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Blood on the Leaves

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"Blood on the Leaves"
Song by Kanye West
from the album Yeezus
ReleasedJune 18, 2013
Recorded2013
Genre
Length6:00
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Blood on the Leaves" is a song by American hip hop recording artist Kanye West from his sixth solo studio album Yeezus. It was produced by West, Hudson Mohawke, Lunice, Carlos Broady, 88-Keys, Arca and Mike Dean. Plans were for West to release the song as a single at one point, but he never did so. The song contains samples of Nina Simone's 1965 rendition of Billie Holiday's song "Strange Fruit" and duo TNGHT's song "R U Ready".

The song was universally acclaimed by music critics. It charted in the United States in September 2013. A music video was set to be directed by David Lynch, but the shooting never began. Since release, West has performed the song live on multiple occasions, including at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards and on the Saint Pablo Tour in 2016.

Background and composition[edit | edit source]

Nina Simone in 1965
The song prominently interpolates Nina Simone's rendition of "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday.

"Blood on the Leaves" was originally supposed to be the intro to the album instead of "On Sight".[2] In November 2013, Hudson Mohawke announced the song as being the next single by West via Twitter after "Bound 2" in August 2013, but this release was never followed through with.[3] A remix was shared by Nicolas Jaar in February 2016.[4]

Within the track, a sample is included of Nina Simone's 1965 rendition of "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday and Simone has been sampled on various occasions in the history of rap.[5] A sample of horns from musical duo TNGHT's song "R U Ready" is mashed together with the Simone sample and TNGHT contributed to the production of the track.[6][5] West also interpolates the hook of rapper C-Murder's 2000 song "Down for My N's".[1]

Song analysis[edit | edit source]

Gil Kaufman of MTV called "Blood on the Leaves": "a churning anthem about conspicuous consumption" and: "[an] example of West's signature dichotomy in which he melds the sacred and profane."[1] The original version of Nina Simone's "Strange Fruit" recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 has been deemed: "shorthand for music that deals with racial injustice."[1]

Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork called the song: "a nightmarish story of divorce and betrayal"[7], while Jody Rosen of Vulture stated that: "[Kanye is] well aware how audacious to interpolate that sacred song into a monstrously self-pitying ... melodrama about what a drag it is when your side-piece won't abort your love child."[8] Nicholas Troester of conservative magazine First Things labeled the song as an "anti-abortion anthem" and thought the focus of the song is: "the tremendous selfishness of adults who cannot understand the importance of families or children."[9]

Live performances[edit | edit source]

West performed the song live at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. The performance was notable for its minimal lighting and forest-themed backdrop. Moments before taking the stage, West posted a photo of the backcloth on Twitter with the caption; "it's a tree that was used for lynching." Later he posted a message on his website, "This tree was used for lynching. Those who were murdered are buried in the ground around the tree. Blood on the leaves."[10] The song was performed live by West on Later... with Jools Holland in September 2013.[11] West omitted Jay-Z's name from the song lyrics when performing live at the X Games Austin 2014 Music Festival.[12] West performed it live at Glastonbury in June 2015.[13] "Blood on the Leaves" was performed live by West on the first show of the Saint Pablo Tour in August 2016.[14]

Release and reception[edit | edit source]

"Blood on the Leaves" was released on June 18, 2013, as the seventh track on West's sixth studio album Yeezus.[15] The song received universal acclaim from music critics. Rolling Stone ranked the song at number 20 on their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013.[16] Pitchfork positioned the song at number 11 on their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013.[17] It was ranked at number 24 on XXL's list of the best songs of 2013. They commented, "Mixing personal memories of a menacing relationship with the horrors of lynching for a record is often looked at as a blasphemous feat at first—but Kanye West made the combination work. Sampling Nina Simone’s 'Strange Fruit,' West’s 'Blood on the Leaves' from his sixth studio LP 'Yeezus' was a gorgeous metaphor of a failed relationship touted with bass, towering horns, and auto-tune effect reminiscent of '808s & Heartbreak'."[18]

The song impressed director David Lynch: "I think it's one of the most modern pieces and so minimal, so powerful but at the same time so beautiful. It's a great, great song".[19]

Chart performance[edit | edit source]

Upon the release of the album, the track charted at number 91 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and disappeared from the chart afterwards until making a re-entry at its peak position of number 89 on September 14, 2013.[20][21] The track charted at number 28 on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart initially, then went on to peak at number 27 in the same week as reaching its peak position on the Hot 100 and spent a total of five weeks on the chart.[22][23] In France, the track managed to chart at number 131.[24]

As of August 15, 2018, it has been certified Platinum in the United States.[25]

Music video[edit | edit source]

David Lynch was supposed to direct a music video for "Blood on the Leaves", but the filming didn't end up ever happening.[26] This was due to Lynch not managing to come up with any ideas for the video that he thought West would like and Lynch felt that he had let West down a little bit.[26]

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Australian Streaming Tracks (ARIA)[27] 44
France (SNEP)[28] 131
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[29] 174
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[30] 38
US Billboard Hot 100[31] 89
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[32] 27

Certifications[edit | edit source]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[33] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kaufman, Gil (June 19, 2013). "Kanye West's 'Blood On The Leaves' And The History Of 'Strange Fruit'". MTV News. Archived from the original on June 24, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  2. Dombal, Ryan (June 24, 2013). "The Yeezus Sessions". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on November 6, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  3. Lobenfeld, Claire (November 26, 2013). "Kanye's Next Single is "Blood On The Leaves"". Complex. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  4. Strauss, Matthew (February 10, 2016). "Listen to Nicolas Jaar's Remix of Kanye West's "Blood on the Leaves"". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Siegemund-Broka, Austin (July 10, 2017). "6 Nina Simone Songs Brilliantly Sampled by Rappers". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  6. Parizot, Matthew (June 12, 2018). "Kanye West Expresses Love For "Deadpool"; Offers Use of His Music". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on January 7, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  7. Siegemund-Broka, Austin (June 18, 2013). "Kanye West's 'Yeezus': What the Critics Are Saying". Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  8. Jody Rosen. "Rosen on Kanye West's Yeezus: The Least Sexy Album of 2013". Vulture. Archived from the original on 2013-07-05. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  9. Nicholas Troester. "Kanye West's "Blood on the Leaves": An Anti-Abortion Anthem?". First Things. Archived from the original on 2019-02-04. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  10. Coulehan, Erin (August 26, 2013). "Kayne West Performs 'Blood on the Leaves' at the VMAs". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 14, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  11. Smith, Trevor (September 21, 2013). "Kanye West Performs "Blood On The Leaves" Live On Jools Holland". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  12. Young, Alex (June 10, 2014). "Why is Kanye West omitting references to Jay Z in his lyrics?". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on February 4, 2019. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  13. West, Kanye (June 26, 2015). "Blood On The Leaves (Glastonbury 2015) - Kanye West Song". BBC. BBC Music. Archived from the original on January 27, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
  14. Britton, Luke (August 26, 2016). "Watch Kanye West perform on a flying stage during first gig of Saint Pablo tour". NME. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  15. Jeffries, David. "Yeezus – Kanye West". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 21, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  16. "100 Best Songs of 2013". Rolling Stone. December 4, 2013. Archived from the original on December 7, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  17. "The Top 100 Tracks of 2013". Pitchfork. December 16, 2013. Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  18. "The 25 Best Songs Of 2013". XXL. December 25, 2013. Archived from the original on December 25, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  19. Grow, Kory (April 30, 2014). "12 Things We Learned From David Lynch's Talk at BAM". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on May 14, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.
  20. "Music: Top 100 Songs – July 6, 2013". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  21. "Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves – Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 8, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  22. "Music: Top Hip-Hop Songs / R&B Songs Chart – July 6, 2013". Billboard. Archived from the original on December 10, 2018. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  23. "Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves – Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on January 8, 2019. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  24. "Discographie Kanye West". lescharts.com (in French). Archived from the original on December 1, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2019.CS1 maint: Unrecognized language (link)
  25. "Gold & Platinum - Kanye West - Blood On The Leaves". RIAA. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Reed, Ryan (August 29, 2014). "David Lynch Opted Out of Kanye West's 'Blood' Video". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  27. "Issue1218" (PDF). Pandora Archive. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  28. "Lescharts.com – Kanye West – Blood on the Leaves" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  29. "Chart: CLUK Update 29.06.2013 (wk25)". Zobbel.de. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  30. "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  31. "Kanye West Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  32. "Kanye West Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  33. "American single certifications – Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit | edit source]


This article "Blood on the Leaves" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles copied from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be seen on the Draft Namespace of Wikipedia and not main one.


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