“Violent Crimes” by Kanye West
The first couple of passages of “Violent Crimes”, i.e. its intro and chorus, leave something to be desired in terms of understandability. But such challenges are to be expected considering that this song comes from an era in which that type of artistry, if you will, was sorta the norm for Kanye West.
But as for the actual verse, it is more straightforward. By the time this track came out Kanye had three children, all of whom were really young and two of which are female. So what the lyrics represent is him basically ruminating on what it means, both emotionally and psychologically, to be a father of girls specifically.
And in that regard, there’s a lot being put forth. Owing to that, in this analysis, we will try to encapsulate the main points of the verse in a linear fashion.
Damn these N-g-as!
It starts off with Yeezus dissing “nig-as”, which in this context we will take as an allusion to men in general. As implied, men are such that they behave unscrupulously when it comes to sex. Well, that is until they have daughters of their own. Then, as with Kanye himself, they become concerned with “karma” coming back to bite them in the behind.
In other words, just as they exploited women, now they fear some other dude coming along and doing the same type of dirt to their daughters. But as also implied, such actions on the part of people like West aren’t always because they’re bad guys per se. Instead, it took someone like him to actually have a daughter in order to understand that women are to be ‘nurtured’ as opposed to ‘conquered’.
West then proceeds to imagine himself as the type of dad who will vigorously scrutinize his daughters’ romantic interests once they come of age. And again, his willingness to “beat… a-s” in the process is indicative of his fatherly love.
I Hope My Daughters are the Conservative Ones
The rapper then goes on to “pray” that his daughters will be the conservative types, i.e. women who aren’t preoccupied with looks or inclined such that they show off their bodies. This is despite the fact that is exactly that type of woman that their “mommy” is.
My goal isn’t to stifle the Freedom of my Daughters!
Relatedly, Kanye proceeds to point out that he’s not trying to stifle their freedom or anything like that. Instead, he knows how n*g-as feen once they see a girl they want to bone. And being that we do live in the age of social media, West also acknowledges how too much sex appeal can lead to a troubled online presence.
As inferred in the following bars, such fears are Kanye’s way of recognizing that his daughter(s) does indeed have her own free will and is likely to make mistakes along the way. Or put differently raising a girl as a genuinely-concerned father ain’t easy, because when she does mess up, if he responds too harshly, then it’s like he’d be pushing her further down a rabbit hole.
I feel the Plights of Domestic Violence Victims
And relatedly Yeezus appears to go off on a tangent, whereas he sympathizes with victims of domestic violence. That is to say that at first it appears he is doing so within the context of a lady being abused by her spouse, but later it seems he may have shifted the focus to the possibility of him being a physically-abusive father.
In any event, what he seems to be saying is something like let him with no sin throw the first blow. And that idea, i.e. being wise enough to know that he too has the potential to have a negative effect on his daughter’s development, takes the verse full circle, i.e. back to the point of mentioning how abusive men can be towards their women.
The above stated, in the aftermath of this song dropping, West did kinda chickened out by revealing that the above was by and large penned by a ghostwriter in Pardison Fontaine.
But still, since rap is recognized as a genre where misogyny is regularly practiced, we have to conclude by saying that it did take a considerable degree on his part to not only recite these lyrics and release this track.
And some of these predictions have already proven true in a way, in that since breaking up with Kim Kardashian, Kanye has publicly questioned her parenting style, including stuff like the fact she let their oldest daughter, North, become semi-independently TikTok active earlier in 2022. The girl was actually eight years old at the time.
And all things considered, we can say that yes, given the nature of this song coupled with West’s personality and contrasting that with Kardashian’s style, he is likely to experience quite a few migraines as a concerned dad of his young celebrity daughters in the coming years.
Release of “Violent Crimes”
This track is from “Ye”, Kanye West’s eighth studio album. Ye was launched via GOOD Music and Def Jam Records on 1 June 2018.
Credits for “Violent Crimes”
The multi-talented Kanye West had a hand in both writing and producing this track. So did tenured hip-hop mogul Irv Gotti and a regular collaborator of Gotti’s Murder Inc. label, 7 Aurelius.
The other credited writers of “Violent Crimes” are:
- Pardison Fontaine
- Malik Yusef
- Mike Dean
- 070 Shake
- Kevin Parker (of Tame Impala Fame)
- Nicki Minaj
- Ty Dolla Sign
Ty Dolla and 070 Shake served additional roles as vocalists, as it is the two of them who hold down the chorus. And it’s Nicki Minaj’s voice you hear during the outro, with said vocals reportedly being sampled from a voice note she sent to Kanye’s wife at the time, Kim Kardashian (and with Nicki totally not expecting said recording to be included on the track).
More Interesting Facts about “Violent Crimes”
Pardison Fontaine is a rapper in his own right, though not nearly as popular as some of the other co-writers of this song. But that said, Kanye actually acknowledged him as being the main writer behind “Violent Crimes”, which did end up charting in over 10 countries, as well as achieving RIAA platinum certification as of 2021.
But interestingly, Fontaine didn’t particularly take kindly to Yeezy’s shoutout, rather coming off as the type of musician who is more concerned with the art (or perhaps the paper) than the recognition.
Even though “Ye” is officially classified as a studio album, it is only seven tracks’ long, with “Violent Crimes” being the closing piece on its playlist.
To note, the actual title of this song is never mentioned in the lyrics.