Sunday 2 June 2013

Kanye West - New Slaves

Few things in life insight more collective groaning from the public consciousness than yet another rant from everyone's favourite egotistical rapper, Kanye West.  With New Slaves, he's been kind enough to set it to a beat.

The production is hypnotic, composed primarily of an insistent, sinister riff (sampling Gyöngyhajú lány from Hungarian rock band Omega, of all things), the minimal textures allowing his 'message' to hit home.  Ominous doesn't even begin to cut it.

It's this angry, political statement that people will either agree with or sigh at, with lyrics that powerfully touch on potent issues such as racial injustice, consumerism and West's continued battle with the press.  Yet these issues are somewhat undermined by his own lavish lifestyle.  West is as guilty as any other artist of frivolously buying cars, clothes and houses, despite his angst at everyone "spending everything on Alexander Wang" and his charming retort "fuck you and your Hampton house, I'll fuck your Hampton spouse".  And although the song is against consumerism, West's music (let alone Kim Kardashian's career) is ironically dependant upon it.

His dichotomy is neatly wrapped up in the line "you see there's leaders and there's followers, but I'd rather be a prick than a swallower" - whatever he does, he can't win.

It's the marketing strategy that mostly undermines the track though, with the video projected on billboards across the globe as a carefully crafted revolutionary tactic.  And the track is taken from West's forthcoming sixth album entitled 'Yeezus', a name that combines his nickname (Yeezy) with Jesus.  The more he poses as an overblown prophet, the more difficult it is to take him seriously.


Listen: New Slaves will feature on 'Yeezus', released on June 18th.