Did Kanye West Rip Off Dr. Dog For His "Monster" Video?

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Not the Kanye video.
Just hours before New Year's Eve, an unfinished but largely coherent cut of the video for Kanye West's "Monster" leaked. It was...unsettling. West's use of the severed heads of dead women as props--and their lifeless bodies as vaguely sexual marionettes--in the clip was the apotheoses of a year's worth of model corpse photos (before now published as art for West's various G.O.O.D. Friday singles), and will do nothing to blunt the growing chorus of critics pointing out what an asshole misogynist West was in 2010. It's a charge to which we're sympathetic. But never in a million years did we imagine the "Monster" video as being anything but the original product of West and director Jake Nava's sick imagination. As it turns out, however, Kanye might not just be an extremely public model killer; he may well be a plagiarist, too. Of Philadelphia indie-rock band Dr. Dog, no less.

Witness the similarities between the "Monster" video and Dr. Dog's 2008 clip for "The Ark." Disembodied heads:

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Stray body parts:

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And a weird fixation on bodyless hands:

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Conclusive proof? Absolutely not. But suspicious similarities? Sure--down to the muted color palette, even. And oh yeah--though it's since been deleted, Kanye definitely noticed the Dr. Dog video the first time around, posting stills from the clip on his blog:

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West even highlighted the parts most similar to what ended up in the "Monster" video. Curious, we spoke with director Adam Kurland, the director of the original Dr. Dog video. Does he think West had ripped him off? "It could have been any number of things," he told us, noting the clip's "eerie similarity."

"It's at least a very odd coincidence," Kurland said. "It's great that Kanye looks to independent music and artists. His blog has had some amazing content over the years and if in fact Kanye did use this video as some form of inspiration, I'm flattered. But next time he should just reach out. I would love to work with him on something."

What do you think? Compare and contrast, right here:

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10 comments
Annette Cohen
Annette Cohen

it's not like either music video was that great anyway.

Annette C.Vent

Buckets
Buckets

The ripoff factor here is obvious. If West was so enamored with the Dr. Dog video, he should have hired Kurland to direct "Monster" and help out the type of independent artist he so loves to namecheck (and, apparently, steal from). Instead, West paid big bucks to Nava, who's been around long enough to show a little integrity. Unfortunately, just another example of the little guy getting shat upon instead of being rewarded for doing great work.

jeremx
jeremx

maybe kanye did this all intentionally so that it would create the necessary backlash to draw attention to the dr dog video and therefore get them even more attention. HE'S AN EVIL GENIUS/ALLAROUNDGOODGUY! ha ha.

Boosh
Boosh

Kanye is a fraud.

Devin
Devin

Thanks for bringing attention to this, I thought the same thing when I first saw Kanye's video. I would say huge coincidence, if it wasn't for Kanye posting the original video on his blog two years ago! that's too big of a coincidence. maybe the term "inspired by" can fit here, but at least this story gives some props to Dr. Dog, that's probably the most we can hope for.

Dvealart
Dvealart

If I see another movie, comic book, video or goth 'original' with those three icon scenarios again I'll, ... jump over a rock. A small rock, but you get the idea. It's like saying you can't ride a horse into the sunset at the end of a western. You can't use a sexy zombie waitress in a pop goth video. These are just nor that original to care about.

Shannon
Shannon

I love Dr. Dog and I normally don't like Kanye at all, but I have to say, this track (and the accompanying video) KILLS it. The imagery is similar, but I don't know if I'd call it plagiarism. Even with the severed heads and hands, the themes of the videos are totally different. Dr. Dog's video is all about death giving way to life, whereas Kanye's has more to do with how the industry and fame affects the people involved. Being from Philly, and being more into folk than hip hop, I really wanted to "side" with Dr. Dog but weirdly I can't bring myself to do it.

Sloppo
Sloppo

Kanye's skin tone is similar to that of another famous man (Michael King - aka Martin Luther King) who was forgiven for plagiaristic infractions, so perhaps we should give him a pass for that too. On the other hand, the nature of Kanye's "fantasy" video ... killing and mutilating white women ... suggests that this fellow should be regarded a bit like Jeff Dahmer. If a normal person woke up from a dream like that he or she would be repulsed by the memory. Only a mentally ill person would decide to turn it into a video.

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