West premiered this self-professed theme song May 18, 2013 on Saturday Night Live.
"For my theme song,
my leather black jeans on
My by any means on."
West has strong words for the mainstream media's portrayal of him, especially those who criticize his relationship with model girlfriend Kim Kardishan. He's likening his choice of a Caucasian woman to that of an ape in a white man's world, failing to appreciate the beauty of the beast:
"Enter the kingdom
But watch who you bring home.
You see a black man with a white woman.
At the top floor they gone come to kill King Kong."
Chicago is one of America's most violent places, and here West references the tragedies in his native city claiming that the media have as little concern for poor black kids, as they do about dead Iraqis.
"If I don't get ran out by Catholics
Here come some conservative Baptists
Saying he overreacting
Like them black kids in Chiraq bitch."
The rhyme echoes previous sentiments West has rhymed about on songs like 2007's "Everything I Am
" and The Throne's "Murder to Excellence
" in 2011.
This dark, near-tribal tune features production from the French duo Daft Punk who worked with West on several of Yeezus' tracks. This was the first one that the French duo recorded for the album and it originated from some unused material recorded for the robots' own Random Access Memories. "The drums we had recorded earlier during the recording of our album, so we had those," Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter explained to Vibe magazine. "It was a great twist of pushing the envelope."
After West performed the song on Saturday Night Live, many reviewers cited its similarities to Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People
." It was initially suggested that the tune sampled the Shock Rocker's 1996 hit, but West clarified that the beat was made from scratch and it was him screaming and breathing on the track.
Co-producer Travis Scott recalled to MTV News how he was blown away by the changes that West had made to this song within the span of about a week. "I was [in Paris] and I left and came back to the States to do the [MTV] Woodie Awards. When I came back, he played me what changed in the next week, just new ideas and s--t, man, and 'Black Skinhead' was really coming to life. I was like, 'Man, I'm learning how to make an album; that s--t is coming to life. It was like a turning point right there."
The song featured in the trailer for Martin Scorsese's crime drama The Wolf Of Wall Street.
Def Jam released this as Yeezus' first single in July 2013, despite West originally stating that there wouldn't be any tracks serviced to radio.
The Ku Klux Klan-inspired music video was directed by fashion photographer Nick Knight (Lady Gaga's "Born This Way
"). It shows footage used in the background of West's performance of the song on Saturday Night Live
According to co-producer Mike Dean, this was almost dropped from Yeezus for sounding "too much like a soccer song."
A remix featuring singer Miley Cyrus was recorded on August 25, 2013, shortly after the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. She sings the Tears For Fears song "Everybody Wants To Rule The World
" over the top of West's track. Travi$ Scott and Lupe Fiasco also lend their vocals to the new version, which was leaked on January 21, 2016.
This was featured in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad during a scene that features Floyd Lawton/Deadshot in Belle Reve.
Before naming the album Yeezus, West considered calling it Thank God for Drugs.