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Q-Tip was the first one to plant the seeds for Cruel Winter, dropping the name of the project on the BET Hip Hop Awards red carpet back in September, and Pusha T later declined to answer questions about it, deferring to Kanye West and Tip as the ringleaders on this one.
The “Cruel Winter” trailer, which is less than one minute long, was posted on director Austin Christianson’s YouTube page on Halloween with no notes from Kanye himself. In those brief seconds, footage skips across stark images of nature — a hazy and deserted field, the ripples in a small pond, a broken tree branch — but it’s the overlaying audio that comes as a surprise, because it’s the voice of former president George H. W. Bush.
Bush’s speech “Toward a New World Order,” delivered on television on January 16, 1991 to address the Gulf War, plays over the images, giving no clarity about the project, except for confirmation that Kanye has something big in store. “We have before us, the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order,” Bush’s voice narrates. “A world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful — and we will be — we have a real chance at this new world order.”
Kanye preempted the release of Cruel Summer with a short film of the same title, and it looks like he might be taking a similar route this time around. “If there’s a Cruel Summer then there’s got to be a Cruel Winter right?” Q-Tip told MTV News in September. “That’s all I’m saying.”