Review: Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’
As an artist who is no stranger to reaching icon status by exceeding beyond musical expectations and being caught dead center in the eye of the media because of controversial hiccups, Kanye West will always be someone who constantly keeps people talking about him and with his recent release of the sixth studio album entitled “Yeezus,” there’s certainly a lot of chatter to be had.
Right of the back, it’ll be easy to find a lack of wholeness of the album. In “Yeezus,” Kanye tackles a few socioeconomic issues and events pertaining to his personal life, his relationships with women specifically. The concept also seems to be plainly laid out in both of the tracks “I Am A God” and “On Sight,” each of which talks on deity-like attributes; after so much success in with his artistry, West believes that he’s a god of hip-hop.
However, these two songs and the rest of the album doesn’t seem to hold tight onto such a bold statement. If a god were to make a rap album, the lyrics and production wouldn’t sound so half-witted and unmotivated like it does on “Yeezus.”
The album’s lyrics takes up two sides of the coin. On the first side, you have songs like “New Slaves,” which hark on socioeconomic statuses in America, drawing distinctions between the history of African-American slavery and how West thinks that the ethnic group has been lowering themselves to slavery by buying into the materialistic outlets created by white people. “Black Skinhead” branches off of “New Slaves,” taking bits of certain details that contain these issues and pitting them alongside braggadocio wordplay. Even with the clever lines about the Trojans and Romans and the introspective take on how West is a menace destined to rise again, the song is a still a far cry from topping some of his best works included in his previous album.
However, the set of verses on these tracks is all it has going for it in the lyrics department. Every other track emits some of the most underdeveloped and rushed collage of rhymes that West has ever been known for. Compounded with such a horrid hook delivered by Chief Keef, “Hold My Liquor” is the weakest effort that West has ever put on a track. While the song gives a glimpse of some variant of a relationship that West has when he’s intoxicated, the lowly-motivated wordplay fails to paint even a blurry picture. The album loses some points with “Send it Up” as well. The annoying siren and drums in the beat production is ear-wrenching, and West sounds like he’s either falling off on his penmanship or that he had done so much in the past already that he just doesn’t care to delve deeper anymore.
Only two songs from “Yeezus” are spot-on, one of which is the “Blood on the Leaves” track, coproduced by Carlos Broady and TNGHT. The melodic Nina Simone sample soothingly starts off the song, followed by pulsating bass, drums and horns. The lyrics are interesting as well — a relationship filled with a lot of regrets and a lot of drug consumption.
“Bound 2,” however, holds the heaviest weight out of the two because the song is highly reminiscent of the vintage, college dropout-esque West that many are clamoring for. With the looping of a very sexy, soulful Norman Whiteside sample and verses that give insight to a heartfelt give-and-take relationship, the track feels like both a blessing and a curse — an excellent finish to an unorthodox album, but also with the disappointing realization that there should have been more tracks resembling this type of flavor in the album.
There are huge Daft Punk influences on this album in terms of the instrumentals that West flows on. A lot of them harbor the heavy bass sounding, electronic-house style, but the outcome for some of these tracks just sound muddy, murky and unappealing. There’s no secret or hidden agenda to this album; from the unsavory look of the cover to the huge lack of depth and creative ends to some of the song, the entire project feels rushed and poorly executed.
West is known for stepping out of the box and being successful in doing so, but this isn’t one of those times where he succeeds. Contrary to popular belief, “Yeezus” isn’t omnipotent nor almighty as the album title suggests. It is rather a confusing, hodgepodge mess of a last ditch effort to garner some buzz and attention. West could do better, a lot better.