Hype is an interesting thing in the music industry nowadays, and its difficult to pinpoint a musical release in a long time with the widespread hype that Kanye West’s Yeezus has had across the world wide web and beyond. This is an album that has been clouded with secrecy, rumours, and of course the pure marketing genius of Mr. West himself. When it comes down to it though, behind the 10-story video projections and other such marketing ploys, hype plays very little into what the actual music sounds like.
And with that in mind, it is important to make the point now that Yeezus is like nothing Kanye has ever released before and thus likely won’t cater to the desires or expectations of fans. Perhaps the deviance Yeezy shows from expectations is a direct consequence of Yeezy’s constant desire to stray from the norm, bordering on misbehaviour at times (Ask Taylor Swift or George W). Much about this album is a contradiction in fact, which I suspect may have been an intention of Kanye’s. Let me explain:
Ye’ has notably been hugely involved in the fashion scene for many years, yet rips apart the evil and corrupt nature of luxury fashion, specifically on the African-American community, in “New Slaves”. Perhaps more glaringly, “I Am A God” displays a seeming new level of self-absorption, narcissism and personal obsession that Kanye has openly contradicted through previous tracks delving into his incredible insecurities and self-doubts. In his “American Psycho” short film this quote stands out
“…then there’s the song “I Am A God”, the tale practically speaks for itself but of course the insecurities of the mainstream media press will never understand because its about me”
There is no doubt that West is completely self-aware of what this album is. Hell, I think even Kanye knows that autotune should’ve been dead before this album, even if he didn’t hear his buddy Jay‘s Blueprint 3 track. My last word on the matter is this: in what alternate reality would you ever otherwise picture a track in which Justin Vernon and Chief Keef both appear. I think none.
Yeezus is a more magnified version of what has made the Chicago emcee great since his College Dropout days, yet is nothing like his debut at all. This album is darker, more experimental and void of any single track that will beg for radio time. This project draws more from an EDM influence than any mainstream hip-hop has dared to until now, perhaps other than tracks like “Who Gon Stop Me” on Watch The Throne. Daft Punk is largely responsible for this, supplying bass-driven, sinister canvases for Kanye to dive into. From start to finish, Yeezus is infuriating and gratifying at the same time, a feeling that only listening to it fully can justified. The 10-track project requires at least 3 full listens before it truly starts to make sense.
The lyrics often sound like an unfiltered, uncontrolled bursting forth of thoughts. They’re variously shocking, funny, thought-provoking, contradictory and occasionally completely coherent and to the point. This album will be divisive, controversial and career-defining, all of which ring through as 100% intended. Kanye West is a titan of industry and like him or love him, Yeezus is going to be on the radar for a long time. Grab it now on iTunes.