Kanye West. Picture: Bang Showbiz
Kanye West. Picture: Bang Showbiz

Kanye West's 'Violent Crimes' spoke to me as a South African

By Mcebo Mpungose Time of article published Jun 6, 2018

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Many must be wondering what the fuss is about regarding the "cancelled one", Kanye West. I refer to him as "cancelled" because he was slammed by many after his comments regarding 400 years of slavery; which he blatantly labelled as a choice.

“400 years? That sounds like a choice,” he said during an interview with TMZ. #IfSlaveryWasAChoice trended and there were calls to boycott West's music following his comments, which he went on to defend on Twitter.

Well for eons of years humans have been known for their hypocrisy, and we’ve been given another example of this recently with Kanye West’s latest offering, Ye, flying off the charts on its first week. 

For the past few days, Apple Music and Spotify top spots have been occupied entirely by Ye, a seven-track album. My focus, however, is on the outro, Violent Crimes. As a South African, I couldn’t help but relate to this song especially at this moment in time where women abuse is probably at an all-time high in the country.

A day doesn’t go by without reading a headline of another woman being brutally murdered by, often, their lover, raped by a family member who’s meant to be protecting her. A lot has been said regarding ways to combat women abuse, but much of it falls down to the behavior exhibited by men in society. 

Violent Crimes by Kanye is a self-reflective song, a conversation with self many of us men should have with ourselves before we even have daughters.

To best describe the song, here’s an extract submitted on Genius by a fan: " Violent Crimes chronicles Kanye’s shift in perspective towards women with the birth of his children, specifically his daughters North and Chicago. He also brings up his fears about their future, and the ways they will be treated by those who have yet to have their perspectives changed.”

From the beginning of the track, the tone is set by 070 Shake who highlight the need for society to wake up to what’s happening around us all. ‘They gotta repaint the colors, the lie is wearin' off. Reality is upon us, colors drippin' off…’ With social media campaigns such as #MeToo and #NotInMyName, reality has been upon us for real. Suddenly we’ve found out that things we think only happen to ‘normal’ people have been happening in the most ‘glamorous’ movie and series productions in Hollywood.

Kanye West follows this up by opening his verse saying:

“Ni**as (men) is savage, ni**as is monsters

Ni**as is pimps, ni**as is players

'Til ni**as (men) have daughters, now they precautious

Father, forgive me, I'm scared of the karma

'Cause now I see women as somethin' to nurture

Not somethin' to conquer..”

Most men who grow up to have daughters can relate to the opening lines by Mr. West. In a way, you can sum his verse as a warning to his daughters that Men are Trash. But it only takes them to have a daughter to realise and admit this. 

This is the type of mentality that needs to change, globally. We know our trashy ways and violent crimes by other men, and it’s high time we changed the script. This is a not a ‘not all men’ song, it’s a song that paints us all with one brush, and it’s up to us to change its colours.

This article first appeared on Organic Mag.

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