It was the first thing the world heard from the gospel of Yeezus: Broadcast on walls around the world, seen through YouTube and Vine, a brief, barely three-minute performance of a song that's two verses and a bridge. But it didn't really hit home until it was actually there, in our homes, when Kanye delivered it during his second Saturday Night Live performance. Performing with an extreme close-up of his face broadcast behind him, he started with the second verse, a set of bars so jaw-dropping, so extreme in politics, it was hard not to rewind and rewatch on the DVR again, and again, and again. And then wonder: "How the hell did he just get away with saying that on broadcast televsion?" And that's the censored version.
The seething anger that drives what's arguably Kanye's most political verse shouldn't really surprise anyone. And yet, no matter how many times you listen to it, there's still something shocking about hearing what Kanye will do to your Hamptons spouse, what he thinks of your corporation, what he knows about the price of pussy, what he thinks of your contracts and the Maybach you throw in, how he's going to deprive the American public of his family, and how he'll do that not just because of the idiots who think he's part of some Illuminati conspiracy, but also because they're missing the reality of our government conspiring with corporations to imprison young black men en masse. And how—while other rappers are trying to punch up the party—Kanye's already done that, and now he's on to more important things, like burning your party the fuck down.
When Kanye asks at the end of the brilliant, capital-I Important second verse of "New Slaves" what anybody can say now, the only remotely fair response is a question: What else is there to say? —Foster Kamer