Wolves (Kanye West song)

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"Wolves"
Song by Kanye West
from the album The Life of Pablo
Released July 29, 2016
Recorded 2014
Genre
Length 5:01
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Wolves" is a song by American rapper Kanye West, featuring vocals from Sia and Vic Mensa from his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo (2016). It was produced by Cashmere Cat and Sinjin Hawke and was originally planned to be the opening track to his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo. West debuted the song on February 12, 2015 at a fashion show where he also premiered his new Adidas shoe.[1] The presentation was broadcast live to more than 40 locations around the world.[2][3]

"Wolves" became the second confirmed track from the album[4][5] and originally featured Sia and Vic Mensa. The initial album version introduced a new verse from West and an additional outro from Frank Ocean, omitting Sia and Vic Mensa's contributions. However, in March 2016, the album was updated with a new version of the song that reinstated Sia and Vic Mensa's verses. Frank Ocean's outro has been split into a separate track, titled "Frank's Track", which appears after "Wolves" on the track list. The song was used in the trailer for the 2017 film Unforgettable[6] as well Netflix crime drama series Ozark.[7]

Composition[edit]

"Wolves" was produced by Cashmere Cat and Sinjin Hawke and originally featured vocals by Australian singer and songwriter Sia and Chicago rapper Vic Mensa. The song has been described as "melancholic" and "somber" with a slower beat, a minimal arrangement, and a heavily Auto-Tuned bridge.[2][8] The "lurching" chorus is performed by Vic Mensa and includes the lyrics, "I'm just bad. Bad for you."[2][8] Sia performs a "bluesy" rendition of West's words approximately three minutes and fifteen seconds into the song.[8]

The original album version features a rap from West and a moody outro from Frank Ocean, replacing Vic Mensa and Sia's verses.[9] An alternate version, however, was leaked online including Frank Ocean, Vic Mensa, and Sia. Unlike the album version, Frank Ocean's outro is featured at the start of the song, and West's rap is omitted.[10]

In March 2016, over a month after the album's release, West updated the album's Tidal track list with a reworked version of "Wolves", which includes the previously removed vocals from Vic Mensa and Sia. The outro sung by Frank Ocean was split into a separate track called "Frank's Track".[11]

Music video[edit]

The video for the song was released on July 29, 2016 as part of a Balmain advert campaign[12]. It resonates with the emotional feel of the song as it features Kanye and Kim in tears. The video also features Alessandra Ambrosio, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn, Josephine Skriver, Kylie Jenner, Sia, and Vic Mensa.[13]

Live performances[edit]

West was one of several musical guests for the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special, which aired on NBC in February 2015. He performed "Jesus Walks" and "Only One", then Sia and Mensa joined him for the live debut of "Wolves".[14] Due to the "claustrophobic, starkly black-and-white" set, all three vocalists crawled and crouched throughout the song due to their limited mobility, and Sia wore a large white bob wig.[15][16]

Reception[edit]

Brittany Spanos of Rolling Stone said the song was reminiscent of West's work on his album 808s & Heartbreak (2008).[2]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Wolves" debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 upon the release of The Life of Pablo.[17]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18] 88
UK R&B (Official Charts Company)[19] 25
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[20] 1
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[21] 39

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gordon, Jeremy; Phillips, Amy (February 12, 2015). "Kanye West Debuts "Wolves" Featuring Sia and Vic Mensa at Adidas Yeezy Boost Fashion Show". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Spanos, Brittany (February 12, 2015). "Kanye West Enlists Sia, Vic Mensa for Melancholic New Song 'Wolves'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  3. ^ Seemayer, Zach. "Kanye West Debuts New Song 'Wolves' During His Fashion Show". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  4. ^ Zach Frydenlund. "Kanye West's New Album Features a Song With Vic Mensa and Sia". Complex. 
  5. ^ "Kanye West premieres 'Wolves' featuring Sia and Vic Mensa". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. 
  6. ^ "2017 Movies: Unforgettable (Trailer Song) – Katherine Heigl". trailer-song.net. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  7. ^ Greene, Steve (25 May 2017). "'Ozark' Trailer: Jason Bateman Breaks Bad in Netflix's Cartel Crime Drama, With Some Help From Kanye West". indiewire.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c Lipshutz, Jason (February 12, 2015). "Kanye West Unveils New Song, 'Wolves,' Featuring Vic Mensa & Sia: Listen". Billboard. Retrieved February 13, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Frank Ocean - Wolves / Frank's Track (Highself Remix)". soundcloud.com. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  10. ^ "Alternate version of Kanye West's "Wolves" leaks — listen — Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. 
  11. ^ Brandle, Lars (March 16, 2016). "Kanye West Shares Reworked Version of 'Wolves' on Tidal". Billboard. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Kanye West Wolves Video is Basically a Balmain Ad Campaign — THE DAPIFER". THE DAPIFER. 2016-08-03. Retrieved 2017-06-10. 
  13. ^ "Kanye West's Freaky New "Wolves" Music Vid Features Kylie Jenner & This Taylor Swift Squad Member". seventeen.com. 1 August 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 
  14. ^ Young, Alex. "Kanye West debuts "Wolves" during powerful Saturday Night Live performance — watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ Newman, Jason (February 16, 2015). "See Kanye West's Innovative, Claustrophobic 'SNL' 40 Performance". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  16. ^ Mokoena, Tshepo (February 16, 2015). "Wigs, Wolves and Kanye West: rapper debuts new track during Saturday Night Lyrics". Lyricsleaf. Retrieved February 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Kanye West Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2018. 
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 8, 2018.
  19. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
  20. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  21. ^ "Kanye West Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2016.

External links[edit]