Based on pretty much everything we’ve heard — namely, the scalding sonics of “Black Skinhead” and the minimalist flourishes of “New Slaves” — Kanye West is supremely concerned with pushing hip-hop into the future with Yeezus.
But, judging by a snippet of a new track he’s posted on his official site (you can hear it by mousing over the Yeezus album cover), he’s also remembering the past, too.
Said snippet samples a pair of classic tracks, the first being “Bound,” a song taken from the Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s 1971 album 2 + 2 = 1. The group, formed in Cleveland in the late ’60s, was so named because it featured two sets of identical twins — Alfred and Alvin Pelham, and Keith and Kirk Gardner — and a “plus one,” Ricky Spicer. They were signed for a time to Sylvia Robinson’s All Platinum Records, the label she owned before launching influential Sugar Hill Records in 1979, and were tipped to be the next Jackson 5. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way, and, after releasing a string of singles, the group called it quits in 1975 … though their music has been sampled in the decades since by the likes of Large Professor and Big Pooh.
The second sample — a sassy “Uh huh, honey” — is the vocal intro to Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothin’s,” where she entertains to the whispered advances of a would-be lover. The track was originally released in 1959 and, at the time, became her biggest hit … though she’s better known for her classic version of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and the maudlin “I’m Sorry.” Lee’s career hit its peak during the 1960s, scoring a series of pop and rockabilly hits, and in the ’70s, she established herself as a country star, too. She’s enshrined in the Rock and Roll, Country and Rockabilly Halls of Fame, and her songs have also been sampled by folks like Jeru the Damaja and, uh, Afroman.
So, now you know. Of course, we still don’t have any idea what Kanye’s new song is titled (a spokesperson for the rapper did not respond to MTV News’ request for comment by press time), but from the sound of things, it seems like Yeezus is shaping up to be a complex listen, to say the very least.