Many hated this album when it dropped but plenty of us have come back around. No Yeezus is not the 5-star masterpiece than we’re accustomed to from Mr. West. He went left with this dark, jarring ride. I mean if you’re still looking for reflections of then-impending fatherhood and clear insight into his relationship with Kim K, go that way.
As the paps’ favorite target told the homie Zane Lowe, this is the sound of frustration. You see the powers that be won’t recognize Mr. West’s genius in the fashion world so there’s hell to be paid. “Fuck you and your corporation, you niggas can’t control me,” he growls on the vengeful “New Slaves.” But when Donda’s baby boy isn’t bringing it to corporate America he does find time for a lil fun. On “Hold My Liquor,” he gets loose of the (Grey) Goose with fellow hometown Chriaq troublemaker Chief Keef and Ye keeps it 312 with King L(ouie) on the riveting club-ready “Send It Up.” But you DJs be sure to fade out before that Barrington Levy sample kicks in at the end.
Yeah Yeezus is flawed. “Black Skinhead” doesn’t rock my boat and “I Am A God” leaves a bad taste in your mouth like a stale Starbucks croissant. But you can’t deny the flavor of “Blood On The Leaves” and “Bound 2”. “Blood” is a 808s And Heartbreak-esque record on steroids. I still remember jamming with Jay, B, and Khaled at the listening to it on first listen. Jay made Ye bring it back and we all rejoiced. It’s crazy that the song is 6 minutes but doesn’t feel too long at all.
“Bound” is vintage soul-sample Yeezy at his best. Judging by the changing of the opening line (“Brandy’s little sister lame and he know it now”) on his perennial Fallon performance, this one is dedicated to wifey. It’s easy to keep this joint on repeat. And what more can I say about the tune’s guest star, the great Charlie Wilson? The Gap Band don delivers like the sound of the Man Above and blesses the union. You go Uncle.
On his sixth solo album, Mr. West went out of his way to prove he’s not competing musically with the new generation of rap stars he inspired. J.Cole even challenged him for sales supremacy and although Light Skinned Jermaine more than held his own, Kanye’s got the whole world excited again. Humbly playing Drake’s OVO Fest and then snatching up celebrated lyricist, Kendrick Lamar to open for him on his first tour in five years are veteran chess moves that have him looking like the victor. Guess Ye got the last laugh after all.—YN