Kanye West-Heard Em Say Video series
June 17, 2010 Leave a comment
Two separate music videos were produced for “Heard ‘Em Say,” one live-action while the other was animated. Filmed inMacy’s flagship department store on 34th Street in New York, the original music video for “Heard ‘Em Say” was directed by Michel Gondry.Having been set to be released near the end of the year, the music video expressed a Christmasmotif. It features Adam Levine as Macy’s security guard and Kanye West as a homeless guardian of three young children who stay inside the store overnight. Jon Brion, co-producer of the song, also made a brief appearance within the video, playing miniature pianos in the store’s toy section. Using his signature special effects, Gondry created a surrealistic Christmas story within the seemingly living department store, where among other things, toys come to life, suits dance, and beds can be driven like cars. Shortly before the original video was to be premiered in mid-December, MTV pulled it from the schedule.
A second music video for “Heard ‘Em Say” premiered on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2005 and in the United States on November 21. The animated video was co-directed by Bill Plympton and Kanye himself and expresses grayscale pencil-sketch animation. West had watched and loved Plympton’s work since his youth, saying that his images were important to him a child. The two later collaborated to create Through the Wire: Lyrics and Illuminations, a graphic book filled with illustrations based on West’s song lyrics. To visually reproduce the tone of “Heard ‘Em Say,” Plympton depicted West as a cab driver working in a bleak, fictional city who picks up troubled passengers and eventually comes across a young boy and his mother. The animated segments are intercut with live-action scenes of West and Levine performing the song. According the Plympton, “The child is meant to represent Kanye as a young boy and the film is about his experiences.”