Old Kanye is back! New Kanye is gone! Throw open your windows and rejoice!
Mary J. Blige released her new track “Love Yourself” on March 31, 2017. Over blaring horns Mary croons that loving yourself is the key to overcoming any tribulation. She also tells us that you have to love yourself if your going to love anyone else.
Kanye has never had any trouble with loving himself, at least not on the surface, but who knows? The song is being touted as Kanye returning to his roots, but there are some telltale signs that his latest verse might be more of the same Kanye we’ve gotten to know in the last couple of years.
He opens his verse with the declaration “I decided not to use my color as a handicap.” It’s great that Kanye doesn’t feel hampered by his skin color, but this line feels very close to a right-wing Thomas-Sowell viewpoint of how minority peoples should overcome obstacles. That is to say, Kanye sounds like he’s trying to tell folks to “work harder” and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”
And all of that from one line! To be fair to Kanye he does go onto to talk about police violence (“Another kid just got shot/They can’t find the assailant”), but the strain of rugged individualism (the same spirit that founded the country!) is present throughout the verse. The song does seems like the same old Kanye to me; he has always been many things all wrapped up into one package.
Mary J. Blige’s new album will be out on April 28.