Kanye West “Yeezus” Review
This has been out for a while, I know. Given all the horse-shit this dude has been involved in over the past year, I figured I’d skip over this most recent work by Kanye West. I was sick of the attitude and all the media coverage, and then impregnating a Kardashian, naming his child “North.” Ugh, what a douche.
And then I read something that Lou Reed wrote about Kanye‘s Yeezus a while back in Rolling Stone. Yes, that Lou Reed, the one from The Velvet Underground. He basically said that Kanye is light years ahead of what’s going on in the world of hip hop, that there isn’t anyone on Earth doing what he’s doing in music right now. Cue the incredulous, “Really,” to my inner monologue. It gnawed at me. I had to know what it sounded like now. Nothing had come across the FM channels. I hadn’t heard any internet buzz. In fact, all I ever hear in respect to West, is “Fuck Kanye West. He’s a douche bag.” That’s it, really.
I liked Late Registration, 808 and a Heartbreak, and Graduation. There was at least a decent chance I’d like Yeezus. So I gave it a listen. And another. And another. I’ve been listening to it for a month off and on. I’m not always in the mood for what I’ve dubbed “ego-rap,” but shit, I fucking dig it. I have this theory about Kanye West now. He is a total ego maniac. That’s not up for debate. The man acts a fool at every turn possible. However, perhaps his ego is out of control because he really is good. I have to agree with good old Yeezy, that he’s among a handful of talented rappers in the public eye. Most of the rest of what’s out there is mierda completa. Take into account, we are not comparing Kanye to Wu-Tang, to Tupac, to Run DMC. We’re speaking of contemporary hip hop. You have some up and comers, like Macklemore and Grieves, and a couple of true rap stars that have been around the block long enough to be unquestionable legends like Jay-Z, Eminem, or Outkast (aka Andre 3000 and Big Boi, individually). After 7 albums, I’d say this guy has earned his place in the genre.
Yeezus is a game changing album. This isn’t like any kind of sampled hip hop that I’ve heard in the past. This is wildly eclectic sounds and vocals and samples from all over the place. The beats are almost completely syncopated rubato. The paces and rhythms change at odd, atypical places. Yeezus keeps you off-guard in the best possible way. Stand out tracks for me are, I Am A God, New Slaves, and, Blood on the Leaves. The former has my favorite beat for the entire album, it’s quite filthy. When it comes to the lyrics, I say again that he is a total egomaniac. However, when I think of music that people are scared to admit they like, or that they listen to in order to feel like a badass, I’m reminded of David Herman‘s character “Michael Bolton,” in Office Space. You remember at the beginning of the movie when Michael is on the way into Initech? He’s rapping along to Scarface‘s No Tears, but pauses to lock the door when a dark skinned person approaches the car?
Everyone acts gangsta, until it’s time to be gangsta. Get over the hating and check it out. It’s way, way better than I ever thought was possible. Seriously.
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