Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Single of the Week: Kanye West - "Black Skinhead" (Live on SNL)
You know, I was worried. Maybe I wasn't the only one. Maybe I still ought to be. The reputation of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the last Kanye West solo album is only for someone as brilliantly ambitious as the one who made it to be able to face. Far from shying from it, or introducing the new album with a relatively modest or "safe" sound (like those from the intermediary Watch the Throne and Cruel Summer projects), Kanye instead chose to debut two songs for his Saturday Night Live performance that demonstrated the next creative leap of his career.
"New Slaves" had already made it online, as shaky camera phone footage captured a projection of Kanye's head projected onto the side of buildings across the globe, but "Black Skinhead" was entirely new, and even more of a radical departure. Built on the industrial-glam shuffle that underpins Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People", it's surely going to be one of the most divisive stylistic changes in rap this year. But the SNL performance is nothing if thrilling: if MBDTF was Kanye facing and overcoming his demons, here he sounds indistinguishable from them, screaming and yelling in a way that overcomes ridicule by emulating the feeling of genuine menace.
"Black Skinhead" and "New Slaves" will feature on Kanye West's upcoming album Yeezus, out 18th June via G.O.O.D. Music / Def Jam.