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  • Kanye West On Saturday Night Live 2013
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Kanye West

Kanye West took the stage at Saturday Night Live last night to debut an aggressive new track, “Black Skinhead.” He also performed “New Slaves,” a song West debuted on Friday. The songs will appear on his next record, Yeezus.

Dressed in a studded leather jacket, West’s stage presence on SNL was full of rage. He performed in front of a projection flipping through images reading “Followers,” “Special!” and “Discount Price” but always returning to the same statement: “Not For Sale.” His new song begins with some screams.

“For my theme song / My leather black jeans on / My by any means on / Pardon I’m gettin’ my Scream on,” starts “Black Skinhead.” West tweeted the lyrics the song this morning.

West slowed the tempo for “New Slaves”, standing in place for the entire performance, performing in front of a projection of eyes. Watch videos of both songs below.

“Black Skinhead”

“New Slaves”

Comments (85)
  1. Those were both fucking awesome.

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  2. guys I think Kim Kardashian broke Kanye

  3. This man is a douche. But damn, when he’s hot, he’s hot.

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    • As someone who’s never been all in on Kanye (his stuff is generally hit-or-miss with me, and I thought MBDTN was a bit overrated) I think I can explain – he’s one of the biggest popular music stars in the world, and yet he’s not afraid to take massive chances with his music, make people uncomfortable and push musical boundaries. In this way, sites like Stereogum and people like me and most of the rest of the pompous music-obsessed crowd respect him – even if he generally comes across as an insecure dude who tries to overcompensate for this insecurity with displays of extreme egotism and douchebaggery.

      These two songs are PERFECT examples of this: they lack any catchy (or even discernable) melody, don’t have a hook to grab onto, and are lyrically abrasive – all things that would destroy a pop song and push someone to the fringes of the music scene – and yet he can get away with it and does. These songs are phenomenal and make me much more excited about his upcoming release than I’ve been about any of his stuff since 808′s (another great example of an artist unafraid to take a total left turn, fanbase be damned, to pursue a weird muse. Totally underrated album).

      TL;DR Sites like Stereogum and the people who read them respect Kanye for his risk-taking, experimental music that succeeds despite how abrasive it, and he, can be.

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        • That’s really a matter of opinion, don’t you think? I think the songs are great. So does HartfordTheWhale, evidently. So does my fiancee, who didn’t listen to or enjoy hip-hop growing up and finds most of it to be distasteful. Personally, I think the lyrics are highly interesting and insightful, calling out the shitty underside of our society (I especially liked the mention of the DEA and private prisons creating “new slaves,” which is a comparison I’ve seen from quite a few educated individuals), and the music is creative and dark, though I wasn’t quite as drawn to it as I was to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which is one of my favorite albums of all-time. Anyway, I view Kanye as an artist, not a hip-hop musician. I listen to Snoop and Jay-Z because I like hip-hop, but I listen to Kanye because I like art and poetry and deconstructing social constructs.

          And then there’s the first thing I said: it’s a matter of opinion. You think the songs suck, and you’re entitled to that opinion. But just because you think it doesn’t mean your opinion speaks to any sort of true or objective nature of the songs.

        • What’s a black Beatle anyway, a fuckin’ roach?

        • You got down voted because your post was just invective disguised as an honest question, the answer of which you clearly have no interest in.

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        • >says lyrics are terrible
          >praises Daft Punk

          Does not compute.

      • Well said, Whale. I’ve never really enjoyed Kanye, but I respect him to a degree and get the hype.

    • I agree with the question “Can anyone help me see what I’m missing?” in the literal sense because I’m in Canada and can’t see these videos.

    • Kanye used to just annoy me, but I’m a pretty big fan now. I’ve come to appreciate that he’s a master in the art of overreaching. There are so many reasons why MBDTF should have been a bloated mess, but he somehow manages to stay earnest in a way that makes his massive ego and pretentiousness endearing to those who are willing to hear him out. I think it has something to do with how his ego ultimately serves as a window to his vulnerabilities and insecurities… he doesn’t always do this on purpose but it doesn’t make it any less compelling.

      And there’s something to be said about an artist as successful as Kanye who continues to push boundaries and challenge his own audience. He could have just made albums like Graduation a million more times and he’d still be super famous, but he risks losing his fanbase by choosing to reinvent himself with each album, and has only been successful at it so far (not unlike David Bowie, which is weird to say). 808s and MBDTF both did this in their own ways, and it looks like this new stuff will as well, for I think reasons HartfordTheWhale stated very eloquently.

      • MAybe this is my problem with Kanye. I don’t feel any “earnesty” at all.

        • I like Kanye’s lyrics because they are always definitely about ‘something’. He tends not to wander vaguely, which can of course be good; he usually does everything in his power to get across his point. And he has quite a way with words too. Like ‘Roses’ or ‘Mama’, beautiful and succinct. Or the passion/anger of ‘Monster’ and these songs (though I can’t hear Black Skinhead….).
          Also, the instrumental aspect of his tracks has as much attention to detail as any of the lyrical work he’s putting in, which is not something that could be said of many hip-hop artists.

    • If you have absolutely no interest in hip hop then I can understand not liking anything Kanye puts out, but if you enjoy even a little hip hop, then Kanye has made something you will love.
      He is easily one of the most diversified hip hop producers of all time, along with being simply one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. From College Dropout, an album focused on the chipmunk-soul sample type of sound and lyrics that talked about drugs, money, and cars but deep down are about family, God, and the life of a young black man, to 808′s, an album that asks you if it even is hip hop, to MBDTF, a hip hop opus that pushed farther in a darker direction with heavier undertones and an overarching feeling of heartbreak.
      The man creates new boundaries for hip hop. If you actually like hip hop then there is no way you can dismiss Kanye’s entire catalog unless you let feelings for him as a person sway your musical opinion.
      So Stereogum keeps tabs on him because he makes good music.

  5. “Black Skinhead” is absolutely incredible. I still don’t get “New Slaves” as much.

  6. It must be hard to be Kanye West.

  7. These were very good. He sounds angry and angry Kanye is usually the best Kanye, even though I find it hard to imagine what he has to feel angry about at all. Still, very well done.

    But I must say “Black Skinhead” sounds like an Outkast rehash (musically).

  8. Man, that dude made “gold digger”, his music has covered alot of ground

    • And before that “Through The Wire”. And later, the entire ’808 and Heartbreaks’ album. I may not always love dude’s ego and opinions, but I respect that he’s willing to follow his muse artistically.

  9. I think it’s entirely understandable why he would be angry. He’s a participant in a music industry that has an agenda on what popular music is released and when, like a well-oiled machine. And while he may be bathing in money and Kim Kardashian’s you-know-what, as an artist who is incredibly successful, he not only has to deal with the successes that such a position entails, but also the unending criticism, paparazzi, expectations, and industry coercion that could drive any person mad.

    I find it good that he’s channeling this “celeb/artist anger” in making angry music as opposed to becoming a drug addict like so many other artists who have crumbled under the weight of artistic value vs. industry-manufactured commercial appeal. And in hip-hop, where the industry is fueled by black men but run by white men, the idea of “new slaves” is nothing new, but nonetheless important and interesting. All because he has a lot of money doesn’t mean the structure that gave him the money is not exploitative and wrongheaded.

    • I’ve always found it a bit ridiculous when people claim that rich people shouldn’t ever be angry or upset, as if how much money you have should be the only thing that matters in your life.

    • “….he not only has to deal with the successes that such a position entails, but also the unending criticism, paparazzi, expectations, and industry coercion…”

      ALL of which he could walk away from today, while still creating music. Sorry, but I don’t empathize with Kayne. I think he’ full of shit and I don’t respect him. He’s got some cool songs and even some great songs, but I’m not buying this “I’m not for sale” bullshit. It’s utter bullshit. And anyway, it’s been done before by BETTER artists. It’s only new to his fanbase who think “omg Kanye’s totally going against the media”…No, he isn’t. Kayne totally supports the media. 110%.

  10. I love Ben’s intros. He knows what’s up.

  11. Old mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get Andrew dice clays jacket

  12. I feel like this new album will be similar to last M.I.A. album where it will get a “love” or “hate” reaction depending on who you are and how you interpret it.

  13. “Black Skinhead” is cool but I wonder how much cooler it would be if MC Ride were to have done the opening screams.

  14. Black Skinhead is so crazy and weird, gotta love it!

  15. Can’t deny it… This is fire. Audio & Visual.

  16. Loving the industrial vibe on both tracks. If these two tracks are representative, it’s going to be a baggin’ album.

  17. Should’ve brought back Rihanna’s seapunk projection. That would have been a real headfuck set to “Black Skinhead.”

  18. No one’s talking about the rhyme recycling, heh?

    From ‘I Wonder’ – “How many ladies in the house without a spouse? Something in yr blouse got me feeling so aroused, whachoo about?” > “Fuck you and your Hampton house. I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse, came on her Hampton blouse”
    From ‘Good Morning’ – “I’m the fly Malcolm X buy any jeans necessary” > “For my theme song my black leather jeans on, my by any means on”

  19. I like angry Kanye, but a big part of me still misses the lightness of the first couple albums.

    • Amazing to think about the mental and musical journey between “Touch the Sky” and “Good Life” to “Black Skinhead” and New Slaves.

  20. Looks like it’s Kanye’s primal scream period. Good stuff.

  21. Logged in for the second time ever to say this: these songs are punk as fuck.

  22. This art direction is pretty brilliant.

  23. That intro beat reminds me of that sports arena song “Rock and Roll Part 2″ by Gary Glitter. Also known as “The Hey Song” (had to Google that…) and also a little bit of “Yadnus” by !!!

    It caught me off guard as something very familiar. Figured I’d return here with my results for anybody else wondering if they’d heard something similar.


  24. This new sound IMO is reminiscent to MIA’s /\/\/\Y/\. It’s very industrial and slightly hard on the ears at first. Goes to prove that Maya seems to be on the cusp of what’s hot, but Kanye is able to bring it to the masses. I want an itunes download of Black Skinhead immediately!

  25. IMHO he is using Death Grips as a template. hopefully Death Grips will get more listeners if the connection is made from Kanye’s “new” sound and Death Grips’ work

  26. looks like kanye is gonna go 6 for 6. This shit is on a whole different level. Hail.

  27. As much as I hate to say this, you gotta respect Kanye in a way for always bringing an auteur approach to his music. I try to just ignore him yet am commenting at 5am and just woke up with thoughts of these vids/tracks in my head. Black Skinhead sounds influenced by Azealia Banks as well as Death Grips (

  28. These songs are great, though Kanye trying to turn around and stunt on some anti-capitalist “I’m not for sale” shit is a little hilarious.

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  31. Am I the only one who feels like Kanye’s suddenly a big M.I.A. fan?

  32. Black Skinhead reminds me of NIN. It could probably fit pretty well on the Downward Spiral. I really like it. I guess New Slaves was missing the sampled portion because it felt kinda slight.

  33. I like the sound. But we all know who had the most impressive live performance moment this weekend….


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    • lol….. you’re the one who sounds like the brainwashed hipster..
      if you’ve listened to an ounce of the production on mbdtf and can say Kanye has “no musicial ability to speak of” you’re sadly mistaken..

  35. All I know is this is the first musical performance in a while (probably since Kanye last time) that when it was done w/both songs that I just sat there and wanted to yell out “Damnn!!!!”. That was epic.

    Aside – I can’t wait to see whatever David Fincher film features “Black Skinhead” in it!

  36. Bring forth Yeezus, my iPod is ready and waiting.

  37. skinny puppy anyone?

  38. You can think the songs are terrible and lame all you want, that’s fine by me. But to say Kanye just “stays the same”? That he’s not evolving? I’m sorry, but this new material is NOTHING like anything he’s done before. At least, nothing that I can think of.

    Compare this Kanye to the Kanye of 2 albums ago (or even 1 album ago, really) and it’s so drastically different, both musically and in terms of his image.

  39. Ive been up voting almost everyone who has been downvoted for speaking their opinion on Kayne. There are way better rappers, people are like sheep and need to be told whats hot and whats not and for some reason every Buzz Media has a hardon for Kayne. Hmm….

  40. Oh Kanye, what are you doing?

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