Yeezus 'New Slaves': Song Analysis

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The song “New Slaves” comes from Kanye West’s album, Yeezus, which was released in 2013. The hip-hop album is notable for its intentionally hostile sounds as well as the incorporation of punk and industrial styles. Kanye West is a rapper, songwriter, and record producer who has become one of the most explicit and controversial celebrity. Even in music, he is not afraid to be vocal in his opinions of controversial issues. The song allegorizes the issues of slavery, racism, materialism, and stereotypes. The song is broken down into two verses with a bridge in between. The first verse serves as an introductory for the issue of racial discrimination whereas the second verse, which takes up the majority of the song, delves deeper into the issues…show more content…
A wealthy black man would also be stereotyped as a black man who makes so much money he would spend it all on material things. Ye utilizes the irony to show how black people will always be judged negatively despite whether or not the person is good or bad. During the bridge, Ye raps, “You see there’s leaders and there’s followers / But I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.” Ye uses this play on words as a conceit to describe that he’d rather be the leader than the follower. The term “dick” can mean both penis and jerk so Ye is saying that he would rather be the rude guy who would say what’s on his mind than be the person who keeps it to himself and “swallows” his…show more content…
Throughout the song, there are several audiences that Ye is aiming towards. Contrary to the first verse where he states, “All you blacks want all the all the same things,” Ye shifts his target when he states, “Fuck you and your corporation.” The use of apostrophe helps to bring new meaning to the phrase “New Slaves” as his audience in the second verse shifts towards big corporations or those that are trying to control Ye like he is a slave. The repeated lines, “ I see the blood on the leaves,” is used as a conceit for old slaves and new slaves. During the era of slavery, the African American slaves’ blood would be on the cotton leaves, but now the blood of the “new slaves” are on money and materialism. The last line of the song serves a rhetorical question: “Now what the fuck they gon’ say now?” After ranting throughout the entirety of the song, Ye ends it by asking what his audience, whether they be other rappers or big corporations, could possibly respond after the diatribe he just

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