Common did it with Electric Circus, Trent Reznor did it with The Social Network, Kanye West did it with 808s & Heartbreak, and now here we are again with Yeezus. There’s a reoccurring theme for artists when it comes to critics; repetitiveness, lack of creativity and playing it safe. Kanye West has taken the handful of digs constantly tossed around whilst releasing a new album, and thrown them out the window with great force.
The opener “On Sight,” sets the tone early with a fresh outlook mixed with a new brand of aggression. Working with Daft Punk was a bold move on the complex chess board that is Kanye’s career. “Stronger” was a clear indication that his vocals and bizarre behaviours with their instrumentals works like a dark musical fantasy. The French electronic duo have not only taken the summer by storm with their own record, but contributed distinctive sounds to three more tracks to West’s sixth studio album. Speaking of, next up we meet the high energy, high intensity “Black Skinhead,” – and if Kanye’s taking visual suggestions, I picture a panther chasing it’s prey through a dark jungle. Mr. West has the ability the create the most vivid and intense imagery through his music, my mind runs absolutely wild whilst listening to this album.
The vividness is especially intoxicating this time around, Yeezus is on some next level high energy. The unprecedented (at least for Mr. West) combination of antagonistic rap, with a dense electronic infusion creates a structured fiasco.
A little further along, we reach “Blood On The Leaves,” the most well-orchestrated, full bodied instrumental on the project. High pitched screeches erratically pop out of the dark (courtesy of Nina Simone) to rev the anticipation, built on a foundation of angelic piano, and a relatively calm Kanye…then all hell breaks loose, creating a disturbed masterpiece. West embraces the chaos, it seems to suit his nature. “Hold My Liquor” is another perfect example; the journey of a train wreck of epic proportion induced by alcohol. That being said, the album concludes with a joint that was clearly recorded in a separate universe. “Bound 2” vibes back to “The Glory” days, and brings Ye back to earth saying ‘yeah I’m still human.’
Vocal backing from the likes of Justin Vernon, Kid Cudi, Tony Williams and Frank Ocean play a key role in the synergy of this record. When you have the aggression level of a terrier or pitbull, you have to throw in a retriever once in awhile to balance the libra scale. While there might be balance aesthetically, Kanye is not apologizing for anything. Despite all the negativity surrounding his fashion, attitude, reaction to the paparazzi and even his love life, Ye fights back with “I Am A God” and “New Slaves.” Say what you want about the odd questionable choice, but Kanye West is Kanye West – no compromises. He wears what he wants, buys what wants, dates who he wants, and makes music just the way he wants.
Kanye West is indeed a leader, a trailblazer, or as he so eloquently puts it, a dick – and he proves it with Yeezus.
What did you think of Yeezus?
Note: First Week Sales – 327,000