Kanye West and Jay-Z revive Taylor Swift drama, get political on 'Power' remix

jayz-kanyeImage Credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.comOh, you thought Kanye West sounded confrontational on his single “Power”? Wait ’til you hear the official remix he and big bro Jay-Z dropped on NYC’s Hot 97 radio last night. It feels like rap heads have been waiting for this remix all summer, and Jay and ‘Ye don’t disappoint, turning the intensity of the original tune all the way up.

“Rumble, young man, rumble,” Jay-Z advises his controversy-prone protégé in his tightly coiled opening verse. He’s actually the one who gets rumbling first: “F— all these labels, f— what everybody wants from you/They trying to Axl Rose you, ‘Welcome to the Jungle’/To be continued, we on that Norman Mailer s—/In search of the truth, even if it goes through Taylor Swift/Tell her this!” Yeah, he went there. Jay-Z isn’t really dissing or insulting Swift per se, but just hearing him call someone out by name in his music is rare enough to make this a rewind-worthy moment.

But this is Kanye’s remix, and he’s stepped up his lyrical game to make sure his verses are the ones people will remember when the track ends. The quotables are many. “I’m on my Van Gogh, I don’t hear s—,” he playfully boasts. A few lines later, he’s getting more explicitly political than he has since at least 2005, to my recollection: “Bring our troops back from Iraq, keep our troops out of Iran/So the next couple bars, I’ma drop them in Islam/They say as-salaam alaikum, say wa alaikum as-salaam/That’s no Oscar Mayer bacon, you should run and tell your mom/Now the question is, how we gon’ stop the next Vietnam/Keep Flex out of Korea, ’cause you know we drop bombs.” Others may disagree, but personally, I love Kanye’s anti-war stance. It says he’s not trying to sell records or smooth the way for his comeback; he’s speaking his mind no matter who it ticks off, and I’d respect that boldness even if I didn’t agree with his politics. (One nitpick: “Islam” is not actually a language, but I guess “I’ma drop them in Arabic” wouldn’t have rhymed as well?)

That’s not all! After the beat switches up to a Snap! flip courtesy of Swizz Beatz (“I’ve got the power!”), Kanye goes back to those lingering hurt feelings from last year’s VMAs. “See, I dreamed my whole life that I could rhyme with Jigga,” he spits, “Now Jay my big brother and Bey my little sister/And excuse me, but you can’t see my little sister.” Translation: He still thinks “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.” Even if you think he acted like a schmuck at the VMAs, there’s something kind of sweet about how loyal he is to his close friends. I wonder how this will affect Chelsea Handler’s dream of reuniting West and Swift at this year’s VMAs…

Have you heard the “Power” remix? Looking forward to West’s new album this fall? Think he and Jay-Z are on point or over the line here? Sound off in the comments.

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

More news from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Chelsea Handler to reunite Kanye West and Taylor Swift at the VMAs?
Kanye West and Justin Bieber: Raekwon tells us all about their unlikely collab
Travis Barker’s solo debut to be packed with A-list rappers
Eminem-Rihanna collab leads Billboard singles chart for fifth week
MGMT play New York’s Radio City Music Hall: on the scene

Comments (80 total) Add your comment
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  • Mike

    Kanye seriously needs to get over himself.

    • Sorry

      My favorite living rappers are on THIS track. :)

    • Jason

      Would any of you listen to Britney Spears’ opinion on foreign policy? Then why would you care what Kanye thinks, about anything?! Isn’t he like the simplest, least complex “rapper” there is? He’s like Will Smith, if Will Smith was an arrogant, simple minded, ego-driven maniac.

  • Funback Joe

    I agree with Mike. The dude’s washed up.

  • Ally

    :( Come on Jay, really?

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    Way to go Kanye, just when everyone was getting over Taylorgate, you bring it back to remind everyone what a jerk you are.

    (Yes I know it was JayZ who said it but it is Kanye’s song, don’t tell me he doesn’t have some control over it)

    • Nathan

      Best thing that ever happened to Swift, led to her getting a boatload of undeserved Grammys via sympathy vote. She should be sending Kanye a thank you card every day for the rest of her life.

      • Nerwen Aldarion

        I think she earned those Grammys, critics agree that her album Fearless was very well put together and written (heck she’s my age and writes all of her songs)

        I don’t think she is the greatest singer since sliced bread but 2009 was her year because she EARNED it, not because of Kanye’s temper tantrum. She was already doing well before Kanye came in. All he did was make sure that the night she won the VMA awards nobody was grumbling that Beyonce should have won instead.

      • u

        She writes her lyrics like a five-year-old and can barely sing. There’s a reason why music critics these days don’t get much respect.

      • NolaDiva

        you are sooo right!!!!

      • hj

        hey stupid, grammy’s are based of record sales. therefor she can’t win them based off of the sypathy vote. ignorance

      • Jo

        Actually sales are supposed to be taken out of the equation when it comes to casting votes for Grammy winners. To be completely honest Taylor Swift in no way should have won when she was competing against Micheal Jackson in the same category. Granted Micheal was nominated due to his death but in any event he should have won over Taylor!

    • Patricia

      When I read the headline in my feed, I first thhugot that you were reporting that he had employed a tweetposter’, ie someone who posted tweets on his behalf I have just realised that all BBC twitter feeds are generated by third parties. I have been blocked from following twitter.com/BBC as I complained (using an @reply) about affiliate links that they were dropping in! I also complained to the BBC as at that time I thhugot it was legit, so hopefully something will be done. I am surprised I followed the account in the first place without noticing.

  • Brad

    Agreed, and the EW Kanye unconditional lovefest is now beyond tedious.

    • erin

      Almost as tedious as Taylor Swift’s music.

    • Person Who Talks

      That is EXACTLY what I’ve been thinking!!!!

  • whatevs

    I disagree about his politically charged lyrics meaning he doesn’t care what people think of him. He just knows that he’s surrounded by peers and fans who have the same views he does.

    • erin

      There was a time when it was par for the course for rap lyrics to be political. Sigh…..

  • Metty

    umm..hey Kanye? Dude, we brought our troops out of Iraq. You’ll need to change that line now ;)

    • erin

      There’s still 50,000 non-combat troops there.

  • nancy

    Prez Obama said it all when he called Kanye West a Jackass. A jackass who’s full of himself. Give it up, bro’.

    • Sorry

      But what is Obama’s approval rating these days? Oops!!

      • Nathan

        41% and dropping, that’s what happens when you let the enemy open shop on your home turf.

      • Nerwen Aldarion

        ROFTLOL Sorry wins this!!!

      • erin

        Yeah, Nathan, Americans are such enemies.

    • dee

      Jay Z and Kanye just go away. They’ll do anything for attention.

      • erin

        Crazy professional musicians wanting people to be aware of their music.

  • Tn

    I for one can’t wait for the album. Love him or hate him, but all of his albums have been good IMO.

    • Nathan

      They have indeed.

    • v

      as PT said these is a sucker born every minute…

  • SB

    Let it go people, Kanye’s here to stay! You love to come comment on stories about him admit, it makes your day. He’s a great artist and he will have an amazing album in the next few months! This was an awesome remix!

    • Keyon

      No qeuostin this is the place to get this info, thanks y’all.

  • Brad

    You’re a big witless douche, Tev. Your homophobic comment and obvious illiteracy (that means you can’t write properly, bro!) show what a trashy loser you are.

  • J

    When that beat flipped with “I Got The Power” Snap!! Kanye killed that verse. HOT!

    • Jay

      Yep, that’s the best part :)

  • Matt

    I don’t know what you all are talking about. Ye and Jay go super hard on this track. This is the best I’ve heard Ye in a long long time.

  • Astro Boy

    That second half when he samples Snap is fire!

  • the girl

    As I listened to this song, I realized just how empty this past year has been without Kanye West. This remix is absolutely amazing. Jay-Z is absolutely amazing. Swizz Beats is absolutely amazing. Kanye West is absolutely phenomenal. I am so impressed by the display of talent. Team Kanye all day everyday.

    • Jonathan

      Preach! People need to stop hating; if the dude’s got talent, which he does, he deserves to speak his mind. No one else has the balls to.

    • sparkle the gym bag

      poor sick misguided people who thin that Kaynek being an obnoxious bore means he has talent no wonder this crap feeds the mindless masses

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