Kanye West's new song 'Power' disses 'SNL,' samples King Crimson

kanye-westImage Credit: Foc Kan/WireImage.com“I guess every superhero needs his theme music,” Kanye West says at the start of a newly leaked song called “Power.” This is, maybe, our first glimpse of the mysterious album he’s reportedly been working on in Hawaii all these months. Kanye West, back to save the day! Yet “Power” is something darker and more complicated than a rah-rah Superman theme. “No one man should have all that power” is the full line from which the title is drawn. That’s an ambivalent phrase to hook a potential single on.

The same tangle of moods and intentions continues through the rest of “Power.” One moment, West is attacking anyone who dares mock him (“F— SNL and the whole cast”). The next, he’s humbly explaining his long absence from the public eye (“I just needed time alone with my own thoughts”). “How’s ‘Ye doing? I’m surviving,” he offers at one point — then undermines that statement with the following line: “I was drinking earlier, now I’m driving.” Loaded words for someone who knows what a car crash feels like. The song concludes with a creepy, suicide-themed call-and-response section with “Flashing Lights” singer Dwele.

Let’s say you didn’t speak English and couldn’t catch those lyrics, though. The beat behind “Power” tells an entirely different story as it builds from handclaps and hollers to an epic prog-rap groove that samples King Crimson to a rich orchestral finale à la Late Registration. On a purely musical level, this is superhero theme territory, all right. Happy Memorial Day weekend.

West’s label is keeping mum about “Power,” so we can’t know for sure whether this song is finished or what (if anything) it has to do with his next album. In the meantime, have you heard “Power”? How do you like it?

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Usher stays on top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart
Big Boi’s “Shutterbugg” gets a surreal video
Vampire Weekend go for baroque in ‘Holiday’ video
Lee DeWyze’s post-Idol career: Will he be a Kelly Clarkson or a Taylor Hicks?
The Swell Season covers a disco classic: Stream it exclusively here


Comments (154 total) Add your comment
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  • goawaykanye

    go away already, KANYE
    please

    • mike

      Think about it: If Kanye hadn’t grab that mic from Taylor Swift, she wouldn’t be as huge as she is now. Taylor needs to thank him for being a jerk. It’s made her richer and more famous than she ever was.

      • Katie G

        THANK YOU
        this has been my argument all along. Post Kanye-gate Swift’s popularity soared. She should send him a fruit basket ….

      • whatever

        Taylor Swift was the #1 selling artist in the world in 2008 and 2009 before the whole Kanye crap. She didn’t need him to get to where she is now. Kanye is nothing but a jackass!!

      • MC

        Thank you whatever! she was already on top when that happened. sure, it helped propel her popularity even further, but her album had already gone triple platinum by that point and that’s after the success of her previous album.

      • Matt

        It gave her more attention, but yeah, that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t be where she is now without it. Now as for what this article is actually about (the music, not the man)…I love it. It’s a great song and the album is going to do huge numbers, so all you haters can just stop hating and go back to commenting on music you actually listen to.

      • Bob

        Her album had been outselling Kanye’s at that point. She has been the best selling artist of the past two years. Kanye made her more sympathetic, but she was already winning favourite female singer (over Beyonce, if you remember)… Kanye’s music is great. He’s that self-destructive, egotistical genius. You can’t take him too seriously. ‘Power’ is good, but it’s not in the same ballpark as his stuff off of ‘Late Registration’.

      • D

        Yeah it may have converted some fans, but like others have pointed out, she was a monster artist, album sales wise and even crossover single wise as well. Her being up on stage in the first place verifies that.

      • SXiPPY

        @ Bob “genius”!? Ew, hardly! Egotsitical yeah, and while a handful of his songs are good, he’ll never be clasified a “genius”. His arrogance isn’t even funny it just makes me disgusted to think he is that entitled of a person…that’s why God snuffed out his mother. Yeah I said it! You go around saying you are as big as Jesus, God is fittin’ to get pissed! The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, Kanye!

      • Tina

        @ SXiPPY:
        A true Christian or follower of God would never say what you said. Everyone dies. People lose their parents and other loved ones everyday. It has nothing to do with karma, it’s called the circle of life. However, karma does bite those who take pleasure in other people’s loss in the ass. God don’t like judgmental pricks like you, so watch out.

      • Goddess

        People get mad at Kanye- but he speaks the truth!! lol taylor swift is boring and beyonce’s video was so much better.

      • kevin

        I feel what you sayin. she wouldnt be AS BIG because now ppl who dont listen to her music know of her. e.i fans of rap and hip hop. but kanye didnt make her famous because you kind of have to be famous to win a award like video of the year. and had she not won that award we wouldnt be having this conversation.

      • forgottencitizen

        that’s the stupidest thing i’ve ever heard.

        obviously she must have been pretty popular considering he interrupted her AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH

        whens the last time someone who wasn’t already pretty famous won an award? come on.

    • atavanhalen

      bring back 50 cent

      THE MASSACRE 4 LIFE POSERS

      • Dark Fantasy

        im pretty sure Kanye blew him outta the water with Graduation bud. and his movie got out done by Chittle Little sounds to me like your living in the past. The Game killed G-unit thats why there no more :) 50’s washed up

    • Berryz

      Can somebody please beat up a-holes like Ghoster

    • Carlos Mencia

      He’s a Gay Fish

      • LOL

        LMFAO!

      • who cares

        i don’t get it ;)

    • Bob

      like it or not kanye is a good artist regardless of his actions. he is bringing alternative hip hop back into the mainstream

      • M

        That’s what I say. When I’m listening to his music, I really couldn’t care less who’s microphone and screen time he stole.

      • ash.

        I’m in total agreement with you Bob. After the whole Taylor Swift incident I commented to my family that Kanye West will simply come out with another hit and it will play constantly on the radio and everyone will forget about his past mishaps.

    • Tailawho?

      Im sorry what did he do to taylor swift? hahaha jk I can assure even those that will never forgive him for what he did, they WILL still buy the album. History fades… Chris brown BEAT a woman up AND STILL sold 6 digit sales on his first week and lets not forget it hit number 1 in the charts. You actually think kanye will flop? people listen to music and when this song hits, your gonna wish you were a masochist cause its going to hurt. AND please he is not backing down just because he is finally co-producing, didnt you learn from 808’s and heartbreaks… he inst gonna keep trying to re-record college dropout everytime he wants to drop an album. Dont even say 808’s was a flop cause maybe he shouldnt have sold 450,000 albums. And yes.. i get it.. It was really mean what he did but in all honesty WE ALL cant be tupac, mlk jr, Ghandi, or who ever is perfect. All in all, its a great record and remember… “screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it, I guess every superhero needs his theme music” haha

  • freckles

    * yawn *

  • Stephon

    Re: goawaykanye

    Did you actually listen to the damn song. I understand not liking an individual, but at least give the song a shot before you just hate.

    • kim

      True, but Kanye seems to go out of his way to make people hate him. So it may be a little difficult to listen to his music.

  • harry

    good for you Kanye.

  • nodnarb

    “Let’s say you didn’t speak English…”
    That would suggest that Kanye West’s lyrics are in English, which is open for discussion.

    • Monty Cole

      In the rap game, everyone has to have their own brand of hardness. Kanye came from the Southern suburbs of Chicago. He was no where near becoming part of any gang so he can’t pretend he belongs to Gangsta rap. That’s why he needed to create his own hardness for the suburban black man. Now his hardness could’ve been his intelligence like his man Common, but instead its his arrogance. I’m sure when you’re meeting Kanye he’s probably a moderately nice guy. He was raised by nice folks (see Kanye West Foundation for details). It’s this stage character (like Sasha Fierce) that has made him be this way. Otherwise, he’s completely emotionally vulnerable and wears his heart on his sleeve (see 808s and Heartbreak for details) and that’s not hard<—therefore no respect from other people in the rap game (see 50 cent for details).

      • ohplease!!

        How the hell does Kanye wear his heart on his sleeve. IT wasn’t the whole Taylor Swift thing that made me not like him, it was everything before that incident. He is a complete jackass who thinks nothing but of himself. He has no conscious and is the devil’s spawn.

      • notorioukoala

        Kanyeezy you did it again!!!

  • Shane Bernard

    The BEST part about this single is that its going to be a SUMMER ANTHEM. And all the people who dislike Kanye will have ZERO choice but to watch and listen to him take over the radio, television and charts. This the best i heard from him in a while.

    • halo

      Really??? I have too????
      No I don’t.
      Get familiar with DOLLAR VOTES
      Meaning, anytime ‘Ye comes on I will change the channel. Simple really and easy too.
      Can’t be a SUMMER ANTHEM if everyone changes the channel

    • keyser soze

      @Shane
      Did you lose your remote control? the buttons on your radio? Or were you just not aware of their function?
      Kanye’s the biggest Drama Queen on the planet. Little girls make him cry.
      Power? No. Crybaby TearShower.

      And I don’t have much respect for thugs- but I have even less respect for a guy who started out fronting like a thug.

  • missionday

    He calls himself a super hero. UGh!! He is such a diva. He should have invested time in a mental institution. He is bipolar. I hate this ugly ass gay fish!

  • Jason

    I’m loving it. funny lyrics, crazy sample, breakdown is ILL !

    Welcome back kanye

  • yawn

    Oh look little Kanye comes out with a new album. Never in a million years will I ever invest in his music again. I hate rude divas!

    • jojo

      People get over it already, what he did was stupid am sure I’ll dislike him in person, but he makes undeniably good music and besides in our heart of hearts we all know that he said what we would probably say to our friends if we were drunk and at home. Still think what he did was very wrong and hurtful though.

      • panama

        Kanye west creates haters though his words in his music and when not rapping. Now he comes out with some so called geat song that addresses the haters and still acts like he is the supreme power. Whatever! I refuse to buy anthing from him.

      • levelheaded

        Kanye has acted like a jerk sometimes, but there have been other famous people that have been worse and don’t receive this level of hate… It’s odd.

        I’m rather ambivalent about him myself, but reading the comment boards you’d think he’s killed children or something.

        And “gay fish”?! WTF does that even mean?!Fish that like other fish? Why is he a fish again?

      • 4rocket

        The gay fish joke originates from South Park. You would have to watch the episode to get it.

  • Yes

    I guess he didn’t learn anything from the South Park episode. Still taking himself too seriously. He just can’t stop whining. Every time you think he’s learned something – he acts like a big baby again.

  • Mike

    He’s a gay fish!

  • bbc

    WHAT…A…TOOL…

  • S Dot

    For all you Kanye haters … Why did you even bother to read the story?

    • jUSTICE

      Exactly…when you dont like something ,you usually stay away from it…

    • keyser soze

      Because we wanted to know what the drama queen was crying about this time.
      It’s funny to watch him being a jerk to people who hurt his fragile little feelings… when the reason they hurt his feelings in the first place was because he was being a jerk.
      (referring to the “disses SNL” line in the title of the article.)

  • BW

    It amazes me that because he interrupted an acceptance speech he is crucified. People who get DUI’s have gotten far less backlash, and that is behavior that could’ve killed someone. I very rarely use racial issues, but my question is that if he didn’t do that to a sweet little white girl would there be the same level of hate? Its almost like people hate him more than Chris Brown who beat the crap out of a woman. Look, people always hate on the guy personally, but good music is good music.

    • John

      not EVERYTHING has to be about race. Kanye thinks he’s God’s greatest gift to earth, and it shows in his actions and his music. that’s why nobody like’s him, not because he attacked a “sweet little white girl”

    • nodnarb

      Oh, please. Douchebaggery knows no race. Fred Durst, Axl Rose, Pete Wentz… all white, all douches. And I hate them as much as I hate Kanye.
      PS: Kanye’s music is not even that good. He frequently rhymes the same word with itself or makes up a word. That’s just lazy.

      • Maureen

        “Douchebaggery knows no race.” A very wise and true statement my friend. ;)

      • Open your ears

        i guess you havent listened to some other tracks(other than the ones he puts on the radio)on college dropout or late registration. Your one of those people who listen to mainstream radio and only that.

  • KSH

    Please come back Kanye. I am bored to tears with rap right now! WE NEED YOU!

    • ash.

      Yes KSH! Rap and hip hop has been so lame right now… Kanye West music is so fresh and original… he is truly a music genius!

      • Who Cares?

        That’s only cause you listen to mainstream Rap and Hip Hop. Go listen to Underground Kid Cudi, The Cool Kids, etc.

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