashion world. America’s Next Top Model centered a whole episode around this morbid theme in 2007, drawing deserved criticism from feminist commentators. Jezebel.com elaborated on “The Problem With Fashion’s Obsession With Death” (link contains NSFW images) over a year ago. Glamorizing violence against women this way as we enter 2011 isn’t just potentially pretty offensive to a lot of people — it’s played out and boring. I expect better from an artist as boundlessly creative as Kanye West.

It’s no coincidence that the leaked “Monster” video’s best sequence, wherein Nicki Minaj diabolically interrogates herself, doesn’t rely on the stale dead-model motif. I only wish the rest of the video were more like Minaj’s part — unsettling and edgy, dangerous and sexy, but also original. In fairness, the video does include several other non-corpse-strewn scenes, and again, this is only an unfinished leak, so it’s possible that West’s final version will be substantially different from what’s out there now.

In the meantime, have you seen the leaked “Monster” video? What do you think of its controversial imagery?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com:
Kanye West’s “Christmas in Harlem” leaks
Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: Read EW’s review

Comments (43 total) Add your comment
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  • Jay

    First “Kanye is a Douchebag” post!

    • Me Too

      LOL… Me too!!! Kanye is a douche
      Why do I have to keep seeing his face on these pages?

      • True Blue

        Because you click on stories about him, so obviously you must care about him.

    • stan

      Ha! Tye-Grr is trying hard to take Kanye’s title of “Biggest Douche in the Universe.” Keep working at it, Tye-Grr… You’ll make it if you believe in yourself. Maybe Kanye will write a song about how you two douche it up together at Camp Douche.

    • stan

      P.S.- Kanye is a douche.

  • Chip

    Yooo Simon the pic you posted ruins the best shot of the vid

  • Dean

    A big meh to this video. Not the least bit shocking to me. Kinda boring, actually.

  • Miss Talk

    I guess “Monster” brings the “Twisted” in ‘My Beatiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. Nicki Minaj stands out, like she always does but only when she’s a featured artist. Not my favorite track, I can’t wait for “All of the lights” video, I hope it will be epic!
    Sidenote: I thought Kanye was the guardian of our pop culture, the defender of artistry in music. Then what the h%ll is he doing with Kim Kardashian? Who are you fooling Kanye, you sellout!

    • who cares

      what the f*** does kanye banging a hot chick have to do with his ‘artistry in music’? or are you just another racist?

      • Miss Talk

        Huh, I was referring to the fact that he’s working on her ‘upcoming album’. Google is your friend too.

      • John Doe

        Want to comment on how all the women are WHITE? Who’s the racist here?

  • outside agitator

    looked up the lyric and it’s absolutely nothing but artless degrading garbage. it’s a shame that movie critics aren’t impressed by Saw 3D and yet music critics consider what KW does as good “music”. avoid like an ebola monkey.

  • Kim

    I love this song! Hope they include Bon Iver in video.

  • whatevs

    Dude is sick, that’s for sure. Shocking? No.

  • ashley

    can’t wait for the vid! i’m crazy about the song, and the more gore in the video the better, at least for me.

  • Menchy

    I actually really liked it. Kanye’s oomeback has been the best thing to happen to the music (video) industry in a while.

    • Menchy

      Sorry, that’s “comeback” not “oomeback”

      • CB

        Considering that the album is his worst seller, it’s not much of a comeback.

      • GoldAndAPager

        No it’s not.

  • Will

    To answer: Amazing. The whole point of the video is to appall

  • Phil

    It looks like Megan Fox’s severed head that Kanye is holding (or is it just me?)…Anyways, I think Kanye kinda screwed this up in so far as the video is a little too late UNLESS he is going to remix the song & put it on the much hyped “Watch The Throne” EP (if it ever does come out) since the song just re-entered today’s Billboard Hot 100 at #100. I mean, it originally was never intended to be an actual radio single anyways, right and Def jam is going for “All of The Lights” in the coming weeks, so…yeah I mean I think the vidual is hot, but would have served better to have released this back around Halloween leading up to “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” instead of that 30 minute mini-movie for “Runaway” which could have been released now…I think he prioritized the wrong promotional material and should have focused on promoting “Monster” first instead of “Runaway” and now niether of em have become massive hits.

    • Jelly

      I thought it looked like Megan Fox too.

      • CB

        Of course.

        West is clearly obsessed with pretty white girls: Megan Fox, Taylor Swift.

        He wants to humiliate them because he wants be a pretty white girl, too.

      • stan

        Kinda like MJ? He was actually pretty close to becoming a white girl (sans the “pretty”).

  • Maureen

    He has officially lost his mind.

  • Yolanda H

    Can we finally give the “Kanye is a douche” chant a rest? Can we focus on his music already? Are we still doing this? The guy had a few a**hole moments. Has anyone here ever had any? No? The difference is no one knows who you are. If you can honestly say that you have a gripe with this guy -(who you dont know) for something he did to someone else (that you dont know) over a year ago, and you cant comment about what he acutally does for a living because you’re still so upset, then you need help. For you, it’s bigger than Kanye. It’s something about him that you just dont like, and instead of just saying that, you’ll use the TS incident -(or whatever other incident you choose to use) as a means to justify your intense dislike of him. I’m not here to call you out-(if you’re one of those people) I’m just saying get help before it’s too late. You will find as you continue to live, that you will inevitably upset, hurt, disappoint, harass, and cause people to really not like you. The point is that you learn from it, and hope you dont run across people who judge as harshly as you do.
    God Bless:)

    • greg

      Thanks, Yolanda (aka Dr. Phil), but we won’t stop calling Kanye a douche until he stops acting like one. If you continue to spout that insecure, after-school-special psychobabble, you will inevitably upset, hurt, disappoint, harass, and cause people to really not like you. Cheers, a-hole!

      • DamiĆ©n

        Grow the hell up. Are you really arguing with someone online? Although you shield yourself from the truth living in your imaginary land where North Korea is happy and Oprah doesn’t have your significant other by the uterus that doesn’t mean go around expressing your dissent on people who have something real to say. You really should get off the computer trolling everyone and experience life. Or a vagina.

    • Sarah S.

      Nobody likes a wannabe shrink. It’s funny how you say that some commentors don’t know Kanye and, therefore, any negative comments about such a public figure offer a glimpse into a dysfunctional psyche. You, however, are doing the exact same thing that you are preaching about. You don’t know us, and you come across as being a judgemental douche who failed their introductory psychology class at the local community college. Step down off of your soapbox and go back to school before you offer any more unwelcome internet therapy sessions.

    • LOL yolanda

      if he’s not a change man, we won’t stop calling him a douche! because he is!!!!!!!

  • Peter

    Omg like seriously who cares if he is a douche or whatever leave the man alone

    • Peter’s Concience

      I’m actually a douche in hiding.

  • uralowlife

    this is the power of kanye 90% of u say u dont like him but u follow everything he does. I dont’t belive u you lov ehis music but u hate the fact that he make sso much money n is so comfortable being black n rich. Eminem was the biggest douch bag ever in rap but no one ever calle dhim that he harrassed Nsync Britney Spears Backstreet boys Elton John and u all turn your heads its not a a surprise to know all of this boils down to his color becaus e Marshal was way worse dope addict n a woman abuser soooooo

    • Isatta

      SPOT ON URALOWLIFE! Couldnt have said it better myself!!!

    • John Doe


    • Darnesha

      Your answer lifts the intelglinece of the debate.

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