1 Song from Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ Almost Had a David Lynch Music Video

Kanye West and David Lynch have very different careers, however, they almost made a music video for a track from Yeezus. Lynch really enjoyed one of the songs from the album and wanted to work with West on its music video. Here’s why the music video was never made –and why Lynch felt he let West down.

Kanye West wearing a black shirt
Kanye West | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Surface Magazine

This track from Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ is one of David Lynch’s favorite songs

From the start of his career, West built songs around samples — including samples of classic songs. Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” is a somber and disturbing ballad about lynchings in the United States. It became one of the most famous songs dealing with racial injustice. West sampled Nina Simone’s cover of the song for his track “Blood on the Leaves” from his album Yeezus. Whereas Holiday’s and Simone’s versions of “Strange Fruit” are both chillingly minimal, “Blood on the Leaves” starts out as a minimal piano ballad before transitioning into a thumping industrial beat.

Lynch is an arthouse director known for strange and often disturbing films like Muholland Dr., Eraserhead, and Blue Velvet. According to The Daily Beast, Lynch is a major fan of the track. “‘Blood on the Leaves” is one of my favorite songs,” Lynch said. “He’s just ridin’ the wave and not takin’ no for an answer.” 

Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit”

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According to Rolling Stone, Lynch discussed why he enjoyed Yeezus so much. ““Oh, I love a minimal thing,” he said. “Kanye West worked with Rick Rubin, and that got super-minimal, but super-strong. A minimal thing, it doesn’t hurt the mind, and the mind can soar. When there’s lots and lots of things around, it disturbs me.”

Why David Lynch felt he disappointed Kanye West when they tried to collaborate

Lynch said his attempt to work with West on a video for “Blood on the Leaves” fell apart. “We almost worked together, but I never got the ideas,” he told The Daily Beast. “I feel I let him down a little bit.”

Kanye West’s “Blood on the Leaves”

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Lynch gave fans further insight into his attempted collaboration with West. “I didn’t come up with any ideas that I thought he would like,” he said. “Kanye came up to the house one day. Kanye’s a good guy, and a great musician. I loved the song, and that’s what brought us together, but I couldn’t come up with ideas that thrilled either one of us.” To this day, there is no official music video for “Blood on the Leaves.”

How the world reacted to Kanye West’s ‘Blood on the Leaves’ and ‘Yeezus’

While West didn’t promote “Blood on the Leaves” with a video, it still reached No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yeezus performed better, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard 200. While Lynch and West didn’t make a music video together, the song and the album became commercially successful.

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