Yeezus: Album Analysis
I am a true Kanye fan, so when his album was set to release I was anticipating a sequel to Watch the Throne or at least some of the old Kanye from College Dropout & Late Registration. If you’re looking for a quintessential Hip-Hop album, this isn’t it. This album is more of a sequel to 808s & Heartbreaks with a little My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy mixed in. As a matter of fact, most of the album could have been on MBDTF. This is not a bad thing; however, I think I can safely speak for us all when I say that we’ve had enough of him whining about previous relationships. Good thing he’s great at creating music and storytelling, which probably keeps his real fans hanging on until he comes back with a classic Kanye/Hip-Hop album, which we all know he can do. NonDescript, one half of local producing duo JM Productions, said “I feel like if Kanye wanted to he could make a classic Hip-Hop album. I hate all this extra crap he does. Until he returns to real rap I’m not messing with him. He’s corny to me at this point”. Some may agree. Here are my thoughts of the album in a track by track breakdown:
1. On Sight- “…and I know she like chocolate men, got more niggas off than Cochran…”
With every song on the album the production is abstract and dark. On Sight comes in with a funky synthesized type beat with raw lyrics and West’s infamous sampling. Kanye has always been a clever words man with a touch of dry humor and it’s apparent in a few of the lines. “…chopped ‘em both down, don’t judge him Joe Brown!”
2. Black Skinhead- “Stop all that coon shit..early morning cartoon shit...”
Very powerful cadence type beat that is fitting to the title. For some reason Kanye decided to experiment with screaming on this album which kind of scares me... but nonetheless I thought this was a classic Kanye song; a message over a sick beat with tons of angst. I like the “God” chants at the end that segue into the next track I Am A God. Awesome.
3. I Am A God-“the only rapper compared to Michael…”
Again, very dark production with screaming that almost makes the track sound demonic. But if you can get past that, there are some great bars in this song that mesh well with the beat. I totally get that Kanye is depicting himself being chased but it really takes away from the awesome music, and I wish he would have extended the portion without his vocals. I want more of the music! Great song even with those few irritants. The ending line “Ain’t no way I’m giving up on my God” is very haunting but potent. I like the reggae element as well.
4. New Slaves- “I know that we the new slaves, I see the blood on the leaves”
When I saw this title I was looking for another message to the black youth as portrayed in Murder to Excellence (Watch The Throne), and Kanye managed to impress me. Of course he’s bringing on the anger making valid points about how the black culture is still plagued with the materialistic state of mind. Not only does he get the point across, he uses satire to mock himself. …”y’all throwin contracts at me,you know that niggas can’t read! [throw em some Maybach keys] fuck it, C’est la vie!” That’s the typical attitude of young Hip-Hop that’s more concerned about the material things more than the fine print; metaphorically speaking and literally.
5. Hold My Liquor-“…5 years we been over…ask me why I came over…one mo’ hit and I can own ‘ya…”
If you don’t want to hear Kanye relive another encounter with an infamous ex then skip this one, HOWEVER, if you like the occasional chopped screwed auto tuned slooooow sizzurp track with a dash of guitar riffs, then you have that blended together perfectly, which makes for an awesome track. You’d probably want to vibe to this one when you’re alone in chill mode. (not mad at Chief Keef)
6. I’m In It-“careless whispers…eye fuckin…biting ass”
Definitely the raunchiest track on the album, I feel like he was channeling Plies but if vulgar content doesn’t offend you, then try to absorb the beat…actually he switches the beat a few times, bringing the reggae component back in. Very dramatic and Kanye-esque but he didn’t overcomplicate it. More screaming. *sigh* but I love this one. It’s downright dirty and it’s not a bad thing to rock to such songs occasionally.
7. Blood On the Leaves- “…now you sittin’ courtside wifey on the other side, gotta keep ‘em separated I call that apartheid…”
I can only assume the Billie Holiday sample Strange Fruit was supposed to bring symbolism to this rant to sideline chicks, meaning that there are some women who plot and scheme to literally “hang niggas” for the sake of their own foolish and selfish agendas. Fail. Knowing the background of the song, I was shocked by the theme in which he chose to write. The production was flawless and I find myself quoting the samples more than the verses because the content has no substance when you place it over such an emotional track. I’m over the angry-toward-bitches songs. I feel he’s evolving with production but not content. I love the music but not too fond of the lyrics, I just wish he would have went with a different approach for the topic. I must give him props for "taking it back to the 'Nolia" and inserting the C-Murder beat from the classic song Down 4 My Niggas. Dope. Great track nevertheless, and probably one if not the best on the album.
8. Guilt Trip-“I hit her with Jamaican dick, I’m the new ‘Shabba!’”
Another 808’s inspired synthesized sounding track that throws us back into the tales of the exes again while adding a taste of reggae. I am also a Kid Cudi fan and his last few guest appearances on Kanye’s albums have been singing. And wouldn’t you know? He’s singing on this one as well. It’s appropriate for the song, but this is one I’d skip unless I’m on a road trip and the album is playing.
9. Send It Up- “memories don’t live like people do…”
The reggae aspect was not an unwelcome guest on this album. I thought it added little pieces of Hip-Hop that were generally lacking. This was a semi complicated beat but it worked.
10. Bound 2- “…one good girl is worth a 1000 bitches…”
This is probably the one track on the album that is truly Hip-Hop. He almost ruined it with the woman talk but the samples and Charlie Wilson saved it and it’s a classic Kanye record in my opinion.
In summation, Yeezus is epic work from Kanye. Out of the seven albums, I rank it #5 and give it 4 out of 5 stars. Fellow music eclectic & Kanye fan Greg Watson said “…Hip-Hop heads with no imagination hate it..but those people don’t actually like music just rap that they can directly relate to.”
If you heard Yeezus, what do YOU think? Comment below.