If you’re putting together a remix of a song called “Power,” it makes sense to hand over the first few verses to Forbes‘ top Hip-Hop Cash King . That explains why Kanye West invited Jay-Z to bless the remake of the first single from his new album.
“Is this thing on? Oh, I thought they silenced us, ‘Ye. Power to the people,” Jay says before dropping into his first verse on the song, which Funkmaster Flex aired in part on New York’s Hot 97 and then posted in full on his site Thursday (August 19) night.
“We livin’ in that 31st century/ Futuristic fly sh–/ The penthouse is the projects and everybody flies private,” Jigga raps, taking the tune a century ahead of Kanye’s original. “New watches, you know what time it is, watch us/ They can’t stop us, the prophets, beyotches,” he adds, before Yeezy lays down the song’s now-indelible chorus.
But Jay’s not done yet. “Rumble young man, rumble/ Life is a trip so sometimes we gon’ stumble/ You gotta go through pain in order to become you/ But once the world numbs you you’ll feel like there’s only one you/ Now you got the power to do anything you want to/ Until you ask yourself, ‘Is this what it’s all come to?’ ”
Giving some sage advice to his younger charge, Jay adds, ‘F— all these labels/ F— what everyone wants from you,” warning that they’re trying to “Axl Rose you/ Welcome to the Jungle.” The Chairman follows up with a reference to the philosophy of renowned late author, womanizer and pugilist Norman Mailer, explaining that his man is “in search of the truth/ Even if it goes through Taylor Swift.”
By the time it’s Kanye’s time to shine, he’s ready to brag about how “Power” has already created its own universe. “Now when I walk in, everybody do the ‘Power’ clap/ Clap, clap, clap/ Fresh for the club, I just took a half an hour nap,” raps the tireless MC. Then he alludes to the time he spent off after the Swift incident at last year’s MTV VMAs with the line, “My socket was out the plug, now it’s time to get the power back.”
After pondering the abuse of power, ‘Ye says while we can’t all become “American Idols,” we can at least “grab a camera, shoot a viral/ Huh? Take the power in your own hands/ I’m a grown man, doin’ my grown dance.” Considering his video for “Power” is like a moving painting , it’s fitting that the Louis Vuitton Don drops an art history reference, ending his verse with the line, “I don’t stop until I see the end, my vision is clear, b—-/ I’m on my Van Gogh, I don’t hear s—.”
West gets a bit uncharacteristically political in his next verse, sending prayers out to those who lost family members in the Pakistani floods while praying that the U.S. keeps troops out of Iran and doesn’t get tangled up with North Korea. Swizz Beatz drops in to pump West up a bit more, and then Yeezy brings it home with an extended verse in double time over his background singers, who slide into the iconic chorus from Snap!’s 1990 club banger “The Power.”
Showing he still feels like a king, Kanye drops references to the crucifixion and compares himself to both NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon and NBA superstar Michael Jordan. “But I be feelin’ like Jordan when I’m recordin’,” he says, elongating the end of each line, ” ‘Cause every time I record, I duck to slap the boards.”
But don’t think he doesn’t have a sense of humor about his public image. “I don’t know what these rappers gon’ do afterwards/ Prolly spaz like I might do at the awards,” he says, admitting that the remix is another realization of one of his life’s dreams.
“Now Jay my big brother and Bey my ‘lil sister.”
What do you think of Kanye’s “Power” remix with Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz? Let us know in comments below.