Kanye West and David Lynch see the world in a way that is exclusive to them. They’re both outside of the box thinkers who have brains that are incapable of switching off. From the moment they wake, they ooze creativity right until they fall asleep. Even though they both work in different fields, there’s a spirit that aligns the two men.
No matter what form it takes, the key to truly great art is to polarise the public to some degree. It should see a vision followed through and stand for something, which is a school of thought which both West and Lynch subscribe to. Work such as Mulholland Drive, or The Life Of Pablo, isn’t to everybody’s taste, and that’s the whole point. It’s an insight into the creative minds of these two geniuses and seeing the world through their lens.
In 2013, there was almost an overlap between these two talents when Lynch offered to create a video for Kanye. The clashing of their two visions is the stuff of dreams, but, sadly, it never came to fruition. Lynch has previous form for collaborating with musicians for videos, having directed visuals for the likes of Moby and Nine Inch Nails. Unfortunately, Kanye is a name that never got added to that acclaimed list.
“I was going to do the music video for ‘Blood on the Leaves,’ but it never happened,” Lynch revealed to The Daily Beast. “I didn’t come up with any ideas that I thought he would like. Kanye came up to the house one day. Kanye’s a good guy, and a great musician. I loved the song, and that’s what brought us together, but I couldn’t come up with ideas that thrilled either one of us.”
“I feel I let him down a little bit,” Lynch added. “I never got the ideas. I didn’t come up with any ideas that I thought he would like.” The acclaimed director also explained why he sees Kanye as a kindred spirit, professing, “He’s just ridin’ the wave and not takin’ no for an answer.”
‘Blood On The Leaves’ never did get a video in the end and still managed to chart around the world despite never officially being released as a single. The powerful track is a high-point on Yeezus, as West candidly looks at the dark side of fame and how celebrity can tear apart lives.
The rapper used imagery through his lyricism to create a comparison between fame and the lynching of Black Americans in the pre-civil rights era. During the MTV Video Awards in 2013, West poignantly performed the track in front of a backdrop of Steve McQueen’s photograph, Lynching Tree.
In truth, McQueen’s photograph explained the message of ‘Blood On The Leaves’ perfectly and that intimate performance is the only visuals necessary for the song. It speaks volumes about the sheer respect Lynch has for Kanye that he didn’t want to deliver him a video that he thought wouldn’t be befitting of his creative calibre instead of trying to push through an idea for the sake of doing so.