“I get to represent somebody I don’t think is getting represented right now,” says West. “The regular dude: the guy who believes in God but still likes pussy.” – Kanye West (Fader interview 2003)
It’s interesting to say the least, how that quote is relevant throughout Yeezus,; Kanye’s sixth solo album, with the one difference being that he now believes he’s of higher power as he arrogantly snarls on “I Am a God.” For a career that has a life span just short of 10 years, Kanye West has remained the one artist that pushes the cultural envelop with his music and isn’t afraid to fight for what he feels he deserves. He made his debut hell bent on being taken seriously as a rapper and his skills continued to elevate with each offering until venturing off course with 808’s in 2008. Since then, West seemingly became bored with rap and quite frankly, shit changed. Understandably so, considering the untimely passing of his mother.
2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was West aiming to regain composure or as he shared with New York Times recently, it was his “long back handed apology”. Yeezus serves as an unapologetic experiment that doesn’t care to please, but instead would much rather piss you off.
“On Sight” was crafted by Daft Punk and finds Yeezy in his all too familiar bragging territory. The track helps usher in what’s to come for the remaining nine tracks over the jagged noisy production as West wastes little time delving into his lifestyle. Kanye has never been a lyrical powerhouse, but his lack of effort can be overwhelming at times on this disk (“I just talked to Jesus, he said what up Yeezus”). “Black SkinHead” highlights this experiment in an admirable way. Sampling Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People,” the Daft Punk production helps West delve into this new direction and there’s no in between; you love it or you absolutely loathe it, but it’s a ravishing earful that absorbs you.
“Hold My Liquor” features Justin Vernon and a woozy Chief Keef who adds some much needed flare to this tale of having drunk sex with an ex, while “I’m in It” shows traces of dancehall and explores sexual tryst with multiple women before going awkward on us with the awful lyrics “Eating Asian pussy all I need is sweet and sour sauce.” But the album reaches a creative high when West dares to sample Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit” and C-Murder’s “Down for My Ni**as” resulting in an infectious auto tuned hit reminiscent of his 808’s album. But when the song should conclude, West begins to ruin the magic with his painful overkill of Autotune.
Kanye West is a relentless asshole, and we’ve known this for years. In fact he prides himself off carrying such a title as he’s proven in the past. He could’ve easily given us an album with soul samples that shoots to the top of the charts. He strategically closes the album with “Bound 2″ which is a nod to his Dropout/Late Registration past to show us he’s still capable of such a record, but he chose to be rebellious enlisting help from producers that break the hip hop mold and are known for going against the grain. Unfortunately, this results in Kanye’s laziest effort lyrically but his biggest fu*k you to critics with plenty of shinning moments, but just as many awkward ones. As he once told VIBE magazine, he’d much rather piss people off and be happy than make everyone else happy and be pissed off inside. We can only assume he’s the happiest he’s ever been right now.