New Slaves: Profound or Pretentious?
Kanye has never shied away from hard hitting lyrics and statements. Since The College Dropout, we’ve been able to count on him for subversive and self aware commentary- He matched honest lyrics like ”even if you’re in a benz- you still a n** in a coupe” with introspective confessions: “we’re all self conscious- I’m just the first to admit it.”
Even on Watch the Throne, songs like “Made in America” and “Gotta Have It” balanced out tracks like “Niggas in Paris” and “Otis”. Plus, we can’t forget that time Kanye essentially called out the President for his reprehensible lack of action following Hurricane Katrina ( I still crack up thinking about that one).
So when I heard about his new releases I was excited- it’s about time Kanye is in the news for his music, rather than for his trivial baby mama drama and wildin out on the paparazzi.
But after listening to the songs, I can’t help but feel that there is something missing from his lyrics. There are times where he just sounds downright annoying and out of touch (I’m sorry Kanye, its hard for me to care about your problems with the paps and with people who judge your relationship when the rest of us are worried about paying bills, supporting ourselves and staying out of the system.) There are others, when he is unabashedly sexist (is the sexual degradation of rich white women really the answer to our problems?). And for both songs, I feel like he is taking on the mission of the “race man” without living up to the responsibility of being a race leader. When you invoke metaphors of slavery and white supremacy, it is a serious matter. I’m not sure that Kanye, pardon me, Yeezus,conveyed that adequately in his new tracks.
But given my respect for his boldness, it is hard for me to write these songs off completely…
How do you feel about New Slaves and Black Skinhead- Do you think they are profound or do they miss the mark?