Kanye West debuted two new tracks this weekend, “New Slaves “ and “Black Skinhead.” The politically charged, vehement tracks are nowhere like the lighthearted “Ball so hard” flow of “N*ggas In Paris” or the smooth braggadocio of “Mercy.” These songs beg for a real listen and attention to lyrics. VIBE dissected the most interesting, shocking and overall best moments from “New Slaves.” —Sowmya Krishnamurthy
“My momma was raised in an era when/Clean water was only served to the fairer skin”
It ain’t all good in America. Kanye kicks the track off with historical context. Similar to “Never Let Me Down” from College Dropout, Kanye forces us to remember a time in our country before the Civil Rights movement in which overt racial inequality was rampant. He argues that similar inequities still exist and aren’t only for the history books.
“You see it’s broke nigga racism/That’s that “Don’t touch anything in the store”/And this rich nigga racism/That’s that “Come here, please buy more”
Despite his newfound wealth and fame, Kanye still faces racism. Before, he wasn’t allowed in certain stores because people thought he was a thief and now, those same people want him to wear their label. This could be a literal take on consumerism–similar to his earlier track “All Falls Down”– or a larger metaphor for White America’s general views on him.
“Y’all throwing contracts at me, you know that niggas can’t read/Throw ’em some Maybach keys/Fuck it, c’est la vie”
Kanye blasts big corporations (and probably record labels) who sign rappers and minorities to deals that they know are awful. The “Maybach” reference may be a nod to Rick Ross’s recent snafu with Reebok, which subsequently ended his contract.
“See they’ll confuse us with some bullshit like the New World Order/Meanwhile the DEA, teamed up with the CCA”
America and the media will confuse the so-called “new slaves” with made up conspiracy theories like the New World Order when real issues are happening behind closed doors. Ye raps that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) have quietly joined together to put more black people in the jails they create for drug-related offenses.
“They prolly all in the Hamptons, bragging ’bout their maid/Fuck you and your Hampton house, I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse”
The oppressors of the world are laughing it up with other rich people in places like the Hamptons, NY’s ritzy zip code, but Kanye could care less. Sexually and literally, he can ruin them.