The new video for Kanye West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” the first single from his upcoming album Graduation, has been spreading across the Internet like wildfire since being posted on West’s website recently. The video stars indie rock icon Will Oldham and comedian Zach Galifianakis as two hillbilly types, lip-synching West’s lyrics while frolicking on a farm in silk pajamas and midriff-baring outfits; gyrating against a tractor; referencing cows as “hos”; and wielding chainsaws, to mention just some of the antics. Unlike a previous video for the song, West does not appear at all in this latest version.
West approached Galifianakis about doing the video after one of the comedian’s sets at an L.A. club a few months ago. West had seen other videos Galifianakis had done—one for musician Fiona Apple, and another featuring Galifianakis lip-synching to an Anita Baker song—and was impressed. Galifianakis agreed to make the video on the condition that he could shoot it at his farm in North Carolina. Oldham’s involvement was a coincidence—he just happened to be visiting Galifianakis when the opportunity arose.
This may be the best pop video ever made, said Phoebe Greenwood on the Times Online. It’s a “spot-on spoof of hip hop videos” that “almost makes up for the crap weather we’re having.” And for those pondering the death of “bling culture,” this video “must surely be the nail in its hubristic coffin.”
Although Galifianakis’s deadpan demeanor works perfectly for West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” video, it’s really Will Oldham who steals the show, says Simon Vozick-Levinson on Entertainment Weekly’s Popwatch blog. Oldham is “an inherently creepy-looking guy” whose “Elaine Benes–style dancing has a weirdly hypnotic power.”
Kanye West is full of surprises, said Caryn Ganz on Rollingstone.com. Just recently, a clip of his new song “Stronger,” which samples Daft Punk, made its way around the Internet, and now this video featuring Oldham and Galifianakis. At this rate, we should all “expect a clip of a suburban soccer mom rapping to ‘I Get Money’ in the near future.”