Kanye West, "Power"

Kanye West has been keeping a low profile since drunkenly embarrassing himself at the Video Music Awards last September. He went to an ashram in India, and a recording studio in Hawaii and put his Hollywood house up for sale. Now he has returned to rap. And very, very well.

His new song, “Power,” the first single from the forthcoming Good Ass Job, has none of the synth beats and Autotune-assisted singing that defined 2008’s 808s & Heartbreak. Which was not so terrible in itself, but played a major role in making hip-hop radio as shitty as it’s been since. (Drake, for example: Please stop.) With its military-march beat (a sample from King Crimson’s 1969 “21st Centruy Schizoid Man,” the great idea of Waco, Texas beatmaker S1) “Power” hearkens to one of his earliest hits, 2004’s “Jesus Walks”-still probably the hardest song he’s ever made. All in all, this provides a good lesson in how to recover from scandal: Disappear for a while, bury yourself in work, and come back with something your core-base fans will appreciate. “How’s Ye doing?” he asks in the third verse. “I’m survivin’/I was drinking earlier/Now I’m drivin’…”