Six albums ago, many people were justly excited to champion Kanye West as one of the greatest musicians/artists this world was going to see. With songs like “Jesus Walks” and “Slow Jamz,” his debut, The College Dropout, merited a fair amount of attention and accolades. But many of these enthusiasts were made out to seem just as delusional as the self-proclaimed Jesus of hip-hop. Now, with Yeezus, it’s obviously clear – with an album that brilliantly swells at forty minutes and ten songs – that West is undeniably one of the best of all time. Someone that people will look back on and evidently be inspired by, the Chicago native’s sixth album is a minimalist, and yes, very heated, outlook on innovative exposures and adventures.
Unlike earlier albums, this is West’s most cohesive and tightest album to date. Although Graduation was his first skit-free record, Yeezus’ style seeps into and onto every single song. The ten tracks on here respire a singular motion of life that recalls utterly exceptional samples and impressive flow: the assertion to sensation is the same but this time, West has decided to upscale much of the production for a grimier, grittier sound that is entirely welcoming. Rumored to be finished just a few days before its release, Yeezus sounds lively and invigorating; songs like “Guilt Trip” feature synthesizers as West explores a world of electronics disparate from before.
On that aforementioned song West employs the trades of Kid Cudi to shine his keyboard-heavy skills with tightened synthesizers that reveal an impeccable sound of electronics that are out of this world. Recorded mostly at the so-called “No Name Hotel” – a hotel in Paris where West was able to creatively craft these original sounds and beginnings – the beats are front and heavy on Yeezus. As Kid Cudi sings out, “if you loved me so much then why’d you let me go?” it’s crystal-clear that he’s delivering West’s message about being hurt and never truly understanding one’s intentions. The magic in Yeezus comes from West’s significant ability at being able to tie in poignant feelings with tremendously gifted and soaring melodies and hooks.
On “Hold My Liquor” West contradicts his meanings with Justin Vernon’s opening about how he [West] can definitely hold his liquor; but then in the entire, sole, verse of the song West details his drunken escapades and thus, is asking someone to hold his liquor so this monster doesn’t appear again. The album circulates around West’s personal tendencies and paints the picture of an imperfect soul – one that is still very much learning the curve of life and how to overcome all of his issues. The song’s thriving synthesizer and the hook by young Chief Keef showcase Yeezy once again in full control and he displays a story of lost love and overcoming it with an open embrace into honesty. Immediately following this West showcases Vernon again, with a hook that again emphasizes learning from the past with “I’m In It.” Featuring Assassin as well, the beats are once again forceful and in your face – it’s clear that West was eager to prove many points and the beats convey a hard-hitting exposure.
West’s swagger is in full effect of course, with the opening line to the album being “Yeezus season approaching.” Very brash and self-assuredly accurate, West understands that once his album hits there will be nothing else that matters. A genuine student of music, West went back and found sounds from his Chicago hometown to find inspiration; fortunately he came across Phuture’s “Acid Tracks,” a feature from the 80’s acid house scene and with the help of Daft Punk’s production, the opening “On Sight” is a masterful way to open Yeezus. And ending with “Bound 2,” West again – if he hadn’t already done so with every single sample before – presents how he is one of the few kings of samples in music, with a heavenly blend of borrowed songs, onto a closing declaration about how he’s inevitably…bound to fall in love again.
Forever unabashed and unwilling to compromise, West has once more made his worth very well apparent with Yeezus. Many bands like Wilco, Talking Heads and the ever-popular Radiohead – to name a select few – have made successful careers out of continuously re-inventing themselves and trying new styles. West is one of the few choice hip-hop artists of our generation – and of all time, for that matter – to continue to push himself with every new release. Before he was a misunderstood student, turned into a successful graduate and worked hard to place himself on the throne, Yeezus is the complete affirmation of an artist willing to try new endeavors and wholeheartedly nail it. It’s the proper sign of an astonishing artist and as one of the greatest, we’re all just oh so lucky to rejoice in ‘Yeezus season.’