Kanye West's New Punk-Rap: This Year's Most Exciting and Original Release?
It's probably fair to guess just about everyone under the Sun has seen Kanye West's performance on Saturday Night Live's season finale at this point. Or maybe they caught the video for Yeezy's new song "New Slaves" playing on the side of a building somewhere around the world. Or maybe they've seen the man himself perform live recently.
Kanye West performing "New Slaves" on Saturday Night Live
Whichever way you heard it, most people are quickly becoming familiar with the new, darker, rawer Kanye presented on the songs "Black Skinhead" and "New Slaves." Opinions vary, of course, which is predictable any time an artist steps outside the boundaries of his or her most predictable sound. But the truth is, Kanye's new sound may be the most exciting, original thing to come out all year so far. Here's why.
Kanye West has been an innovator and a trendsetter since the day he first stepped into a studio. With Just Blaze, he practically forged the sound of hip-hop to come in 2001 by shaping the soul-inspired production of Jay-Z's The Blueprint. Then he came out with his own music on The College Dropout and, all by himself, killed the necessity of a gangsta image in hip-hop. Guys like Drake wouldn't exist without that album.
On every album since, Kanye has changed it up. He's switched his fashion, his style, his flow, and his sound on every release. And to date, this has not failed him. In a way, he's a modern-day David Bowie, jumping around like a child with ADHD to new ideas and new trends constantly; not hopping on bandwagons but creating them. Like him or not, music today has changed with every single album he's put out.
Due next month,, Yeezus, his sixth solo LP, promises to continue the trend. The two singles so far have not disappointed, and present something which we've hardly seen this year: something new.
While all year there have been great albums, they've almost all come from established artists. Almost halfway through 2013, we haven't really seen a single new artist break out with an original sound. The tide hasn't turned. In fact, all the most exciting things that have happened in the music world this year. And last year for that matter, have been nostalgia based.
Take the world's highest paid musicians last year, for instance. Dr. Dre, Roger Waters, Elton John, U2, and Take That. Sure, I love them as much as the next guy. They're still exceptional performers. Out of those five, however, only Take That is under the age of 40, none released new music last year, and Take That was on a reunion tour. New? Hardly. Original? Nope. Roger Waters and Dr. Dre may have been innovators many years ago, but that time has passed.