By Rob Markman
You never know what Kanye West will do next. Yes, the wildly creative ’Ye is set to perform “Black Skinhead” at the 2013 Video Music Awards on August 25 in Brooklyn, but when you factor in his boundless creativity and attention to detail, there is no telling what tricks he has up his G.O.O.D. Music sleeve for the big show.
It was back in May when Yeezy used his “Saturday Night Live” appearance to debut the song, just a day after he debuted Yeezus’s first release “New Slaves” by projecting the song’s music video on the sides of buildings in a number of cities throughout the world.
Marked by its punk-inspired drum set,”Black Skinhead” features progressive messaging where Kanye addresses race and his anti-celebrity stance. “If I don’t get ran down by Catholics, here comes some conservative Baptists/ Claiming I’m overreacting, like them black kids in Chi-Raq bitch,” he raps with ferocity and urgency.
For his “SNL” performance West donned a black leather jacket and red Air Yeezy’s as growling dogs and “Not For Sale” signs flashed on the screen behind him. ’Ye nestled himself in the stage’s shadows moving in and out of the lights to let out passionate screams and yelps. It was a darker Kanye West than fans were used to seeing.
“I don’t have some type of romantic relationship with the public. I’m like, the anti-celebrity, and my music comes from a place of being anti,” he was quoted as saying in the New York Times just days before Yeezus was released on June 18.
According to West his 2010 solo album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was made in part, to appease the public. He assured fans that Yeezus would make no such artistic concessions and pointed to “Black Skinhead” as proof. “That was the album where I gave people what they wanted,” he said of MBDTF. “I don’t think that at that point, with my relationship with the public and with skeptical buyers, that I could’ve done ‘Black Skinhead’ [from Yeezus].”
The song’s video was released on July 23 and proved to be as revolutionary as the track’s message. The Nick Knight-directed vid features a digitally enhanced version of Yeezy and has a good deal of interactivity with its online incarnation. Fans are able to adjust the pitch and slow the video down as well as grab stills for Instagram with the click of a button.
Kanye has raised the creative bar each step of the way and on August 25 when he takes the VMA stage at the Barclays Center fans should expect something special.
The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards air live on Sunday, August 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.