Kanye West – Black Skinhead

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Clipse / El-P / Nine Inch Nails

Cyber Monday. April Fools’ Day. Kanye West Album Release Day.

Today we venture into the sublime realm of the Internet Holiday. The release of Yeezus is at hand.

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Ben Affleck rang a note just shy of sour grapes when he introduced West on SNL last month as “the man you came here to see.” He was right.

That very fact is what makes the arrival of Yeezus even more of a tantalizing puzzle than Kanye’s last solo album, 2010′s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Everyone is here to see Kanye. He knows it. And that’s precisely the problem, or so the narrative goes.

West sings:

Middle America packed in
Came to see me in my black skin
Number one question they asking
F— every question you asking

The same spirit is there in the music, too. Nothing quite says “don’t look at me—but, seriously, look at me” like the industrial-style stomp of “Black Skinhead.” It’s quintessential outsider sound wrapped around the skeleton of arena rock. Refreshingly weird coming from Kanye, though not entirely unexpected when you consider his overall approach to being in front of an audience. Here, Kanye isn’t ahead of the curve—he’s right on time. Black Skinhead is perfectly calibrated to current trends: a vague 90s nostalgia and broad pop culture sensibility that has an endless appetite for all things “dark.”

In post-Red Wedding America, this (I guess) counts as an anthem. And so it is that Kanye West Album Release Day passes this year as a more somber occasion than in years past. I faithfully observe nevertheless.

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(@YahSureMan) is the Founder of The Daily Soundtrack and Bark Attack Media. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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