Going back to 2013, Hip-Hop was blessed with a gift, by the always evolving “genius that ain’t crazy”, Kanye West. Mr. West released his 6th studio album, named one of the most narcissistic records of that year; ‘Yeezus’.
Following his break up with Amber Rose and moving into a relationship with Kim Kardashian, the overall sonic sound, tone of Kanye’s vocals, samples, producers and guest features opened a creative door for Kanye that saw him being praised, as well as criticised by both dedicated fans, critics and the regular radio listen. The album doesn’t play as elegantly or smoothly as his previous albums, ‘The College Dropout’ or ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. However, the frantic Daft Punk synths, chaotic melodies from Mike Dean manic Electronic/House vibes provided by Evian Christ all adds a certain element of Kanye’s creative process.
From the beginning song, “On Sight” with crazy synthesized out and over the top drums, Kanye addresses “Yeezy Season” and shows that this album would be his most career-changing and debated in his discography for a while. Immediately after, it rolls into the African-drum, trippy vocal loop and gritty guitar string, “Black Skinhead”. Kanye addresses his critics and how Kanye is one of Hip-Hop’s acts one doesn’t want to go up against. At ten tracks length, at the time of its release, it was a disappointment, however, the density of each track and how they flow into the next one and the one previous into that, it feels like a Science-Fiction movie that was entirely done by West, and over time, the shortness of the album finally makes sense.
One of the first songs that stood out to me was the transparency of Kanye West, Justin Vernon and Chief Keef collaborating on one of the more ‘intimate’ tracks, especially for Keef and Ye, for opening up about love and lust as well as the block between Keef and “handling liquor, controlling [his] niggas” as well as them “controlling” Keef with his past addiction to drugs. Yet, Kanye raps about multiple topics on the album.
“I Am A God” is one of the most experimental tracks on the record. The odd synths that float about like asteroids, thumping of heavy House drums and Kanye’s aggressive stance on what makes someone a god. “Blood On The Leaves”, which samples the extremely depressing “Strange Fruit” by Nina Simone. While it doesn’t follow the melancholy of the sample, Kanye relives a time of love, abusing drugs and fame. The horns, hi-hats and overall production throughout this track is phenomenal and is a must-listen too when listening to this album.
Other highlights include the Hip-Rock-House “Guilt Trip” featuring classic KiD CuDi hums and ad-libs, as well as the King Louie assisted “Send It Up” and the OG sounding Kanye on the ending track “Bound 2”. In All, Kanye’s sixth studio album is a specific listen. It’s perfect for when you’re pissed off and shows a side of Kanye that not only we hadn’t seen in public, but also one who, over all the confusing production and harsh vocals, there is much too be related to on this album.