Song of the Day #2,026: ‘New Slaves’ – Kanye West

yeezus_kanyeMy 2013 recaps are lasting weeks into 2014. Next I’m going to take my annual tour through the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll, as comprehensive a consensus as you’ll find of how the “professionals” saw the last year in music.

I like that the Pazz & Jop poll comes out toward the end of January. So many “year-end” lists show up in mid-December, either missing out on late year releases (Beyoncé, anyone?) or not allowing ample time for everything to sink it. Whether or not you agree with the results, you can’t argue that the critics polled didn’t have time to consider their votes.

The critics rank their best albums and best singles. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post the top-ranked singles that haven’t already appeared on the blog.

The #1 album of the year, according to the aggregated lists of 457 music critics, was Kanye West’s Yeezus. I’ll admit I haven’t heard the album yet, but the Kanye love affair seems to have gone way too far. This marks the fourth Kanye West album that has topped the Pazz & Jop poll, tying him with Bob Dylan (and Kanye did it in less than a decade). If that’s not overkill, I don’t know what is.

Kanye’s talented, no doubt, but he ain’t Bob Dylan.

The top three singles on the poll have all been featured on the blog before: Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ (#1), Lorde’s ‘Royals’ (#2) and Haim’s ‘The Wire’ (#3). Those are all good choices — quality songs that also represent the different sounds that dominated 2013.

In fourth place is Kanye West’s ‘New Slave,’ today’s SOTD. I find this to be a very compelling song, lyrically, but the music has none of the inventiveness or richness of Kanye’s best work.

If hundreds of critics agree that this is the best song on the best album of the year, I think they’re doing something wrong.

[Verse 1]
My momma was raised in the era when
Clean water was only served to the fairer skin
Doing clothes you would have thought I had help
But they wasn’t satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself
You see it’s broke nigga racism
That’s that “Don’t touch anything in the store”
And it’s rich nigga racism
That’s that “Come in, please buy more”
“What you want, a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things”
Used to only be niggas, now everybody playing
Spending everything on Alexander Wang
New Slaves

You see there’s leaders and there’s followers
But I’d rather be a dick than a swallower

[Verse 2]
I throw these Maybach keys
I wear my heart on the sleeve
I know that we the new slaves
I see the blood on the leaves
I see the blood on the leaves
I see the blood on the leaves
I know that we the new slaves
I see the blood on the leaves
They throwin’ hate at me
Want me to stay at ease
Fuck you and your corporation
Y’all niggas can’t control me
I know that we the new slaves
I know that we the new slaves
I’m ’bout to wild the fuck out
I’m going Bobby Boucher
I know that pussy ain’t free
You niggas pussy, ain’t me
Y’all throwing contracts at me
You know that niggas can’t read
Throw ’em some Maybach keys
Fuck it, c’est la vie
I know that we the new slaves
Y’all niggas can’t fuck with me
Y’all niggas can’t fuck with ‘Ye
Y’all niggas can’t fuck with ‘Ye
I’ll move my family out the country
So you can’t see where I stay
So go and grab the reporters
So I can smash their recorders
See they’ll confuse us with some bullshit
Like the New World Order
Meanwhile the DEA
Teamed up with the CCA
They tryna lock niggas up
They tryna make new slaves
See that’s that privately owned prison
Get your piece today
They prolly all in the Hamptons
Braggin’ ’bout what they made
Fuck you and your Hampton house
I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse
Came on her Hampton blouse
And in her Hampton mouth
Y’all ’bout to turn shit up
I’m ’bout to tear shit down
I’m ’bout to air shit out
Now what the fuck they gon’ say now?

[Outro: Kanye West & Frank Ocean]
I won’t end this high, not this time again
So long, so long, so long, you cannot survive
And I’m not dying, and I can’t lose
I can’t lose, no, I can’t lose
Cause I can’t leave it to you
So let’s get too high, get too high again
(Too high again, too high)

[Kóbor János]
Egyszer a Nap úgy elfáradt
Elaludt mély zöld tó ölén
Az embereknek fájt a sötét
Ő megsajnált, eljött közénk

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,026: ‘New Slaves’ – Kanye West

  1. Dana says:

    Yeah, I just can’t stand him for the critical praise heaped on him. This is lyrically shallow and musically pretentious.

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