At 8 p.m. ET the Kanye West-directed 35-minute music video, starring Selita Ebanks and narrated by Nicki Minaj, will debut concurrently on MTV, MTV2, BET, MTV.com, BET.com and VH1.com. (The video above showcases the opening scene.) Leading up the premiere, West again came through on his promise of a new song every Friday, though in recent weeks, he’s come to count Saturday morning, too. This time around — the 11th official leak post-“Power” and “See Me Now,” for those counting — West is content in the backseat, letting GOOD Music cohorts Mos Def, Lupe Fiasco and Big Sean take turns behind the wheel.
The track is propelled by a steady snare and piano march and features extended verses from Fiasco, sticking to the West-inspired fallen Phoenix scrip to which the “Runaway” film also adheres, as well as Big Sean, who attempts to channel Drake in a paradoxically detached take on vulnerable. As for Kanye, he’s relegated himself to a sing-song, distorted interlude.
Over the weeks, West’s role in his own leaks has generally shrunk and GOOD Friday has become a vehicle by which to propel the artists for which he’s taking responsibility, be it the opportunity-seizing Pusha T or the obviously still growing Big Sean. And as his verses have faded from the spotlight, so has West’s public cheerleading, his tweets — the artist’s chosen pulpit lately — less frequent and specific.
But with the public unveiling of “Runaway” tonight and the release of My Dark Twisted Fantasy less than a month away — not to mention unofficial leaks sprouting up with increasing frequency, if you know where to look — it’s forgivable that West has bigger things on his mind.