Album Review: Yeezus

It has been a week since Kanye West released his 6th solo album “Yeezus” I have heard the album the same day, and I have to honestly say that I was not at all impressed. I have looked around on the internet for an honest review of Kanye’s latest work, and could not find it. This album is getting a lot of mainstream praise, mostly because it is Kanye West.  You know the saying, if you don’t like someone else’s story,  write your own. So, I decided to write this.

First of all, I am a hip hop fan, and Kanye is one of the more talented recent acts in the game. Second, outside of 808’s and Heartbreak, I pretty much rock with all of Kanye’s discography. Unfortunately, I can not add Yeezus to this list. Why, may you ask? Well, lets start from the top. The first track “On Sight” is a weak intro to the work. Yes, it has a nice beat, but it just underwhelms. “Black Skinhead” is great, and is one of the better tracks on here. Too bad that everything on here is not up to par. On “I Am A God” his flow is aight, but the bragging outweighs the lyricism that fans know he can display. “New Slaves” with its spoken word like delivery and open hits at the prison industrial complex starts off well enough. Then veers off into a rant that goes nowhere. Well it does go somewhere, but it isn’t a place of decency. So I wont mention it here. On this album, the pre-occupation by Kanye with drinking and “mating” is overwhelming. It’s like he just fully allowed his id to run wild, with little thought of how that would affect the overall project. I have already summed up “Hold My Liquor” and “I Am In It” that there is not much else to say on them. “Blood on The Leaves” sounds nice, but considering the gravity of the sample and the subject matter, I feel that it was wasted. To sample Strange Fruit and go off talking about Molly’s. No. That’s not cool. From there, the album gets a little better with “Send it Up” and of course “Bound 2”, but that is not enough to save it.

Four good songs do not an album make. If you liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, then you should probably skip this album. It is not that I am against Kanye experimenting with different sounds. Nor do I want or expect him to keep making the same album over and over again. It is just that he is obviously slacking lyrically, and riding the unconventional production and shock value as a selling point. In his last project, he managed to focus his narcissism into songs that folks could connect with on some level. To go from “finding bravery in my bravado” to this, is just a noticeable downgrade. Instead of a coherent, well put together album- what we get is a 40 minute temper tantrum. This album makes your ears feel like they are under assault. And not in a good way. This album feels rushed, and the conversation around it is better than the actual record itself.

“This man of God” is backsliding. Although to many, he can do no wrong, Kanye has lost his way with Yeezus. Right now, in my opinion he is 4 for 6 when it comes to good records. Not bad enough for me to make me stop checking for him, but enough to make me say, try again, Yeezy.

-Marc W. Polite

P.S. – If you say that this album is better than MBDTF, you are bugging!







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  1. I want to preface this by saying I would never claim that “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is better than “Yeezus”. MBDTF did so many things right; it’s the pinnacle of Kanye’s musical career in many ways. “Graduation” is my personal favourite album, but MBDTF was the culmination of all of Ye’s previous influences and experiments and it really impressed me, and still continues to.

    I enjoyed your perspective on the album–not many people, as you said, are willing to go against the album because of the name on (or noticeably absent from) the cover. That being said, I think it’s a little bit unfair to condemn “New Slaves” based on the climax of that song and at the same time praise “Bound 2” in spite of its content. I’m not saying I don’t like either track–quite the opposite–but a song that begins “when a real n– hold you down, you’re supposed to drown” is no less edgy/borderline offensive than “New Slaves” is.

    Moreover, the gravity of the sample “Strange Fruit” should not weigh in on criticism of the song “Blood on the Leaves”. For one, it makes a great sounding track, one of the more infectious songs in my opinion, but at the same time I think that Kanye understands the gravity that the song carries. He uses the line “I see the blood on the leaves” in “New Slaves” 4 or 5 times. He’s certainly aware of the meaning behind the song and that’s why he chose it on an album heavily preoccupied with racial marginalization and disenfranchisement: so that those songs that aren’t entirely cohesive lyrically adopt meaning from the surrounding tracks. Kanye is pissed off: he’s pissed off at Black History (and more importantly Black present), he’s pissed off with ex-lovers, and I think he’s also pissed off with himself, similar to the mindset of 808s. There are complex layers to this album–they may peel off more like human flesh than onion skin, but I believe they’re there nonetheless.

    Also, while I think he’s pissed off, to call his album a “40 minute temper tantrum” seems a grievous understatement and trivialization of an album that deals with some serious issues, and handles them well. That being said that’s all in my opinion, as is your review in yours, and I respect your willingness to say you don’t like the album where so many people havent’ been.

  2. Good morning Mike. I suppose we see things a little differently, which I can respect. The thing about “New Slaves” its tone was an explicit social commentary song, and in my opinion the way it ends detracts from that message. In the case of “Bound 2” this song is more of a feel good, harken back to the soul samples of Kanye kind of piece. That line itself is just weird.

    I agree with you about “Blood on the Leaves” being sonically thorough, but lyrically, it falls short. Him mentioning it so many times was like a preview of it. Which led me to think that it would be another overtly social commentary based song. Hmm… there may be layers here, but I am judging it next to some of his other work- and it just doesn’t stand up. Where is the lyrical dexterity of a “Gorgeous” on this album? That’s what really bugs me about this album. As far as my statement on the 40 minute temper tantrum, I said that partially because this album lacks direction. The “college” themed series all had direction, and while MBDTF had less direction than those first three, it is still a great album. I appreciate you taking the time out to engage me on this album review.

  3. I can see where you might disappointed with the album in that regard. The toughest thing when reviewing a Kanye album is comparing it to his other work, because his catalogue is such a pleasure to listen to. I will concede that lyrically it certainly isn’t his most ground breaking work. In fact, in comparison to his entire discography, I’d probably rank “Yeezus” last. That being said, Kanye is leaps and bounds ahead of most of the lyrically/musically stagnating artists currently in Hip-Hop. I appreciate his desire to do something new, and while I think you’re right to be more wary about this album–to question it more–the fact that it still provokes us in that manner means Kanye has again been successful in many ways.


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