This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Kanye West: Anger For Sale in a Pair of Red Kicks

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- For Kanye West, confusion isn't a bad thing. His boiling anger, often unfocused, spills over his new album as resentment from the inconveniences of fame fueled by suspicions he is misunderstood by even his most adoring fans.

But messages in "Black Skinhead" and "New Slaves," the two songs he debuted in a fiery appearance on "Saturday Night Live" last week, also include an indictment of crass classism and materialism. Poor and rich, non-fans and fans, black and white with their baggage of underlying racial preconceptions -- hypocrisy is everywhere, in West's eyes.

You see it's broke nigga racism
That's that "Don't touch anything in the store"
And this rich nigga racism
That's that "Come here, please buy more"
What you want, a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things
Used to only be niggas now everybody playing
Spending everything on Alexander Wang
New Slaves

The kicker is that as he is singing that, he's selling his own branded line of $200-plus designer sneakers. West's longtime nickname is "Yeezy" and his shoes, made by Nike (NKE), are called Air Yeezys. The allure of those pricey kicks among his loyal fans is an important factor in the calculations of this album's marketing campaign. West had a pair on his feet on the stage at "SNL," blurring the line between show and commercial.

Now wait -- pop music relies on sales, you say, artists have always shopped themselves to their audiences, like so much commodity. So what's the beef? No beef, at all. Just pointing out there has historically been a Chinese wall between an artist's music and its purely commercial uses. I think West is still firmly on the artist side of that divide, but it's getting to be a tougher call and no denying.

Hype for his new album, like most hip-hop records these days, is also pumped by collaborations. Daft Punk, with a new album of its own that I wrote about two weeks ago and Skrillex are said to be among those featured.


Then there's the album's title: "Yeezus." OK, let's all just heave a collective sigh over that one. It's not the first time he's played the great martyr card. West appeared on the cover of the Feb. 9, 2006 Rolling Stone wearing a crown of thorns. Jesus to his fan-disciples, a prophet, a miracle worker victimized by the media, misunderstood by the masses...we get it.

But he is an artist, after all. So I say, fair enough. Other people have used the Jesus provocation to sell records: John Lennon, who casually told reporters the Beatles were "bigger than Jesus" and then later, in "The Ballad of John and Yoko," put himself very deliberately in the Christ role. Some people will be offended by the title of "Yeezus;" most will not be, but will recognize the peril inherent in such an association, the potential for inadvertent self-parody not the least.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,014.38 +31.79 0.19%
S&P 500 1,980.10 +1.19 0.06%
NASDAQ 4,458.7220 +13.8130 0.31%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs