Worth Your Time: Animated Kanye West Music Video

On his new album, "808s & Heartbreak," Kanye West swaps rapping for singing, and if that sounds like a bad idea, the actual sound is even worse. His new single, "Heartless," is annoying after just one listen. But the video for it is—go figure—masterful: a cartoon confection that deserves to go viral.

The "Heartless" video, directed by Hype Williams, employs a technique called rotoscoping, in which teams of animators draw over footage of live actors. Cinephiles adore rotoscoping for its vibrant surreality: indie auteur Richard Linklater has used it for two films, "Waking Life" and "A Scanner Darkly." (It's currently being used to lousy effect in TV ads for Charles Schwab.) But Williams and West go a step further, using it to lend an ironic sheen to rap's glorification of excess: Louis Vuitton luggage, gyrating fly girls.

Williams, who practically invented gyrating fly girls, introduced West to rotoscoping through the work of 1970s filmmaker Ralph Bakshi, best known for his animated "Lord of the Rings." Luckily, West's first taste of Bakshi wasn't his 1975 movie "Coonskin," a racially provocative story about corruption and organized crime in Harlem, which might've offended the easily offendable emcee. Aside from the super video, "Heartless" is utterly charmless.