After Kanye West verbally blasted the Saturday Night Live show just a few days ago, it was a little surprising to see that the moody singer went ahead and performed not one but two new songs on the the show. Yes, you heard correctly, Kanye sings on SNL and both his songs were new.
The day after debuting his latest single New Slaves by projecting its music video in 66 locations across the globe, Kanye West made his triumphant return to Saturday Night Live on Saturday night (May 18).
He performed that new cut and debuted an unreleased track, Black Skinhead, to give the viewing audience a taste of what they can expect on the controversial rapper’s forthcoming LP.
Kanye was on stage just minutes after midnight to showcase his new tune. Backed by a live band and dressed in a studded black leather biker jacket and red Air Yeezy II’s, he emitted screams over a sparse drum track and melody culled from Marilyn Manson’s 1996 hit The Beautiful People.
The lyrics started with with a harsh first line, “From my theme song, my leather black jeans on/ My by any means on, pardon me getting my scream on.” His delivery was in keeping with his mood this week of barely repressed anger singing the song while ghoulish faces flashed and flickered on the screen behind him.
Another graphic that said “Not For Sale” flashed behind him repeatedly, as did clips that alluded to discounts and coupons. As the song ended, “Not For Sale” flashed across the screen again, as though the singer wanted to hammer home a not-so-subtle point.
The title of the unreleased song was confirmed by the Saturday Night Live Twitter account just minutes after it was performed. “That was just ‘Black Skinhead’ by @kanyewest. #SNL #SNLFinale,” the tweet read.
West returned to the stage later to sing New Slaves. He again performed in front of his “opening” graphics and he got rid of the jacket and stood center stage in an open-chest V-neck and thick Cuban link chain. He held the microphone in both hands and punched out the second song’s lyrics.
“You see it’s broke n—a racism, that’s that ‘don’t touch anything in the store’/ And there’s rich n—a racism, that’s that ‘come in and buy more’/ What you want a Bentley, fur coat and diamond chain?/ All you blacks want all the same things,” West rhymed with a deliberate spoken-word cadence, that he fumbled repeatedly.
Running up to the Saturday Night Live broadcast, Kim Kardashian posted a photo to her Instagram account that seemingly confirmed an open rumor that Kanye’s new record, Yeezus, would be dropping June 18. “#Yeezus #RedYeezy’s #SNL #Tonight #NewSlaves #YeezySeason #Donda #June18,” she tweeted, along with a photo of the album’s packaging.
So, in a week that has been full of discord for Kanye West, he’s topped it off triumphantly with projecting the video from his new song on 66 different buildings the day before he performed on SNL. And despite his four letter rant about the whole celebrity status thing, which he declared he is not a part of; he’s gone on to prove that he may say he is not a celebrity, but getting the chance to “air” your video on 66 buildings and showcasing your latest album on the great SNL proves just the opposite.
By Michael Smith