Music

Fans And Critics Are Very Divided Over Kanye’s Blistering New Single

Some have called it a triumphant return to his 'Yeezus' sound, while one critic called it a "tossed-off sketch".

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Kanye West dropped Jesus Is King, his divisive, gospel-inflected album not that long ago, back in the pre-coronavirus era (remember that one?) of October 2019.

But it looks like Kanye has been busy in the six months since: yesterday, he announced a new project with the release of the single ‘Wash Us In The Blood’.

Yep, looks like we’re getting another Kanye record, and reasonably soon. Titled God’s Country — presumably a reference to the ranch on which he is building his own “wellness centre-cum-hotel for rich people” — doesn’t have a release date, but GQ has revealed at least three songs for it have already been written.

Needless to say, that title implies that we’re far from over Ye’s Christian phase. But if ‘Wash Us In The Blood’ — which features Travis Scott — is anything to go by, it looks like the rapper is shifting up the style of his last record.

For a start, he’s abandoned the big, overproduced choir sound of the very boring Jesus Is King, trading it in for a stripped back style that more brings to mind the boundary-pushing sound of Yeezus.

Then there’s the fresh nuance to his exploration of faith. Jesus Is King was like the world’s driest Sunday School sermon, uncomplicated in its love for Christ. ‘Wash Us In The Blood’ is more daring.

Whole life bein’ thugs,” Kanye raps towards the song’s pivot, around the midway mark. “No choice, sellin’ drugs. Genocide what it does/Mass incarc’ what it does. Cost a cause what it does / ‘Nother life bein’ lost.

That’s the sound of Kanye dipping back into politics. But this time, rather than voicing his support for Donald Trump, the rapper is calling out the carceral state, a system of imprisonment that Trump has perpetuated and even championed. Could Kanye’s views be changing? Who knows.

In any case, the song has already inspired mixed reactions online. Some longtime Kanye fans are praising it as his most essential work in years:

But some of the media reactions have been more sniffy. Hubert Adeji-Kontoh of Pitchfork, for instance, has called it a lazy cash-grab of topical issues.

“Black life is reduced to digital death and instant commodification,” Adeji-Kontoh writes. “The whole enterprise seems like it was cobbled together to make a statement, yet it never coheres around [an incisive] couplet.”

Not that we should be surprised by such divisive responses. After all, division is the name of the Kanye West game these days.


Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images