Kanye West brings explosive ‘Black Skinhead,’ ‘New Slaves’ to ‘SNL’

Kanye West on stage at Staples Center Sunday night December 11 2011 for his 'Watch The Throne' tour with Jay¿Z in Los Angeles, the first of three nights.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“I’m doing 500 / I’m out of control now,” Kanye West growled halfway through “Black Skinhead,” one of two new songs the rap superstar performed on “Saturday Night Live.”

Here’s the thing, though: For all the righteous fury he summoned in “Black Skinhead” -- which appears to have been inspired in part by reactions to his relationship with Kim Kardashian -- West never sounded out of control Saturday. His performance was a thrilling master class in applied energy, a focused beam of intensity aimed directly at a “Middle America packed in ... to see me in my black skin,” as he put it in lyrics he posted to Twitter following the show.

Built atop what’s reported to be (and indeed sounds an awful lot like) a sample from Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People,” “Black Skinhead” is a long way from the lush, ornate sound of West’s last solo album, 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”


PHOTOS: Concerts by The Times

The same goes for “New Slaves,” the other song he performed on “SNL,” not long after it was projected on the sides of various buildings around the world Friday. Over a stark electro-rap riff, he observes, “My mama was raised in the era when clean water was only served to the fairer skin.”

Both tracks are apparently due for inclusion on West’s upcoming album, reportedly titled “Yeezus” and due out June 18. Among the guests rumored to appear are Daft Punk, Skrillex and Pusha T.

Consider Pop & Hiss officially excited -- and almost certainly unprepared.

Watch “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” below.


Coachella announces 2014 dates, on-sale info

Review: KROQ’s indie-loving Weenie Roast 2013


2013 Billboard Music Awards: Swift dominates, Bieber deflates