Kanye West shares new song ‘Wash Us in the Blood’ featuring Travis Scott
Kanye West has been watching what’s going on in the world, and he has some characteristically complicated thoughts.
Early Tuesday the superstar musician released a new song, “Wash Us in the Blood,” accompanied by a music video that features images of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor as well as video from the nationwide protests their deaths have helped inspire.
Directed by L.A.-based video artist Arthur Jafa, known for his work with Spike Lee and Solange, the clip also offers fleeting pictures of imprisoned people, an unmanned drone, a woman struggling to breathe and West’s daughter North at a rehearsal by the rapper’s Sunday Service choir. (Just last weekend, a group of 13 museums joined together to make Jafa’s acclaimed 2016 work “Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death” — soundtracked by West’s song “Ultralight Beam” — available to view online for the first time.)
The song — which features a guest verse by Travis Scott and was co-produced by West, BoogzDaBeast, Ronny J, FNZ and Dem Jointz — recalls the harsh industrial sound of West’s 2013 album “Yeezus,” with siren-like synth textures over a throbbing beat. A press release notes proudly that the track was mixed by Dr. Dre.
West, who explored his religious awakening on a pair of albums last year, continues in the new single to direct his thoughts toward God, asking to be washed in his blood. But he’s pondering more earthly matters too: “Whole life being thugs / No choice, selling drugs,” he raps, “Genocide, what it does / Mass incarc, what it does.”
Beyoncé, Drake, Lil Baby and Megan Thee Stallion are among the artists with tunes contending to be 2020’s song of summer.
Near the end of “Wash Us in the Blood,” West complains of an unspecified “they” trying to calm him down and evokes President Trump (of whom he’s been a famous supporter) with a lyric about his distrust of the media.
“You know that it’s fake if it’s in the news,” he raps, “So I let it fly when I’m in the booth.”
“Wash Us in the Blood” is the first single from West’s upcoming album, “God’s Country,” which follows “Jesus Is King” and “Jesus Is Born,” both released in 2019.
Last week West announced that he’d formed a partnership with the Gap to sell his Yeezy line of apparel.
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.