(Editor’s note: I wrote this back in 2014, as a part of our Bring It Back series. With today’s news of Kanye West coming full circle with The GAP, as well as the unveiled preview of an animated Kids See Ghosts series (which can be seen below), I figure I might as well briefly reminisce when Kanye was Kanye and not… Kanye.)
There’s a reason why this song – an anthem about the average Joe working an underwhelming job and waiting for that one chance of a lifetime – resonates with me, and it’s not because like the bajillions of others I can relate to track six of Kanye West’s major label debut.
Towards the end of Kanye and Def Jam’s College Dropout promotional run, there were plans that the final single from the album would be “Spaceship.” A little bit removed from college (and numerous, terrible jobs later) I had landed a gig at a top entertainment production company (in fact, I still see some of my work on television years after the fact), which would ultimately turn out to be the same production company that was hired to produce the music video for the song. Director Chris Milk – who also directed Kanye’s “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks” – signed on to once again helm the cameras for the video, which would be a literal interpretation of the song: Kanye, GLC, and Consequence all struggle working at the Gap, Esther Baxter stealing from the store, and a giant spaceship blasting off at the end. For whatever reason, however, the entire thing was scrapped (after the video was shot, natch) with the focus to instead be on Kanye’s second album Late Registration, with the “Spaceship” video slated to be on a DVD compilation of Kanye videos which also never came out.
While the whole thing getting canned kinda sucked for me, I was ecstatic to see that the video for “Spaceship” eventually release (albeit, coincidentally, via my new employment). I actually used to have a copy of the treatment for the video, as these things were always left lying around the production studio after the production was completed like most other things there (hell, I came across a few Mad Men items there as well). Alas, I unfortunately lost it along with a host of other keepsakes from the job when I moved to New York (I came to Harlem with seven boxes full of blankets, clothes, an XBox 360, a used laptop, and roughly $53 in my bank account), as I couldn’t really afford to bring most of my West Coast life out East. Still, that’s something I’ll never forget or regret being a part of.