This is a beautifully stylized and skillfully shot performance meant to grandly introduce the world to the biggest album of the year, Kanye West's Graduation. Like the music and lyrics on this first single, Hype Williams video for "Can't Tell Me Nothing" recycles old ideas behind the guise of modern technique. It almost certainly carries astronomical production costs, but as the Louis Vuitton Don tells us - "it's so hard not to act reckless."
The opening sequence, with Kanye pacing around the camera like a prizefighter, sets the star up as a resilient and unrelenting force - alone in the desert of his own determination. He's a man still caught between God and the allure of Earthly pleasure, which Williams represents with scantily-clad women barely obscured by flowing veils - a simultaneously religious and sexual image.
In many ways this is a glorified ode to beautiful girls and fancy cars with Kanye simply treading water in his tired themes of personal and universal hypocrisy. Yet he is searching for something more to say, and even when he skips like a broken record one can't help but be enthralled by the possibility that one day he will actually graduate to fresh ideas. Though I imagine this song or video will do little to increase enrollment in the Kanye-believers camp, it hasn't dropped anyone out either.