#5 Kanye West- Yeezus
Released: June 18th
By: Dequan Huggins
Controversy! Controversy! Controversy! No other artist caused it this year more than Chicago hip-hop legend Kanye West. After a lack luster performance on his record label compilation Cruel Summer, Kanye looked to shake the world up again with his latest project entitled Yeezus. Struggling to get a fair chance in the fashion world, Kanye took his frustrations out musically making an album that’s as aggressive and confrontational as the emcee has ever made.
Always looking to challenge the conventional ways of urban culture, Yeezus doesn’t receive the same polished production or song structure that your typical Kanye West album would provide. Soul is replaced with new wave electronica, and with the help of electronic music legends, Daft Punk, Kanye makes his most adventurous and futuristic produced album to date. From the distortion of “On Sight” that channels frustration to the beautiful emotive string section of “Guilt Trip” Yeezus forces you to feel something. A loud scream in the middle of a track to help to create the visual of how frustrated Kanye is? Sure, why not? The Chicagoain abandons your typical 16 bar raps opting for longer verses and complimentary flows to help get points across making the most detailed and non-traditional structured album of the year.
Traditional hip-hop purists, who put entirely too much stock into lyricism, have criticized Kanye for seeming to abandon his attention to lyrics. The metaphors are removed but Kanye uses a new vehicle to arrive at the point, a vehicle that takes him there directly. Instead of finding a way to cleverly disguise his understanding of racist behavior in the corporate world he gets straight to the point on “New Slaves” with “You see it’s broke nigga racism that’s that “Don’t touch anything in the store”/And its rich nigga racism that’s that “Come in, please buy more.” Emotion is the most important aspect of a rap song and Kanye has not lost sight of that.
Kanye is one the most influential artist of any genre of music. That’s what it makes it so great that he would take so many risks on this album. Yeezus challenges you and makes you feel uncomfortable at times but its all to help continue the culture. On surface a song like “I Am a God” seems like another “look at me” moment from this pompous asshole, and it may be. With a song titled that reeks of blasphemy some fans have criticized Ye for even trying to make a song with such a bold claim. However! Kanye is a spiritual man and is completely aware of the verse Psalms 82:6 that states, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Continuing his album of gumption, Kanye with “Blood on the Leaves.” Flipping a very sensitive Billie Holiday/Nina Simone song about the hanging of slaves. Although Kanye’s version of the song deals with past relationships he is able to draw parallels about the demise of their relationship.
Being inspired by visionaries like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and Ralph Lauren Kanye has to understand that not everyone will see your vision at inception. Time will only tell if the risk of Yeezus will pay off for Kanye. Sometimes art that is bold and daring can rub people the wrong way and West seems to be okay with that. Yeezus in no means a perfect album but it may very well be the idea that will spark the creation of something perfect.
Favorite Songs: New Slaves, Black Skinhead, I Am a God
Weakest Song: Bound 2 (Come on guys that song has no place on this album)