Ever wonder where those distinctive blips on Kanye West’s “New Slaves” came from? Turns out they originated on a demo by Benjamin Bronfman, a member of the production collective known as Teachers and father to M.I.A.’s child. The demo is called “Cruel Cold Winter,” and its grey blankness hearkens back to 808s & Heartbreak almost as much as its title does. Bronfman gave some context on the track to Rolling Stone:
Bronfman first collaborated with West in 2010, when he flew out to Hawaii to work on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. (You can hear a mangled sample of his voice weaving in and out of the mix on “Monster,” plus a keyboard melody he contributed.) This time, he says, West didn’t give him much direction. “He kept saying, ‘Just make it hot, make it really dope,'” recalls Bronfman. “He didn’t really get into specifics, which is funny — he’s the type of person who will get really specific in person, but not on the phone.” Working at SMT Studios in Manhattan, Bronfman laid down a spare synth line and drum rhythm, then recorded a guide vocal of himself singing the words, “Cruel, cold winter.” “I heard that they were working on a follow-up to [2012’s G.O.O.D. Music LP] Cruel Summer,” says Bronfman. “So I was just kind of riffing.”
In other Kanye news, TMZ reports that he turned down a $4.5 million offer to do nine shows in Las Vegas at Planet Hollywood’s Axis club. The deal was to do three shows per week for three weeks, with a $500,000 payday for each show. It would have made him the highest-paid performer in Vegas, beating out Celine Dion ($476K per show), Britney Spears ($475K), and Jennifer Lopez ($350K).