The name of this short documentary The Chi, from Kanye West and Jay Z‘s Watch The Throne tour, literally relates to Chicago, Kanye West’s hometown. Subliminally, however, perhaps it also relates to the ‘life force’ of the man behind the image.
A large part of the clip, which shows Kanye taking Jay on a tour of his old stomping groung, is shot with a handheld camera, in black and white. The resulting footage is incredibly compelling; hearing Kanye talk about his old grammar school and visit his old house (now boarded up) are beautiful if brief glimpses of his history. The few characters that we are introduced to—a man painting hats and the rapper Malik Yusef—also flag clues as to the background of Kanye West and the personal and political significance of his music.
Occasionally Kanye attempts to make things clearer; “Always knew it was going to happen like this. Even like at this point…. What I know, where I’m at right now is where I was when I was like 4 years old.” It is easy to be repelled by this kind of self-aggrandizement, but just think; where would the music industry be without Kanye West in all his controversial glory? Bored and boring, that’s where.
There are all the makings of a beautiful documentary here if a little promotion is taken out. You can watch more from the tour over at the Voyr website.