Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves” single, released just days after his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, gave birth to the couple’s first child, glorifies abortion and devalues the responsibilities of fatherhood. The song is one of 10 abrasive tracks in the sacrilegiously titled album Yeezus that blasphemes God and degrades women. The title combines West’s nickname, Ye, and Jesus.
“Blood on the Leaves” begins with an excerpt from Nina Simone’s song “Strange Fruit,” first sung by Billie Holiday in 1939, referring to black lynchings in the South. West correlates black lynchings in the 30’s with relationship and commitment lynchings for many men who lack responsibility today.
The song describes a man who has to tell his wife that he has a pregnant mistress who wants to keep the baby. He doesn’t tell her out of honesty or love, but because the pastor says, “you can’t abort that,” and now the truth is out. The man in the song laments that the cost of a child will keep him from buying a new car or snorting his cocaine. The song is littered with profanity and other offensive references.
Despite the degrading lyrics, critics praised Yeezus. Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone gave Yeezus a 4.5 out of 5 stars: “Yeezus is the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up. … Every mad genius has to make a record like this at least once in his career.” Ray Rahman of Entertainment Weeklygraded Yeezus an A-. Randall Roberts of Los Angeles Times gave it 3.5 out of 4 stars: “Yeezus is the most musically adventurous album West has ever released, a wildly experimental work …”
A week before West’s baby girl was born, he said in an interview with The New York Times, “I would do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother. As simple as that,” and “I don’t want to explain too much into what my thoughts on, you know, fatherhood are, because I’ve not fully developed those thoughts yet. I don’t have a kid yet.”
It sounds like there is a disconnect between West’s lyrics and his own family values.
A portion of the lyrics from “Blood on the Leaves”:
Now you sittin’ courtside, wifey on the other side
Gotta keep ‘em separated, I call that apartheid
Then she said she impregnated, that’s the night your heart died
Then you gotta go and tell your girl and report that
Main reason cause your pastor said you can’t abort that
Now your driver say that new Benz you can’t afford that
All that cocaine on the table you can’t snort that