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Violent Crimes (song)

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"Violent Crimes"
Violent Crimes lyric video.jpg
Thumbnail of the lyric video
Song by Kanye West
from the album Ye
ReleasedJune 1, 2018
Recorded2018
StudioWest's ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Genre
Length3:35
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Violent Crimes" is a song by American rapper and producer Kanye West, released as the final track on his eighth studio album, Ye (2018). The song contains vocals from rappers Ty Dolla Sign and 070 Shake, along with a voicemail message from rapper Nicki Minaj. It was written by Kanye West, Danielle Balbuena, Mike Dean, Kevin Parker, Ginoli, Tyrone Griffin, Jr., Malik Jones, 7 Aurelius, Irving Lorenzo and Jordan Thorpe, but Thorpe, also known as Pardison Fontaine, contributed to most of its writing.

In his verse, West raps about his feelings towards fathering a daughter. "Violent Crimes" was met with generally negative reviews from music critics, with most criticizing West's rapping. In 2018, the song charted in the United States, Slovakia, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, France, Czech Republic, Canada and Australia. A lyric video for the song was released on June 19, 2018.

Background[edit]

Along with "Violent Crimes", Ty Dolla Sign also has vocals on Ye tracks "All Mine" and "Wouldn't Leave".[1] On June 4, 2018, three days after the album's release, Ty Dolla Sign teased a joint album with West.[2] He recalled "going off on the backgrounds, no Auto-Tune" when working with West in a phone conversation with Rolling Stone on August 30.[3] 070 Shake saw an increase in popularity after appearing on the track and "Ghost Town" from the album.[4] When asked in a June 2018 interview with Billboard about how she felt to be a part of the track, 070 Shake was quoted as saying:

Look, it feels good. I love being apart of [music with a message], no matter who it is. My goal is to be able to impact people in a positive way. So that just made the song that much better.[5]

West asked his wife Kim Kardashian to get Nicki Minaj's help with figuring out how to deliver some lines on "Violent Crimes", yet he ultimately decided on including the actual voice note itself that was received from her.[6] Nicki Minaj revealed on Queen Radio that she was initially surprised when Ye premiered due to being unsure about how her voice note would end up being used.[6] West had previously collaborated with Nicki Minaj on his 2010 single "Monster" that features Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Bon Iver alongside her, which he references with the lines: "I hope she like Nicki, I'll make her a monster/Not havin' menages".[7]

Co-writer Kevin Parker of Tame Impala was unaware that the track would be on the album until a friend informed him that it was being played at the listening party; Parker previously thought he was credited on "Ghost Town", not "Violent Crimes".[8] Allegedly, Parker sent a number of samples to West for the album, though assumed that they hadn't made the cut after not hearing back from him.[9]

Composition and writing[edit]

Nicki Minaj live on Femme Fatale Tour in 2011.
The outro is performed by Nicki Minaj, pictured in 2011.

"Violent Crimes" is a hip hop song with elements of R&B.[10] The song begins with low-key production and long piano tones, with 070 Shake performing the intro, as well as the chorus.[11][9] West's verse is centered around thoughts towards fathering a daughter from the position of him.[12] Ty Dolla Sign contributes softly sung vocals to the song that appear next to those of 070 Shake, prior to Nicki Minaj's outro.[13][14] Minaj's vocals consist of a voice recording at the end of the song, in which she semi-speaks, paying reference to lyrics rapped by West earlier in the song.[9][6] It had been rumored for West to be shading Taylor Swift by including the voice recording, since the outro suggests that Nicki Minaj had already approved West's lyrics about her before being featured on the song.[15] The voice recording was interpreted as this by some because a phone conversation posted by Kim Kardashian between West and Swift in 2016 revealed that he had Swift's approval to mention her in the single "Famous", despite Swift claiming to be blindsided by it at the time.[15]

In October 2018, West took to Twitter and revealed that co-writer Pardison Fontaine was the person held most responsible for writing the track, with him claiming in the tweet to have "changed 2 lines" but giving credit to Fontaine for writing "the entire song".[16] The next month, Fontaine admitted to being "pissed" that West revealed this information when saying "Nobody needed to know I hit him about that, like, 'That's not why I do that for'" and Fontaine went on to explain that he only writes for people who have his respect, such as West because he considers him as his idol.[17] The two became involved with each other after West tracked down Fontaine due to him being a co-writer for Cardi B, since West thought lyrics of hers sounded like something that he'd say.[18]

Release and promotion[edit]

"Violent Crimes" was released on June 1, 2018, as the seventh and final track on West's eighth studio album Ye.[19] A lyric video was officially released for the song along with one for fellow Ye track "All Mine" on June 19, 2018.[14] The song's lyric video features a panning view of Jackson Hole with lyrics written over it, visually resembling the official cover art for the album.[14] Though West decided on releasing these lyric videos, he hadn't released any music videos for Ye and his most recent music video was for 2016 single "Fade".[20]

During both the first and second "Sunday Service" of West in 2019, a rendition of the song was performed by a choir.[21][22]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received generally negative reviews from music critics, with West's rap verse mostly being criticized. Christopher Hooton of The Independent wrote that the track "strains to be an epic closer to an album we only started 21 minutes ago".[23] Meaghen Garvey of Pitchfork wrote in reference to the track being the last on Ye "the eighth Kanye West album, out with a whimper".[24] Courtney E. Smith of Refinery29 slammed "Violent Crimes" for being where West "explained his total lack of understanding about the way women see the world".[25] It was viewed as a song where "with the right software you could very easily remove West's part and have a perfectly fine song" by Jordan Sargent of SPIN.[26] Rob Sheffield, in his review for Rolling Stone, looked at the song as being a very clumsy end for the album.[27] Hannah Giorgis of The Atlantic noted the song's "Trumpian dissonance" and described it as "Phil Collins-esque", while panning the song's "voyeuristic" tone and lyrical content.[7]

However, the song has garnered some positive reviews. Sam Moore, writing for Metro, characterized the song as a "blissful climax" to Ye.[28] Billboard ranked it as the third best track on the album.[29] Tyler, the Creator revealed when speaking to GQ in August 2018 that the song's chords made him cry.[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Violent Crimes" managed to chart in a total of nine countries worldwide. The song performed best in the United States, entering the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 27 in the same week that Ye was released.[31] It also debuted on the Canadian Hot 100 upon the release of the album, charting at number 30.[32] The song also managed to reach the top 40 in Ireland and Australia, charting at number 33 on the Irish Singles Chart and number 40 on the ARIA Singles Chart respectively.[33][34] Upon the release of Ye, the song entered at number 56 on Slovakia's Singles Digitál Top 100 and reached a similar position of number 57 on the Portuguese Singles Chart.[35][36] It debuted at number 59 on the Greece International Digital Singles chart.[37] The song performed poorly in the Czech Republic and France, charting at number 100 in the former and number 167 in the latter respectively.[38][39]

On March 12, 2019, "Violent Crimes" was certified Gold in the US.[40] By doing so, it joined "Ghost Town" as one of the only non-singles from Ye to be certified in the US.[41]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[1]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[43] 40
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[44] 30
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[38] 100
France (SNEP)[45] 167
Greece International Digital Singles (IFPI)[37] 59
Ireland (IRMA)[34] 33
New Zealand Heatseekers (RMNZ)[46] 2
Portugal (AFP)[47] 57
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[35] 56
US Billboard Hot 100[48] 27
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[49] 16

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[50] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Leight, Elias (August 30, 2018). "How Ty Dolla $ign Makes Magic Happen With Drake, Beyonce, Kanye & More". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2019.
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  50. ^ "American single certifications – Kanye West – Violent Crimes". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 20, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]