Release Date: Jun 18, 2013
Record label: Def Jam
It was inevitable that our greatest pop mind would eventually make an anti-pop record. The question is why did he have to make the thing so difficult on us. Kanye West shut the rap game?s whole shit down with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010?s positively bloated force that had us realizing the inadequacy of that very term, ?rap.? Because, in addition to being at turns beautiful, dark, twisted, and fantastical, MBDTF was also unmistakably Ye?s — the product of the only guy who could have pulled off such a superhuman feat, yes, but who?s also built his career on extrapolating others? sounds and making them, inventively, his own.
Look at the song title "I Am a God" and it seems like easy blasphemy-- Kanye West's update of John Lennon's "more popular than Jesus" shocker from 1966. But just as the Beatle's proclamation was fuller and wiser in context-- "I believe that what people call God is something in all of us," Lennon would later explain-- "I Am a God" is not simply the latest self-important blast from one of pop culture's pre-eminent egoists. For starters, the track sounds less triumphant than breathtakingly vexed, crashing in with a gnarled dancehall vocal sample and paranoid sawtooth synths that aim to destroy.
Kanye’s fifth album, 2010’s sprawling and joyous ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’, was all like: “It’s 2am, I’m pissed on the dancefloor, I’m a fuck-up, but whatever, love you!!!” ‘Yeezus’, its follow-up, sets its clock closer to 4am. “Still on the dancefloor but I’ve taken too much,” it growls. “My emotional core is warping.
Embedded in any Kanye West release is extreme narcissism, a remarkable ear for beats, and simultaneously sophisticated and lowbrow lyricism. Yeezus, his sixth studio album, perhaps represents the apex of these three main aspects. Amid heightened media interest in his family life and all he does – he and partner Kim Kardashian have just brought a baby into the world – why does Yeezus sound so different? You can pick and choose the prisms through which to analyze West and his work.
You wouldn't know it to hear Yeezus, but Kanye West is a kept man; he fell in love with Kim Kardashian, they just had a daughter and his non-committal good life is changing in so many ways. On Yeezus, West invites us to the decadent, bonkers bachelor party of his dreams; it's an all-id affair where his dick barely stays zipped up inside his black leather jeans. "One last announcement/no sports bra, let's keep it bouncing," he spits towards the end of scorching opener "On Sight," and it's one of many problematic objectifications of women West drops with a shit-eating grin.
Kanye West went magnanimous for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s promotional push. He created the “G.O.O.D. Friday” campaign and delivered free songs to the fawning masses each week leading up to its November 2010 release. There were fantastic tales of a glorious gathering of Hip Hop luminaries crafting the potential classic in an exclusive Hawaiian hideaway floating all over the internet and a 35-minute short film to accompany the second single, “Runaway.” The George Condo cover art was banned from certain retail stores, something West reportedly intended.
Ah, to be a fly on the studio wall during the making of Kanye West’s Yeezus. This is an album that is actively trying to sound imperfect, and yet the number of producers, engineers, songwriters and professional fluffers that went into manufacturing that aesthetic is astounding. We’re told that the infinite wisdom of Rick Rubin’s beard was drafted in with less than three weeks until deadline, and he claims even at that stage he was given three hours’ worth of only partially finished material to work with.
Kanye WestYeezus[Def Jam; 2013]By Chase McMullen; June 21, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGWe all created this monster. In 2013, to criticize the force that is Kanye West – as much as it will annoy his many detractors – is akin to assigning a grade to Salvador Dali or Michelangelo Antonioni. It’s nearly as hopeless as it is arbitrary.
"You see it's leaders, and it's followers," Kanye West tells us. "But I'd rather be a dick than a swallower." And Yeezus, Mary and Yoseph, does he mean it. Yeezus is the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up, an extravagantly abrasive album full of grinding electro, pummeling minimalist hip-hop, drone-y wooz and industrial gear-grind.
Remember the Kanye West who minted a mother's day classic with Mama? And, accompanied by a children's choir, sang about sharing the bed with his cousins on Family Business? Anyone who expected that impending fatherhood might mellow or cheer up Kanye a la Jay-Z's Glory or Eminem's Hailie's Song - maybe bring him back into the realm of light-hearted skit interlude? - were shaken out of that Ye-dream when he performed New Slaves and Black Skinhead on SNL. But those people weren't paying attention to Kanye's career, because ever since he confounded his fans with 808s & Heartbreak - changing the way popular music sounds, maybe forever - he has never looped back on himself, (except in the most literal studio sense). Auto-Tune is back with a vengeance here (Guilt Trip), but it's definitely not Yeezus's defining characteristic.
The lyrics often sound like a kind of unfiltered, instinctual vomiting forth of thoughts in a world of PR control and damage limitation. They're variously shocking, funny, thought-provoking, nonsensical, contradictory and occasionally reprehensible: the only consistent thing about them is how inconsistent they are. Despite that, Yeezus never sounds self-indulgent.
Review Summary: Civil rights, chopped and screwed.As an artist reaches increasingly higher points of superstardom, it in turn becomes harder to hear what they’re saying with their music. A new album becomes more about the event than anything else, as fans and non-fans alike take to the internet to make their feelings heard as soon as possible; whether or not they’re absorbing what they hear is anyone’s guess. But even with a solid chunk of time and zero distractions, it’s tough to listen to someone like Kanye West without giving in to your preconceived notions of him.
The low-point on Yeezus, Kanye West’s sixth album, is “I Am A God,” a rhythmically rote electro-buzz that inflates Kanye’s legendary ego to (literally) biblical proportions. That Kanye’s anointed himself as Jesus’ BFF isn’t surprising: After a decade of hip-hop domination and high-profile media spectacles, the dude’s made plenty of enemies—Jesus may be the final person he hasn’t totally pissed off. The song’s (unintentional?) punchline is its underlying paradox: Kanye worships God; Kanye is God; therefore, Kanye worships Kanye.
If all those summers in the late ‘90s wasted away in front of a television airing Saturday Night Live reruns from the mid-‘90s taught me anything, it was never to trust the SNL stage. The best statement you could ever hope to make was a provocative, meme-like stage show that capitalized on the essence of the times. If not in physicality, Kanye’s performances of “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead” certainly embodied the spirits of predecessors Sinead O’Connor, Ashlee Simpson, Fear, Eminem, and… Kanye himself.
Because Kanye West is, well, Kanye West—the megalomaniacal narcissist, the perennial tabloid figure, the endlessly quotable person/rapper, a master of publicity, and the most daring mind in popular music for a full decade now—it’s easy to apply all of the lyrics on Yeezus, West’s sixth studio album and most difficult listen yet, directly to the man. It’s understandable enough; hip-hop has always pulled from the personal, and West has been no exception; 808s & Heartbreak was West’s Freudian super-ego feeling guilty about all of West’s emotional turmoil (including a break-up and the death of his mother), and 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was an epic battle between id and super-ego, with moments of extreme vulnerability blending in seamlessly with self-aggrandizement. Yeezus continues the natural progression and reveals the pure id of the self-proclaimed Monster, and while doing so certainly doesn’t display much optimism for his relationship with reality-TV star Kim Kardashian (one of just a handful of people more famous than West in the western world), or speak very highly of the new father, it does make a record rife with contradictions, and contradictions have always been the most compelling thing about Mr.
1. Yeezus will be precisely as interesting to people as an album as Kanye is as a concept. It’s a nebulous, dense, paranoid web of utterly unfiltered expression that’s utterly or negligibly fascinating depending on how much you care about Yeezy. West is trapped under our gaze unlike any other songwriter before or hence.
Kanye West :: YeezusDef Jam/InterscopeAuthor: Jesal 'Jay Soul' PadaniaConsidering the minimalist ethos that Kanye West has, in so many respects, applied to his new album, it's ironic just how many bloody words have been written about "Yeezus" thus far. He has released no singles; it's a short 40 minute blitz through 10 songs; there's barely any marketing (a la Daft Punk); and the album doesn't even have traditional artwork. Everything is the polar opposite to his previous solo effort, the completely OTT "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy." And yet, there are just so… many… WORDS.
Of course it’s called Yeezus. One of the most difficult things in doing any assessment of Kanye West is ultimately determining if you’re commenting on Kanye West the Artist or Kanye West the Persona. We’re all very well-versed in the persona: he’s a stage-crashing, rant-prone, self-indulgent public figure who still views his lack of a Album of the Year Grammy win (out of five nominations, three as a solo artist) as proof that he needs to try harder and/or no one respects him like they should.
With Yeezus, Kanye West has once again created something singular in the world of platinum-class hip-hop: an album built on alien, angular beats, slowly morphing drones and sirens, abrupt periods of silence, and a pulse-quickening style of delivery from Yeezy himself. The album is also, at its essence, a very alluring con job. Its politics are pure posture, and for all the effort Kanye spent on the undeniably striking music, the man hasn't grown much as a writer.
Six albums ago, many people were justly excited to champion Kanye West as one of the greatest musicians/artists this world was going to see. With songs like “Jesus Walks” and “Slow Jamz,” his debut, The College Dropout, merited a fair amount of attention and accolades. But many of these enthusiasts were made out to seem just as delusional as the self-proclaimed Jesus of hip-hop.
Just a minute into Yeezus, Kanye West lays his cards on the table, posing the rhetorical question “How much do I not give a fuck?” before breaking the song’s acidic spell and sampling a gospel choir: “He’ll give us what we need / It may not be what we want. ” It’s a succinct mission statement for what will follow: 40 minutes of violent, sexual, heretical hip-hop that is built to confound and challenge listeners. Yeezus is the culmination of the movement that began with 2008’s equally-divisive 808s and Heartbreaks.
byPETER TABAKIS Henry Cavill may wear the tights, but Kanye West is our true Superman. Haven’t you heard? In a fascinating if mildly irritating New York Times interview West compared himself — in this order — to Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Howard Hughes, Nicolas Ghesquière, Anna Wintour, and David Stern. In West’s mind, he soars above such low company as the Beatles and Michael Jackson; titans of industry, fashion, sports, and film are his new peers.
Is that a fist pump or a clenched Afrocentric salute? A stag party breaking out in the middle of a Black Panther rally, Yeezus is the confounding, uncompromising protest record Kanye West was doomed to eventually make. Sure, he's performed this trick before - 'Diamonds From Sierra Leone' comes to mind - but it appears at last that he’s reached Houdini heights with this masterfully layered, multi-faceted release that, on the surface, seems an exercise in restraint. The big reveal gives the lie to the so-called “minimalist” tag that rabid press mutts sniffed out in advance, fortified by sentiments bandied about by both West and producer Rick Rubin in newspaper interviews.
One of the many striking and often shocking metaphors within “Yeezus,” the new album from rapper Kanye West, arrives halfway into the 10-song release, during a song called “I’m in It.” It involves a quote by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Thank God almighty, free at last,” raps West, referencing a phrase from 50 years ago that the civil-rights leader used in relation to the plight of African Americans. The line as used by West is notable for what it’s not: a charged reference to black freedom.
Label: Def JamProduction: Kanye West, Daft Punk, Mike Dean, Hudson Mohawke, TNGHT, Travi$ Scott, 88-Keys, Lupe Fiasco, Lunice, Arca, No I. D. , Young Chop Written by: Khari Nixon (@KingVanGogh) Executive producer Rick Rubin understandably questioned Kanye West’s time management as the deadline to finish his controversially titled 6th LP drew dangerously near.
From the May 1 announcement of Kanye West’s sixth studio album Yeezus—via a subtle Tweet from West simply reading “June Eighteen”—fans and critics knew it was going to be a different album, reflecting Kanye’s ascension to rap godliness. Without releasing a single or music video to help promote the LP, Ye approached marketing it to the masses guerilla-style—projecting one of its standout tracks “New Slaves” onto buildings all over the world from drive-by trucks—but still employed more traditional formats like an appearance on SNL, where he premiered two new songs. Today, Yeezus sees the light of day, and it’s a moving and innovative work; its grand ambition harkening back to another one of West’s break-the-mold albums, 2008’s 808s & Heartbreak.
Everyone professionally involved with the creation of Kanye West's sixth solo effort was sworn to secrecy, and with no preorders allowed, plus the news that producer Rick Rubin was still tinkering with tracks seven days prior to the drop, this instant, no-singles, anti-hype album got pre-release hyped on an Olympic scale. Think of the roll-up as a revolutionary blow against the empire or the supernova ego of West in full effect, and while it's probably a little of both, Yeezus the album is a lot of both, with good taste and bad taste both turned up to 11. This aggro-industrial earthquake with booming bass and minimal synths balances groundbreaking hip-hop lyrics ("New Slaves" is a bizarre, layered concept clash where high fashion, slavery, and "I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" all collide) with punkish, irresponsible blast-femy (during the draggy, trap track "I'm in It," West's melodious and melancholy voice shouts its dreams to the multitude, pleading "Your titties, let 'em out, free at last/Thank God almighty, they free at last" as if civil rights and booty calls were equally noble quests), and it all works in an astonishing, compelling manner.
‘Yeezus’ isn’t a battle between the genius and the lunatic. When an artist like Kanye West appears to show two, conflicting sides - one perfectionist, the other reactionary, often dumb - there’s only a minuscule chance that it’s all in an audience-aware cause. Appearing on reality TV, walking head-first into a traffic sign; some loyalist fans might label these acts proof of his love of performance.
Throughout his career, Kanye West has proven himself to be perpetually paradoxical. True to form, Yeezus is one of the most brilliant and vulgar albums of recent times, as its ten tracks perfectly sum up the baffling dualities of the man. On 18 May, Kanye performed two new songs on Saturday Night Live, two tunes which stopped the internet dead in its tracks.
Kanye West’s sixth solo album, “Yeezus,” starts with a long, vicious electronic zap, a saw-toothed sound that slides up and down octaves before making way for a distorted synthesizer riff and a ticking, hissing beat. It’s an aggressive demand for attention, as if Mr. West needs still more of it. A career-long oscillation between brilliance and folly, strategic self-consciousness and wacky impulsiveness, has made Mr.
This had to happen someday. Kanye West’s egoism has finally become genuine hubris, and his once all-encompassing vision has doubled back and blinded him at last. Yeezus has to be tragedy, because if it were comedy it would still be a disaster but it would at least be fun. Yeezus, by design, is not fun.