Kanye West isn’t living the ideas he’s rapping on ‘New Slaves’
By RICHARD ROEPER May 19, 2013 9:38PM
Updated: June 21, 2013 6:34AM
Last Friday night, Kanye West took performance art to a global level, with the video for “New Slaves” premiering on a total of 66 buildings from London to Sydney to Paris to Berlin to New York to Chicago.
According to Vibe, the “Wizard of Oz-like projections” were scheduled to show up on the side of Wrigley Field, at the Field of Museum of Natural History and at 505 N. Michigan, among other locales.
One YouTube video by Gowhere Hip Hop shows the video playing on the Crown Fountain wall at Millennium Park, while fans chat in the background. Another YouTube video, which already had more than 16,000 views as of Sunday afternoon, captures the projection at Wrigley Field, with Kanye’s image barely visible against a giant banner showcasing Cubs players such as Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo and Matt Garza.
Thirty years past the days when MTV would make a huge deal out of “World Premiere Videos,” this worldwide wall-projection approach was a clever way of generating street talk and viral buzz. I’m just wondering if the Ricketts family knew about this or saw the lyrics for “New Slaves” before someone signed off on the outside surface of Wrigley Field serving as a theater screen for Chicago’s own Kanye West rapping lyrics such as:
F--- you and your corporation, y’all niggas can’t control me ... Meanwhile, the DEA teamed up with the CCA They tryna lock niggas up, they tryna make new slaves See that’s that private-owned prison, get your piece today They prolly all in the Hamptons, braggin’ about they maid …
Meanwhile, the DEA teamed up with the CCA
They tryna lock niggas up, they tryna make new slaves
See that’s that private-owned prison, get your piece today
They prolly all in the Hamptons, braggin’ about they maid …
West also performed “New Slaves” on “Saturday Night Live,” in a riveting, intense performance in which he stood still in front of a series of Warhol-esque images advertising sales and bargain deals. It must take a lot of energy to keep that angry-pout look going all the time.
In “New Slaves,” West continues to complain about his fate as a gifted, influential, world-famous, fabulously wealthy artist with an adoring fan base. And so he says, “F--- you and your Hampton house,” and goes on to describe in pornographic detail what he’s going to do to your Hampton spouse. There’s also the obligatory reference to the paparazzi: “So go and grab the reporters, so I can smash their recorders.”
West does make a salient point about “broke nigga racism, that’s that ‘don’t touch anything in the store,’ ” as opposed to, “rich nigga racism, that’s that ‘come in and buy more.’ ”
Only a section of the undeniably catchy chorus of “New Slaves” can be referenced here. Suffice to say Kanye’s telling us there are leaders and followers, and he’d rather be the former.
Not that Kanye is the first wildly successful pop artist to continue playing the part of the underdog. Many of the leading protest bands of the 1960s and 1970s were raking in the dough while singing about revolution. Bruce Springsteen was still writing songs from the viewpoint of a blue-collar, working-class underdog while living in mansions larger than the first clubs he played. You don’t have to turn in your poetic license once you hit it big.
But if you take “New Slaves” literally, it’s hard not to call B.S. on Kanye and his “problems” and complaints.
Sure, the paparazzi are leeches — but come on, buddy, you’re with Kim Kardashian, whose family practically sends out holiday cards to the jackals and hacks that “hound” them every moment. She’s in love with the paparazzi. So stop bitching.
And who embraces the nouveau riche lifestyle more than West and his insanely superficial girlfriend? West reportedly purchased a $91,000 Hermes T-shirt, no joke. (Well.)
Just a couple of months ago, Kardashian posted an Instagram pic of her wrist adorned with multiple gold bracelets worth more than $65,000 — a little gift from the boyfriend. Of course, that’s nothing compared to the $750,000 Lamborghini Kim bought for Kanye, or even the $200,000 Bentley Kanye bought for Kim’s mom.
Not to mention the $11 million house in Bel-Air recently purchased by Kim and Kanye. And the multi-million-dollar properties they’re reportedly scouting in Miami, Paris and London.
Hey, it’s their money and they can do what they want with it.
But nobody embraces capitalism, consumerism and crass commercialism more than Kim and Kanye.
Makes it sound just a little hollow when Angry Kanye stands on that “SNL” stage and rails, “F--- you and your corporation.”