Monday, November 11, 2013

Yeezus. Really?

I don’t really have an overly clever introduction for you this time. I will just say is that I personally wasn’t looking forward to Kanye West’s latest album.  There are reasons, of course.

Firstly, the title.



Of all the titles your purported genius and intelligence, the thing that you come up with is an amalgamation of your nickname (Yeezy) and the name of (WARNING: religious belief moment) the Son Of God’s name. Wow. That’s all I got. Just…wow.

The subject matter is interesting enough but…

Let’s just get this interview done before Yeezus strikes me down or (more accurately given that it’s him) lyrically assassinate me.

I couldn’t bring myself to listen to “I Am A God” more than a few times because  despite the implication of either Kanye being like a Greek god, a god in the game, or God it was hard for my mind to get beyond anything but sacrilege.

For me, honestly, about seventy percent of this album is wholly awful. It isn’t for a lack of cleverness or that usual Kanye West flow. The subject matter just doesn’t really appeal to me. I found “New Slaves”, an attempt at social commentary on the materialistic culture we live in, too ironic given that Kanye is a card carrying member of that circle he seems to be condemning.

I’m In It” is just a filthy track. It plays like a tablature of Kanye’s person sexual preferences and fetishes. One of those includes something about Asian girls that I think that I would rather not repeat in this review for the sake of decorum, I guess.

So as not to be entirely negative with my review, I will talk about the three songs on the album that are my go-to tracks.

Blood On The Leaves” contains a sample of “Strange Fruit” as sung by the incomparable Billie Holliday. When I hear this one I don’t have a hard time thinking that this one could have gone on 808s And Heartbreak. It gives that strong emotional vibe plus I appreciate Kanye’s often off kilter sample choices. They often times become classic pieces of his art and this may just be another example.

Guilt Trip” is amazing to me. To me this one sounds like Kanye’s regrets, his guilt over either his past sins or something deeper. But as with a lot of songs, it’s open for interpretation. The production has a lot of Jamaican dancehall influence and a feature of Kid Cudi’s vocals. A solid track, in my opinion.

Bound 2” has the feel of past Kanye works like Late Registration or maybe even Graduation. I love the lyrical content and the rhyming. I also love the unexpected feature of Charlie Wilson. Everything about this one just puts a smile on my face and makes my head nod.

This may be the first Kanye West effort where I didn’t like a large percentage of it. But I guess that’s the thing about art. Not everyone will like it or even understand it immediately. This may be one of those cases. Kudos to Kanye for stepping outside the norm but I don’t wholly like it. That may change given time.

Stay tuned.

written by Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine

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