Initial Review: WASH US IN THE BLOOD — Kanye West (feat. Travis Scott)
“Ye reunites with Travis to bring back that hard-as-nails Yeezus Sound.” reads Apple Music’s track description for Kanye’s latest track ‘Wash Us in the Blood’. What?? It may have a that fast-paced, trap-like feel that Yeezus brought, but no this isn’t Yeezus. To compare the two is like trying to say Drake does an amazing rendition of a Playboi Carti baby voice on “Pain 1993” (mid).
Still this song does more than previously anticipated (by me) [and probably most Kanye fans]. When I heard the track title ‘Wash Us in the Blood’ I thought, “oh great Kanye is going to continue shoving this praise Jesus thing down our throats and ruin more potential could be songs/albums/careers”. This track was not that. Everything from that speech intro using that dark “devour” to having that Ronny J/Young Thug tag let me know this was NOT going to be a continuation of that flop ‘Jesus Is King’. Rather, what we got in the first half of the track was a solid trap beat track with Kanye giving us another “meh” verse that we’ve come to expect from him in the P.Y.T. (Post Yeezus Times) [sorry Michael Jackson]
The second half of the track was a return to that latest and non-greatest form of Kanye. “Holy Spirit Come Down” was the initial signal that Kanye was about to Kamikaze this track before he even could allow Travis to hit eject.
Poor Travis only got some small verse thrown in here and wasn’t at the top of his game. Can’t help but feel like this man is exhausted from the countless tracks he has been on recently. He didn’t say or add much to this track other than a “hey there’s Travis!”, which we already knew as he was listed as a feature.
What I truly enjoy about this Track is the music video that dropped alongside it. It’s got tons to unpack inside of it and a lot of different symbolism (some of which I struggle to put a finger on/name). For starters, it opens with a video from the recent ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests where a cop (whose face is distorted on video) seems to be passive-aggressively threatening one of the protestors and is then pulled away by an African-American police officer who then yells at the distorted-faced cop. This is the first of many references to the ongoing movement.
Kanye seems to have some weird 3-D digital mask thing that’s attempting to take over him like it’s Venom from Spiderman (maybe a hint at that Mason Margiela mask wanting to come back on and a return to form?).
Other notable references in this video w/ timestamps:
Two different African-Americans having panic attacks (I think?) (0:44)
Two guys fighting and one gets knocked TF out (0:58) . But holy shit seriously, imagine getting knocked out on a Kanye west music video??? And it’s now on the internet forever, with millions of views???????? Poor guy
Kanye using his Jedi Force powers from the Saint Pablo tour (1:07)
Snippet form Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Element’ music video (1:10)
Ahmaud Arbery running before his heinous lynching (1:21)
Some GTA gameplay basically the duration of the Travis verse (2:38)
THE SUN? (1:29) (2:24)
Molotov cocktail being thrown (at a building already on fire?) in reverse (2:39)
Deleted scenes from Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift (2:41)
^^ People in crowed getting WASTED by same Tokyo Drift cars(2:56)
COVID-19 cell? (3:08)
Kanye rapping early remnants of this track to no beat while North smiles in dances in the foreground of a ‘Sunday Service’ rehearsal (3:16)
Overall this track was not as bad as what Kanye put out on Jesus is King. Doesn’t come across as overly preachy. There’s a ton of symbolism and referencing in both the lyrics and music video that I don’t do enough justice to here, but regardless Kanye seems to be making a strong pro-black statement with this track. It’s an okay song that could possibly grow on me if Kanye allows that venom-like mask to take over and we see that return to form. I could then possibly view this track as the steppingstone that brought my Yeezus (who is King) back.
Link to music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0U2QUGKbSE
Songs played when writing:
Wash Us in the Blood — Kanye West (feat. Travis Scott)
On Sight — Kanye West
Black Skinhead — Kanye West
Pain 1993 — Drake (feat. Playboi Carti)
[Album] Mordechai — Khruangbin