When I think of Kanye West, the first word that comes to mind is obnoxious. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a hit-maker. I thoroughly enjoy his music (all except his 2008 release 808s & Heartbreak). But, as a person, I find him obnoxious. And that’s part of why I look forward to hearing his new music. Not only do I know it’ll be edgy and well produced, but it’ll be obnoxious. It’ll be interesting. And Yeezus does not let down.
This review will be brief. There’s not much I can improve upon Big Ghost’s review of Yeezus on okayplayer.com. But it is the CD I’ve got on repeat, and as an influential part of my life right now, I want to give it some air time.
From the first couple of notes, you know the CD is going to be weird. From the first couple bars, you know the flow is going to be tight. From the first song, you know Yeezus is going to be a good CD.
So you get through the first couple songs. You still aren’t sure whether this CD would be categorized as electronic or hip hop at this point. But you like the bass, the samples, the lyrics. And the next couple of songs, just by their titles alone (“I Am a God” and “New Slaves”), have promise.
“I Am a God” is probably my favorite song on the album. It has that electronic beat to it. It has high energy lyrics. And it’s almost overwhelmingly obnoxious. Just fantastic. The following track, “New Slaves”, is also great. Another catchy techno beat, more catchy lyrics. At this point you’re trying to remember if there have been any actual drums on the CD yet.
And after that, like most albums, it goes soft. Only one or two of the jams left on the CD are really any good. The lines that give you pause are fewer and farther between. The beats lack the power to carry the album.
But if Kayne knows how to do anything, it’s finish strong. And if “I Am a God” is my favorite song on this CD because it embodies everything I hate about Kanye the person, “Bound 2” is my favorite song on this CD because it reminds me of everything I love about Kanye the artist.
The last song on Yeezus, “Bound 2”, starts off with a sweet sample from Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s 1971 jam “Bound”. Soon as the flow starts, you feel the soul come through, and are reminded of a Kanye from back in the day. The lyrics are catchy, the message is powerful. The track has its quirks, which keep you grounded in how odd of an experience you’ve just gone through, but it’s a nice conclusion to an entirely entertaining album.
If you’re just looking for some beats that’ll bang, this album isn’t for you. To be honest, this album is so weird I don’t even play it loud over headphones fearing someone nearby may wonder WTF I’m listening to. If you just listen to the previews on iTunes or Amazon, you’re going to get the wrong impression of the CD. It’s definitely not your traditional rap CD, but given Kanye’s recent track record of let-downs, Yeezus far exceeded my expectations. Probably the first hip hop CD I’ve been able to listen to the whole way through—and play on repeat—in like a decade. In the most obnoxious way possible, Kanye sums up himself well:
Pink-ass polos with a fucking backpack / But everybody know you brought real rap back.
We could only be so lucky to see a Yeezus 2 release in the near future.