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What's a Kanye West song doing in a TV show about slavery?

What's a Kanye West song doing in a TV show about slavery?

"Underground," WGN America's new drama about the Underground Railroad, is set in 1857, but the action starts with a Kanye West song.

The show, which premiered Wednesday and airs weekly at 10 p.m. ET, follows a group of slaves who embark on a daring escape from a Georgia plantation. In the opening scene, an enslaved blacksmith named Noah (Aldis Hodge) runs through the woods to the sound of "Black Skinhead," a frantic, bass-thumping track from West's 2013 album "Yeezus."

The song is punctuated in parts by West's breathing, a motif the show integrates as Noah tries to evade a trailing slave catcher, and later in the episode as a musical...