Blood on the Leaves

"Blood on the Leaves"
Song by Kanye West from the album Yeezus
Released 2013
Recorded 2013
Genre Hip hop
Length 6:00

"Blood on the Leaves" is a song by American hip hop artist Kanye West from his sixth solo studio album Yeezus. It was produced by West, Hudson Mohawke, Lunice, Carlos Broady, 88-Keys, Arca and Mike Dean. It contains samples of Nina Simone's 1965 rendition of "Strange Fruit", and of TNGHT's song "R U Ready."[1] "Blood on the Leaves" peaked at number 89 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Song analysis

Gil Kaufman of MTV called "Blood on the Leaves" "a churning anthem about conspicuous consumption" and "example of West's signature dichotomy in which he melds the sacred and profane."[3] The original version of "Strange Fruit" recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 has been deemed "shorthand for music that deals with racial injustice." Kanye also interpolates rapper C-Murder's 2000 song "Down for My N's", beat produced by KLC.

Ryan Dombal of Pitchfork called the song "a nightmarish story of divorce and betrayal,"[1] while Jody Rosen of Vulture states that "[Kanye is] well aware how audacious to interpolate that sacred song into a monstrously self-pitying ... melodrama about what a drag it is when your side-piece won't abort your love child."[4] Nicholas Troester of conservative magazine First Things labeled the song as an "anti-abortion anthem" and thought the focus of the song is "the tremendous selfishness of adults who cannot understand the importance of families or children."[5]

Live performances

West performed the song live at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.[6]

Critical reception

Rolling Stone ranked "Blood on the Leaves" at number 20, on their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013.[7] Pitchfork positioned the song at number 11, on their list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013.[8] It was ranked at number 24 on XXL's list of the best songs of 2013. They commented saying, "Mixing personal memories of a menacing relationship with the horrors of lynching for a record is often looked at as a blasphemous feat at first—but Kanye West made the combination work. Sampling Nina Simone’s 'Strange Fruit,' West’s 'Blood on the Leaves' from his sixth studio LP 'Yeezus' was a gorgeous metaphor of a failed relationship touted with bass, towering horns, and auto-tune effect reminiscent of '808s & Heartbreak'."[9]

The song impressed director David Lynch: "I think it's one of the most modern pieces and so minimal, so powerful but at the same time so beautiful. It's a great, great song".[10]

Chart positions

Chart (2013) Peak
France (SNEP)[11] 131
UK Singles Chart[12] 174
UK R&B Chart[13] 38
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 89
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[14] 27


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. 1 2 Minsker, Evan (June 10, 2013). "Kanye Confirms Daft Punk, Justin Vernon, TNGHT, Chief Keef, Rick Rubin Worked on Yeezus". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  2. 1 2 "Kanye West – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Kanye West. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  3. Kaufman, Gil (June 19, 2013). "Kanye West's 'Blood On The Leaves' And The History Of 'Strange Fruit'". MTV News. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  4. Jody Rosen. "Rosen on Kanye West's Yeezus: The Least Sexy Album of 2013". Vulture. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  5. Nicholas Troester. "Kanye West's "Blood on the Leaves": An Anti-Abortion Anthem?". First Things. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  11. " – Kanye West – Blood on the Leaves" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  12. "Official Singles Chart for the Week Ending 29 June 2013". ChartsPlus. Liverpool (618): 1–4. June 22, 2013.
  13. "2013-06-29 Top 40 R&B Singles Archive". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  14. "Kanye West – Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  15. "American single certifications – Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
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