Kanye West Launches ‘New Slaves’ With Video Projections on Side of Buildings
With Kanye West, it isn’t all about the music. Don’t get me wrong, whatever you think about the man, he does take his music seriously, whether as an art form or a cash machine. But the man is also a lot about image and the extravagent launch of his new album demonstrates the fact.
Instead of YouTube, MTV or on Twitter, Kanye projected his latest clip on the sides of buildings in 66 different countries, giving fans little forewarning before the first premiere. He posted the viewing times and locations on his KanyeWest.com site and about 100 fans answered the call and gathered in New York City’s Meatpacking District. After a delay the dedicated fans gasped as the stark black and white image of their rap hero shot up on a matte black wall.
“My mama was raised in the era when/ Clean water was only served to the fairer skin/ Threw on clothes, you would’ve thought I had help/ But they wasn’t satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself,” ‘Ye spit, setting the tone.
From the video’s first few moments it was clear that this was something different, even for a rapper who has made a career off of wearing pink polos and singing an entire album in auto-tune. At the same time there was something familiar as Kanye challenged materialistic habits and racial stereotypes like he did on his 2005 single ‘All Falls Down‘.
“What you want a Bentley, fur coat, a diamond chain/ All you blacks want all the same things,” he rhymed, making for an uncomfortable, but necessary listen.
The visual was equally dislodging as Kanye West rhymes with a piercing look in his eye addressing each individual listener, but without ever really being there. He shouts out “new slaves” before staring silently as the thumping beat played.
When the almost four-minute presentation was over, the crowd stood strangely quiet for a moment before they realized that it was OK to cheer their revolutionary rap hero.