Sunday Best: “Power (Remix)” ft. Jay-Z (Produced by Swizz Beatz); Kanye West

It’s Sunday, let’s round out the week with a recap of the g.o.o.d. word: Kanye’s “Power” Remix… (aka “While you were sleeping, this happened”)


#mytwocents: If Jesus Walks; Muhammad marches. I just don’t know where to start or finish with this… what to say that hasn’t already been said by the Louis Vuitton Don?

Fame Kills: Hova sets the tone before Kanye atones. Carter coasts through the intro over weathered and vintage beats. His voice calmly builds a signature blueprint by speaking from experience – the sound, like his own timbre, ride like sapient soul – as he flows of power flipped and reversed from the penthouse to the projects, of how his dynasty came to fruition. Jay-Z careens through the verse like a watchmaker over his time pieces. He presides over the scape as a Pop god does, creating culture, keeping time as a zeitgeist, leaving the clocks and his creations to their own devices… he killed auto-tune once, and is not averse to doing so again. His son Ye won’t let our minds become idle once more though, thank Hov he’s back – like the clockmaker of old: clock is ticking – power just counts the hours – even when it all falls down and you’re “lookin’ through the sunglasses and the sunroof.”

Always “in search of the truth, even if it goes through Taylor Swift” – and since she’s here, tell her this; tell Taylor that no one man should have all that power: to steal your shine, to cause you to break down on stage, to create your career, or to ever be your determining factor – no one man should be that to you, no one man should be your Danja – lest you end up like Britney. No one man should have all the power Kanye had at the VMAs. Perception is power – amplification. So, to those who say: “No one man should have all that power;” consider an alternative: “Don’t give it to him.” Kanye can’t believe it anymore than you. Take it or leave it, but don’t take it so seriously – on to the next.

Art Lives: Power clap for the preacher, preacher – enter Kanye: “fresh out the club, just took a half an hour nap,” why? Because he naps twice as long as the average celebrity’s life span. He’s an artiste, emerged from the shadow of his former fame – or infamy #neitherherenorthere. That said, power is founded on two things: The Fear, and The Fame – and Ye’s got plenty of both.

Renaissance Resurrects: Top down approach – full on progression. The sound goes from vintage, church, chanting: a literal renaissance sound to the roots of American music, pre-Jazz indigenous soul – power through the voice of the masses, the collective. As that chant rises it hits an organic fever pitch, a chorus that overwhelms you with raw connection to the source of this inspiration – this rebirth – Ye lyrically parallels the indigenous sound with a vantage shift to the bedrock of civilization: the Middle East. Yeezy goes to the Fertile Crescent to bridge the generational and topical gap. Everything he’s “rhymin’ on ’cause a Ramadan” – because, in art as in life, one man’s Gospel is another man’s Jihad – so he’ll take it there; hell, he’ll go to Beruit and do a show there. “Get our troops out of Iraq, keep our troops out of Iran,” because somewhere along the Tigris and Euphrates is the world’s perpetual birthplace and battleground – and substantial re-creation cannot happen in the midst of constant chaos. “Living in the 31st Century futuristic fly” affords one the ability to preach from present perfect hindsight: don’t let this be pre-World War III; so “now the question is, how we gon’ stop the next Vietnam?” By keeping “Flex out of Korea ’cause you know he drop bombs…” Oh how Pop and politics do go on, riding tandem so nicely – what with the news being as fantastical as entertainment is reality. Kanye is as much a villain as Kim Jong Il; then again, Jong Il could never fathom the uncouth of snatching a VMA from Taylor Swift #kanyeshrug #tangent.


In the most beautiful bridge over troubled waters since Paul Simon, “Power”’s sound goes from somber to celebratory – Monster Ballin’ Outta Control like a Post-Apocalyptic house party – from atoning to amplifying. Sonically, as much as semantically, we go from literal cultural roots with early indigenous beats – the roots of the art – to the neocultural roots of the 80s-90s, where the artist was made, with “I Got the Power.”  It’s as much a general renaissance coming from the acoustic roots, as it is an individual rebirth for West, tapping back into his own b-boy, early 80s hip-hop/dance/synth roots – his 808s after heartbreak. He’s giving penance and preaching. He’s a living renascence, risen from the dead. As he goes from the requiem obituary sound on the front-end, to high-octane uptempo on the second half, it’s a celebration – we made it out the projects! We – not me – and we’re riding on the shoulders of giants; power is unbreakable, and so is diamond – the dynasty is undeniable, and so is The Roc. “Now Jay my big brother and Bey my lil’ sister; and excuse me, but, you can’t see my lil’ sister” … or her p-p-p-pokerface – but Bey can get it on her video phone.

Welcome new royalty: Ye just dropped the anthem and the blueprint. Hov opened the comeback track, handed off the baton to Kanye. Kanye ran through the rest of the record… and on to the decade. Bey handed off the baton progressively over the year – with “Video Phone,” and then “Telephone” – to Gaga; classic short-form/ long-form process parallel: Ye redefined the modern music video with his short-form “Power” video, just as Gaga went long-form conventional reconfiguration with “Alejandro.” Sometimes, it’s a process; sometimes it’s a pinpoint – rest assured, it’s always on-point – #itstheroc

In a nutshell: As Swizz closes the casket with “Chill Ye, chill! Sxxt’s burnt up already…” you can’t help but bask in the new rebirth of cool after the global meltdown that was “Life circa 2000-2009 (read: 2000-indefinitely).” #thereyouareyeezy!


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