Jacques takes a look at Kanye West’s new tracks, “New Slaves” and “Black Skinheads”. He also took to Twitter to get local South African opinions on “New Slaves”.

The moment Kanye tweeted “#JUNE18”, everyone was listening. The man who deletes his tweets more than he actually tweets is nailing viral marketing right now. Whether June 18 was his baby’s due date or a new album was up for speculation. All suspicion faded over the weekend though, when he projected visuals on buildings while premiering his new track, New Slaves, across 66 cities worldwide. Click here to see the video.

New Slaves is pretty much an accurate description of the walking contradiction that is Kanye West. Apparently Frank Ocean’s going to record a verse on the studio version of the track, which will probably be soothing. Juxtaposing modern day racism (“pick the cotton myself”) and economic inequality with his own financial success (“I throw these Maybach keys”) over a stripped down beat, he ironically raps about knowing “we the new slaves”. A warning though, the racially charged song is filled with pretty explicit sexual content, bridge through to the last verse. The egotistical yet classic Kanye bridge epitomises his philosophy: “You see its leaders and its followers / But I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.” I spoke to the amazing Danielle Theron about the screening, and we both agree that New Slaves is way darker and more brash than his earlier work. The song will be understood differently in different contexts – probably in the same way Django Unchained was received by different groups.

He also premiered another new song, Black Skinheads, on SNL last week, click here to see the video. An upbeat tribal drumbeat, with animal growls, grunts and visuals of black panthers make for a captivating intro. Kanye busts a couple of screams, kicks off with a couple of bars of narcissism, apologizing for “getting his scream on” in the first verse already. Lyrically Black Skinheads (probably unintentionally) builds on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s song POWER, with “Ye elaborating on his current state of power,” “I’m aware I’m a king”, “I’m out of control now”, “I think I’m possessed, it’s an omen” all refer to his (by now) almost justifiable narcissism.

The album, controversially rumoured but not confirmed to be named YEEZUS, drops next month and if New Slaves and Black Skinheads are anything to go by then we can expect a banger of an album dealing with a few rough topics.

Whether you’re bored or a fan, here is a fan-made documentary documenting Kanye’s career. This is pretty insightful, with obscure footage and snippets from some of his most memorably live shows.

Some local opinions:
– @danielletheron: Die straight up face shots van Kanye maak die video baie honest en upfront, en dit accentuate actually die lyrics.
– @IWudHitThat: really dark song.
– @iamwoodywoods: @kanyewest new track ‘New Slaves’ #DigsIt Proving Hip Hop can be conscious movement, at a commercial level. Got to respect the man for using his music & his platform to say something poignant about today’s society where we are the New Slaves to Corporations.

Follow the man, click here.

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