As Kanye West and Kim Kardashian welcome their daughter into the world, I’m reminded of his Jay-Z collab “New Day” that appears on their 2011 “Watch the Throne” album.
I like the “Watch the Throne” album, but “New Day” caught my attention because of its message of fatherhood. Neither of the artists had children at the time, so it was interesting to hear them describe how they desired to parent their unborn sons.
Kanye’s verse was particularly engaging because it displayed a humbler side of his personality as he expressed regret for some of his public dramas.
Below, I repost an excerpt of “Kanye West and Jay-Z Anticipate Fatherhood on ‘New Day’,” an article I wrote when the album was released. Though the “Yeezus” rapper recently told The New York Times that he intended to keep his family life private, I wonder if his views on child rearing are the same as expressed on this song.
… After five tracks of boasting, the hip hop heroes take a moment to stop beating on their chests to actually examine their mistakes on "New Day." In the song produced by Kanye, Wu-Tang frontman RZA, and Mike Dean, Jay-Z and Kanye write from the perspective of being fathers. Kanye even expresses remorse for bashing former President George Bush back in 2005.
Jay-Z and Kanye vow to help their unborn sons avoid the obstacles they faced amid their highly successful careers.
Kanye's powerful verse comes up first in the sequence and is most grabbing because the Chicago rapper/producer is equally popular for his media outbursts as he is for his celebrated works. While Kanye has admitted his inability to resist debauchery on past songs "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "All Falls Down," "New Day" digs deeper.
On the slow, thumping track that samples Nina Simone's "Feeling Good," Kanye says he doesn't want his son to have an ego, be blindsided by the limelight, be unable to exercise discretion when making political statements at televised events supporting national disasters, or lose his mother tragically.
Kanye's statement "George Bush doesn't care about black people," made at a 2005 Hurricane Katrina telethon, has haunted him since. The backlash resurfaced last fall when Bush addressed the diss in his book "Decision Points" and later told Matt Lauer that the criticism was a low point of his presidency.
Kanye rhymes that he would help his son make better choices. "And I'll never let 'em ever hit the telethon, I mean even if people dyin' and the world ends. See, I just want him to have an easy life, not like Yeezy life. Just want him to be someone people like."
While Kanye has represented himself as a convincing narcissist, he reveals a shocking insecurity on "New Day," saying point blank, "Don't be like your daddy."
On Kanye’s 2008 “808’s and Heartbreak” album, he also alluded to his desire to have children. On the song “Welcome to Heartbreak,” he rapped about an awkward run in with an old friend.
He rhymed, “My friend showed me pictures of his kids, and all I could show him was pictures of my cribs. He said his daughter got a brand new report card, and all I got was a brand new sports car.”
Well, Kanye will have some photos to show this guy the next time he sees him.