Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yeezus H. Christ

Yeezus by Kanye West

It's hard to imagine that just 10 years ago Kanye West was almost strictly a producer, crafting unforgettable soul beats for big brother Jay-Z, Talib Kweli, Scarface and Beanie Sigel, among others. His sample-heavy debut album The College Dropout (2004) propelled Mr. West into recording artist stardom. Scholastic follow-ups Late Registration (2005) and Graduation (2007) further cemented his legacy as a conceptual genius. The fourth installment, Good Ass Job, never came to fruition, as West chose a different creative direction when his mother Donda West passed away late in 2007. The minimalistic 808's & Heartbreak (2008), which heavily featured auto-tune and elektro-pop beats, dealt with love and heartache. Oppositely, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) excelled in its grandiosity.

As if five highly-succesful solo albums did not suffice, Kanye West also collaborated on Watch The Throne (2011) with Jay-Z and Cruel Summer (2012) with his GOOD Music label mates. And somehow, he still finds the time for producing for other artists, designing fashion, dating famous socialite Kim Kardashian, and bumping heads with the paparazzi.


Mr West decided against promoting his sixth solo effort in traditional fashion. Instead of putting out a music video, he projected New Slaves on 66 buildings across the world. Instead of handing over the video to conventional outlets, he performed on Saturday Night Live. Very little was communicated except for the controversial album title, Yeezus. Apparently, this was just what it took to build massive anticipation. When Yeezus reportedely leaked on Friday, June 14, Twitter users went gorillas for a download link.

I have had the album on repeat for the past two days, and I have to admit that I am thoroughly impressed. Yeezus is a 40 minute-long nightmare about race, class, and sex, exceeding several genres along the way. The lyrics are radical and hostile, save for the final cut, Bound 2, which appears to be an ode to Kim Kardashian. Yeezus is not a radio-friendly album, but it is bizarre and brilliant, and above all, a groundbreaking tour de force by the ever-evolving Mr. West.

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