Kanye West - "Power"

Kanye West
Kanye West. Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Bottom Line

First, he cooked up the hardest beat talent can buy. Then he pummeled it into submission. The outcome? A double dose of genius.

Pros

  • Testament to Kanye's renewed vitality
  • Infectious beat
  • Dwele's impressive guest spot

Cons

  • None

Facts

  • First leaked track from Good Ass Job
  • Features Dwele
  • Self-produced
  • Samples "21st Century Schizoid Man" - King Crimson; "Afroamerica" - Continent Number 6; and "It's Your Thing" - Cold Grits. 
  • Kanye reportedly spent 500 hours recording the song in Hawaii. 
  • The song was originally intended to be given to rapper Rhymefest.

 

In his words

"I didn't write my raps down for my first four albums — like at all, I did it from the head straight to the booth. But on this last album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I wrote it. I really put myself in the zone that my life was dependent on the success of this album. With that being the case, I said, ‘You know what? No matter what anybody says about me, they won’t — I can write something that can make someone that hates me the most have to really respect or love the song.’ So even a song like ‘Power,’ I spent 5,000 hours writing it, and it’s really the psychology behind the lyrics; it’s not just blatantly, ‘I’ve got all the power’ — ‘No one man should have all that power.’ It’s worded it in a really sensitive way that opens it up for everyone.

Even if I use first person and say ‘I, I, I,’ it’s always for everyone."

Review: Kanye West - "Power"

I'm about to break an unwritten rule of music criticism. The one about never proclaiming your unfettered love for any artist, song, or album. There's one main reason critics restrain their enthusiasm when reviewing an artist.

It's important for a music critic to remain fair and objective in order to maintain credibility.So, at the risk of throwing mine out of the window, I'd like to say that I'm in complete awe of "Power." It's all of 'Ye's finest qualities on display. It's the coruscating beat that brings "Power" to life. It's the triumphant chant. It's the hand claps. It's the vivid lyrics, replete with bumper-sticker worthy one-liners. Top it off with Dwele's infectious vocals and you've got the perfect comeback anthem, Kanye-style.

Kanye is an in-your-face lyricist. In the midst of a red-hot rhyming session ("This is way too much, I need a moment"), he pauses not to catch his breath but to announce that he's "killing this sh-t." You can call him narcissistic, but you can't call him a liar.

Sample Lyrics

I'm living' in that 21st century
Doing something mean to it
Do it better than anybody you ever seen do it
Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it
I guess every superhero need his theme music

No one man should have all that power
The clock's ticking', I just count the hours
Stop tripping', I'm tripping' off the power
(21st century schizoid man)

The system broken, the schools closed, the prisons open
We ain't got nothing' to lose, ma' fucka', we rolling
Huh?

Ma'fucka', we rolling'
With some light-skinned girls and some Kelly Rowlands
In this white man's world, we the ones chosen
So goodnight, cruel world, I see you in the mornin'
Huh? I see you in the mornin'
This is way too much, I need a moment

No one man should have all that power