Review: Kanye West's "Yeezus"

Review: Kanye West's "Yeezus"

A hybrid of many sounds and ideas, “Yeezus” is an ambitious expansion of West’s sound palette.

Throughout the years Kanye West has transcended hip hop and has made music of his own kind. A hybrid of many sounds and ideas, Yeezus is an ambition expansion of West’s sound palette. Introducing news soundscapes and textures, the album has a completely new sound for the artist, and is a complete disregard for the rules of hip hop and music and because of it, it works. Ye is no stranger to blending sounds. In “Stronger” he fused electronic music with hip hop, he took the soul of the 70s into hip hop in the early 2000s. In Yeezus he delves deeper into electronic dance music with heavier sounds like acid, trip hop and post dubstep.

One of the highlights of the album, “Blood on the Leaves,” is an example of his ability to blend styles successfully bringing his 808 auto-tune singing to his College Dropout soul sampling: an evolution in his soulful sound.

Throughout the album there is superb sampling. Nina Simone sings about the lynching of the “Strange Fruit” in the trees of the South in “Blood on the Leaves.” A sample of “Blocka” by Pusha-T drives the gem of the album, “Guilt Trip,” as Kanye raps and sings about moving on from a relationship. The track sounds beautiful and then Cudi comes in to seal the deal with a quick outro to the track.

Within the album there’s a great deal of underground influence in its sound and feel. Kanye has moved far since his crisp production style present on “Late Registration” musically and evolved into a dirtier sound. Its very gritty and in your face. It feels as if Kanye pulled back his grandiose nature on “Watch The Throne” and stripped it to its rawest elements. Hints of Michael Jackson can be heard along with an 80s influence with new age electronic music like Crystal Castles and TNGHT in the music.

Even from the beginning of the album on, “On Sight” it’s easy to tell this is something different than the typical Kanye West sound. Heavy electro sounds fuel the Chi Town rapper. A well-placed sample of “He’ll Give Us What We Really Need” by Holy Name of Mary Choral Family is the cherry on top.

The production on the album is superb, but it’s also accompanied by intriguing lyrics. Kanye chants on “Black Skinhead,” “If I knew what I know in the past I would’ve been blacked out on your ass.” On “New Slaves” his signature asshole charm comes out in it chorus, “See there’s leaders and then there’s followers, but I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.” West raps “Pink-ass polos with a fucking backpack, but everybody know you brought real rap back,” on “I am a God” and with Yeezus, he has brought hip hop into a new era: a gritty religious sound. His lines are brash and blunt but that’s what makes them so great.

Yeezus is a complete departure into the lawless. It breaks many rules of conventional Hip Hop in a way creating its own. It’s a statement against establishment. Its very militant in its cadences, but dramatic in its break down. Its raw but sophisticated. Chaotic yet ordered.

The album is sure to polarize critics and fans. The much talked about screaming in Kanye’s shows are present on multiple songs, which may throw off some listeners. His content as well with a song titled “I am a God,” is sure to strike a chord with some people.

Besides polarizing views, this is an interesting body of music. A depature from his regular sound, Yeezus delivers a breath of fresh air into it, and given his evolution of musical style this is the beginning of a new Kanye.

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