These days it seems there’s very little middle ground in terms of audience and critical reaction to Yeezus—not so much love/hate as praise/derision or care/indifference. But there’s at least one point on the album where most everyone stands in enthusiastic agreement––the adrenaline-fueled “Blood on the Leaves.”
And we can’t talk “Blood on the Leaves” without thanking KLC.
While one part of the song’s structure owes credit to the use of Nina Simone’s oft-used vocals, Kanye created a major moment in Hip-Hop culture by digging in the archives for one of the New Orleans’ Third Ward beat wizard’s signature tracks, “Down 4 My N****z” (featuring Snoop Dogg & Magic). The wow factor of this moment owes everything to the intense power of the original song, the controversy surrounding it, and the way Kanye (whether you agree with the sentiment or not) flipped it for a new era and a new meaning.
Last week, we sat down with former No Limit/Beats By the Pound producer, KLC “The Drum Major,” to talk about ‘Ye’s sampling of this classic hit crafted for C-Murder all the way back in 1999. In the video, KL talks about the making of the original record, recording Snoop’s verse, Mr. Magic’s legacy (Magic died in a fatal car crash earlier this year), and his reaction to “Blood on the Leaves,” thus bringing one of his most well-known creations back into the discussion today.