Between the Bars: “New Slaves”

By Kwase Lane, Contributor

Hello, and welcome to the first installment of Between the Bars. This a little corner of ACRN where we talk to you all about whatever little rap verse we’ve had on our mind the last week.

In honor of what was supposed to be the release of Kanye West’s latest album, I’ve decided to talk about verse two of “New Slaves”. Now, Kanye’s told us he’s not going to release his new album until Black Friday, but that’s okay. If you’ve seen Ye’s recent shenanigans on the news it’s easy to tell that he has a lot going on. Part of me is really worried for him, but there are no mistakes just happy accidents.

Read More: Album Review: Dominique Larue – I’m Smiling Because I Hate Everything

Let’s get to the breakdown. If you all don’t mind me saying, Kanye really beats the devil out of this song with his lyrics. He gets pretty aggressive, so I apologize for the explicitness of the following content, but I promise this is going to be a fun trip through one of Kanye’s favorite verses.

I suggest taking a listen before you jump in, or reading along while you let Ye serenade you. Hearing how he delivers each verse helps you understand what he’s saying more effectively.

“I throw these Maybach keys / I wear my heart on the sleeve / I know that we the new slaves / I see the blood on the leaves / I know that we the new slaves / I see the blood on the leaves”

He’s kind enough to let us know what we’re in for. He’s not ashamed of what he’s about to say and he hopes the audience will stick along with him for this wild ride. Kanye is rejecting the rewards that come along with the status he has attained because he knows that there’s a price attached. Lots of people think that when you have as much money as Kanye does, people stop trying to tie you down. Not even Yeezus can escape the chains, be they iron or gold.

“They throwin’ hate at me / Want me to stay at ease / Fuck you and your corporation / Y’all niggas can’t control me / I know that we the new slaves / I know that we the new slaves / I’m ’bout to wild the fuck out / I’m goin’ Bobby Boucher”

Kanye highlight’s his self-reliant nature and gives us a window into how hard that can be. Adam Sandler’s character in “The Water Boy”: Bobby Boucher was a monster on the field when he let his anger take over. He lets us know he’s going to channel what he’s feeling to make a change. I can’t imagine it’s easy to be such a polarizing figure, but I’m glad he’s taking it in stride. There’s nothing worse than an unhappy Ye.

“I know that pussy ain’t free / You niggas pussy, ain’t me / Y’all throwin’ contracts at me / You know that niggas can’t read / Throw on some Maybach keys / Fuck it, c’est la vie”

Now if there’s any truth in “New Slaves” it’s in the first couple lines of this section. My brother Jimmy got caught up in some trouble with his wife for doing, well you know. I told him not to… I’m sorry that’s a story for another time. Kanye’s warning his audience about the ways African Americans tend to be put in a box by institutional and external pressures. Ye tries to throw off these shackles by grabbing the same keys he threw away earlier in the verse. Whether he likes the car isn’t important, he’s just doing whatever it takes to make himself feel free.

“I’ll move my family out the country / So you can’t see where I stay / So go and grab the reporters / So I can smash their recorders / See, they’ll confuse us with some bullshit / Like the New World Order”

I may not always agree with Kanye, but I’m glad to see he’s protecting his family. There’s nothing more important than making sure the people you care about are safe, and he’s doing just that. Ye’s no stranger to people coming after him with theories about the New World Order or Illuminati and he’s tired of it. He doesn’t want them to give him and his loved ones a bad name and he’s willing to break a couple cameras to keep their image safe.

“Meanwhile the DEA / Teamed up with the CCA  / They tryna lock niggas up / They tryna make new slave / See, that’s that privately owned prison / Get your piece today”

Kanye knows that the Drug Enforcement Agency send black men to privately owned prisons. Much like in his recent tweet, he’s trying to let us know the danger that these young people are in. CCA sees nothing but a quick buck when they lock up African Americans. Kanye makes sure he teaches us what the deal is before adopting the voice of a sleazy salesman and offering us a piece of the corrupt confection.

“They prolly all in the Hamptons / Braggin’ ’bout what they made / Fuck you and your Hampton house / I’ll fuck your Hampton spouse / Came on her Hampton blouse / And in her Hampton mouth / Y’all ’bout to turn shit up / I’m ’bout to tear shit down/ I’m ’bout to air shit out / Now what the fuck they gon’ say now?”

Sorry folks, this one really took a sharp turn at the end there. Kanye lets us know that he’s willing to fight against the system, albeit in the most loathsome way imaginable. Ye is firing back at everybody trying to control us, but he didn’t have to bring their wives into it. That’s just distasteful. He urges his audience to turn the track up while after he’s exposed these dark truths. Finally, Kanye challenges those who seek to control us to come back at him, knowing they’ll be left speechless by his potty mouth and raw facts.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s all I have for you today. We went deep into this verse and grabbed the meaning hiding inside. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to seeing you again next time. Until then from all of us here at ACRN: Happy listening and Bass God bless.

Give “New Slaves” a listen here:

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