Sorry, Kanye, But We Gonna Hafta Hate on Yeezus
Kanye West has come a long way in the eight years since he dropped his debut album College Dropout. He has risen in the charts numerous times and overcome several escapades of public shenanigans to become a permanent fixture in today’s pop culture, but the question remains: Can Kanye’s rap skills compete with his over-the-top personality? On his latest release, Yeezus, these two attributes try to coexist but at times the constant struggle between the two is distracting.
The album starts out with “On Sight.” The electronic drum introduction gives hope that this might be a decent track, but that all changes when Kanye opens his mouth, spouting gems like “we got this bitch shaking like Parkinson’s.” As a new father and newlywed one would think tracks about cuckolding might not appear at least not right out the gate. For the most part the lyrical content is what makes this whole album fall apart. How will he feel in fifteen years when teenage North’s boyfriend quotes this back at him: “Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign/and grabbed it with a slight grind/and held it til the right time/ then she came like AAAHHH!”?
The beats and production on almost every track are exquisite and in the hands of anybody else this would be considered a classic. Daft Punk are credited with production for four tracks on Yeezus, the RZA with one, and God himself Rick Rubin played a hand in three of the tracks. On paper this album should be fantastic, but Kanye’s attitude and demeanor changes the tone of this whole ordeal.
Of the ten songs, one of the only tracks that pulls it all together is “Hold My Liquor” featuring Chief Keef and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. This track is reminiscent of “Runaway” from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in its honesty and simplicity. The RZA creates a lush somewhat volatile environment for Kanye to confess his sins.
Yeezus most likely will not be the last we hear from Kanye West and that is a good thing. West, on more than one occasion, has shown that he has talent, and with a bit more maturity we could see it portrayed with more consistency. With that said, after one listen through there isn’t much playback value present on Yeezus. Maybe after he and his new family are a little more settled we might see less bravado and more substance.