The first video for "Otis", the lead track from Jay-Z and Kanye West's collaboration Watch the Throne, debuted simultaneously at 8:56 last night on MTV, MTV2, BET and mtvU. Directed by Spike Jonze, the video tones down the album's fascination with name-checking luxury brands. "It doesn't feature a single Gulfstream G450, Cuban cigar, Hermes clutch or Benz," marvels MTV.com's James Montgomery. (There's one Maybach, but it gets chopped in half). Instead, the pair is just allowed to act natural, unguarded, and rather goofy in open, unadorned spaces.
Critics are responding with delight and surprise. Rolling Stone's Matthew Perpetua praises Jonze, a director "known for making silly high-concept music videos" for stepping back and making a video "showcasing the superstar rappers having a great time just being around each other...the main attraction here is the big genuine smiles on Ye and Hov's faces." Says Vulture, "[they look] like the richest, giddiest 17-year-olds you could dream up." Their joy is infectious. "No models, no bottles, no problem--they look like they’re kind of loving it, and I’m happy too," writes Entertainment Weekly's Leah Goldblatt. It's definitely simpler than expected, agrees the Los Angeles Times, but "simple for them means torching and chopping up a black Maybach to transform it into some souped-up ATV hybrid, which they take for a joyride -- with models and Aziz Ansari in tow," all of which happens over the course of the three-minute video.