Kanye West returns with 'Power' and then some

Does the rapper/producer put his head down or hoist it up?

<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

With an "Oh... hey!", Kanye West is back.

A new track from the superstar rapper and producer has surfaced and while UMG has spent the morning yoinking it from the YouTubes and what-have-you, its heft and durability is too much to keep bottled.

The King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" sample is appropriate, as, in a way, that's just what Ye is, at least in this straight-up rap. He's irritable, at once conciliatory, almost apologetic, but then graphically insulting and narcissistic, self-aware, naive, emotional.

"I was drinking earlier," he raps, "now I'm driving."

It's evened out by a somewhat wandering, suicide-watching verse from talented crooner Dwele (who also guested on "Flashing Lights"), though the bass and the drums of the beat keep it urgent and interesting.

With Kanye's voice that high in the registers, it's a hard task to growl. But that's just what he does, delivering a track without the namby pamby heartache to trip him up. He name-checks "No man should have all that power," ironically then name-checking President Obama and chronic parody masters and peanut gallery, the cast of "Saturday Night Live," who Ye tells to kiss his a**. And to take it a step further: "They can kiss my a**hole / I'm an a**hole? / You n*ggas got joookes / You short-minded n*ggas."

But it's the power of the haters that put fuel in Kanye's car, to drive it, to take his metaphor further. When the controversy of his public persona met with personal tragedy (his loss of his mom, his break-up from his fiancee) and the meteoric/meat-headed rise to fame, it finally led to some quiet months to, I dunno, maybe read a book or clean his studio, and stew a little on the hate.

So maybe Kanye West is an a**hole, but here, he wears it well.

While "Power" may or may not be included on West's "Good A** Job" -- ETA TBA -- it is a strong return, and it leaves us, well, counting the hours. While it has all the defiance of Eminem's summer jam "Not Afriad," its got a ferocity all Yeezy's own.

As previously reported, Pete Rock, Q-Tip and RZA are reportedly working with West on what may shape up to be a return to a fully rap-based album.

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