Used to only be niggas, now everybody playin'

from Kanye West (Ft. Frank Ocean) – New Slaves Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Kanye is talking about how black people used to be the only slaves, now due to material objects anyone can be a slave, black, white or yellow. The idea is that money is being used to keep people doing what others want i.e buying expensive brands and conforming with the popularity, so others can benefit from others labor wages. The ones spending all the money are the slaves, the ones making all the money are the leaders.

The “niggas” in this line is sampled from Curtis Mayfield’s “Don’t Worry if There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go”. It was also sampled in Ye’s 2004 hit, “Jesus Walks”.

Steve Stoute’s “The Tanning of America” touches on a similar idea to Ye — the new generation in America is more “pan-ethnic”, “color blind” and cool.

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