When one thinks of Kanye West, especially in recent times, the one thing the man doesn’t seem to shy away from is controversy – whether that controversy is justified or not is another thing but nonetheless the Chicago rapper is never far away from it.
This is where ‘Yeezus’ comes in.
Kanye’s sixth studio album was always going to have it tough because of the fact that it had to follow on from what West himself, and probably many others, consider to be rap/hip-hop perfection; his last album – ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. Personally though, I think it more than holds its own.
“Dark Fantasy can be considered to be perfect. I know how to make perfect, but that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to crack the pavement and make new grounds sonically and in society, culturally. – Kanye West”
An evolution of West’s fourth album, ‘808s and Heartbreaks’, Kanye pushes the more experimental type of music we heard from that LP to another level with ‘Yeezus’. Coming in at a relatively short 40 minutes, the 10 tracks of ‘Yeezus’ give listeners an insight into the best and the craziest (some might call worst) of what Kanye has to offer.
The list of collaborators is nothing to be sniffed at either; Daft Punk and Rick Rubin feature prominently in the production of the album as does Skrillex whilst Kanye sticks with some tried and tested collaborations from Charlie Wilson (‘Bound 2‘) and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver (‘Hold My Liquor & I’m In it’) as well as sampling the likes of Brenda Lee (‘Bound 2′) and Nina Simone (‘Blood On The Leaves’) on the tracks with a more classic Kanye West sound. Such a wide array of talent really adds to the album’s appeal as West utilises all the tools at his disposal to really push his sound into uncharted territory for the rap/hip-hop genre.
The album flows in a way that it begins with the most unusual tracks before going back to the classic Kanye sound around track six but it’s the first half of the album I find most interesting. A brief blast of electronic rhythms titled ‘On Sight‘ opens the album and sees West make his intentions known and let’s everyone know what they’re about to listen to with lyrics like “Yeezy season’s approachin … **** whatever else y’all been hearing … the Monster’s about to come alive again”. The track also contains references to things that West is known to be particularly angered with i.e the power of corporations, racism, criticism of interracial relationships, religion and the first half of the album continues in this manner with West airing his grievances about his life and what he perceives to be wrong with the world.
The following three tracks (‘Black Skinhead‘, ‘I am a God‘ and ‘New Slaves‘) see West delve deeper into the topics of racism, religion and corporations before delving into the matters of his personal life, particularly his experiences with women, for the rest of the album.
Kanye throws the rulebook out of the window with this album – it’s just so out there as a rap album that I think it has to be given the utmost respect. Definitely his most controversial album! His best? I think it’s damn near close! Without a doubt it’s one of the top-10 albums of the year!
Kanye reached No.9 In the Fortitude Albums of 2013. Check out these previous albums which made the top 10:
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