In my first throwback review of 2014, I take a close look at one of hip-hop's most digressed album of 2013: Yeezus by Kanye West. If you don't know, or have not yet known of this production heavy album by one of hip-hop's most finest lyricists, then you might've seen it on charts elsewhere, popping up in the top ten pretty much on every chart. But does the album, now that we've gotten such a long time to digest, really worth the hype and the attention? Furthermore, does it warrant the number one position from others greats such as Eminem or Jay-Z?
First of all, I was never a big Kanye fan nor a big fan of his music, so it's probably right that I steer clear off Kanye's previous works right? Well, unfortunately, I did get to listen to Watch The Throne (which is a stellar record), and alongside his partner-in-rhyme, Jay-Z did also drop his album (Magna Carter Holy Grail) and to such promotion, managed to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, but the album was not all that impressive as well. Surely Kanye West would raise eyebrows with his clever lyrics and dazzling and oftentimes 'off the handle' production and provide listeners and fans something new?
To be honest, I listened to the album off and on since it's release months ago, but haven't gotten my head round on to a decent rating because the record itself is very iffy to me. There were problems, yes, but most of these problems you could say have been plaguing Kanye since his release of My Dark Twisted Fantasy almost three years ago (which had universal acclaim, similar to Yeezus), but in truth it did fall short on some cylinders. However, it seemed as though Yeezus followed in the footsteps of the album and seemingly imploded itself by the third song through.
Yeezus had some problems like I said, and most of the problem lies in very clear, cut-throat deliveries that can be heard on every song. Firstly, the tracks are clunky, loud with 'straight at your face' production with epic beats, gigantic synthesizers and oftentimes lacking or lazy lyrics that feel dated and deprived. This happens on almost every song, with maybe exceptions on Black Skinhead and New Slaves because of maybe how I rate the song differently than the others on the album. The tracks, from the get-go with On Sight, is just awfully stretched and punches you in the face with the epic production that covers and came quite close to destroying the song for me. Though it's only 2 and a half minutes long, the track is overloaded with too much production that doesn't really inform, produce nor carries the impact it originally has. Thus, the song isn't the best opener for an album in my opinion.
You may feel the tradition being passed on with Black Skinhead, serving really no purpose. And this routine just clicks for Yeezus, with random, bloated and loud production that really corners and coats most of the song, pulling you out of the lyrical tone that Kanye is trying to express. And that comes to my second problem with Yeezus. The lyrics have become almost flat repetitive of just the last word rather than having the capability to try something new. I'm not saying that Kanye has become lazy, but the tracks do feel so, especially with such heavy production emphasis, Kanye doesn't really shine in the word department and just lets it fall flat rather than lead it behind. For example, in Black Skinhead, Kanye raps 'stop all that goon shit; early morning cartoon shit' and then going on in Bound 2 by rapping 'this is what we do; don't tell your mom shit'. If this doesn't feel recycled, then I don't know what is.
Lastly, the mighty problem might possibly lie in the way of which the song structures itself and how the subject matters all lie into place, such as I Am A God (which doesn't really translate to anything else if you're thinking what the song is trying to interpret from the title itself) and Guilt Trip, which all feels but a very mixed pot that resulted in decently average tracks that don't exactly pile up to Kanye's previous works. In fact, they pale in comparison so hard that it made them feel out of place as well.
All in all Yeezus accomplished little with so much. And for Kanye, that is really a big deal as a rapper producer who takes a hands-on approach and has an effort that feels laid back, weak and off his hinges.
5.5/10: Yeezus transpires to become something with it's big sound, but it really accomplished was record sales which diminished after the first week. It did show some egoism from Kanye, but the album itself is a total mess. Could I say My Dark Twisted Fantasy was a better album than Yeezus? The synopsis seems to be so.
Benny Ong: Just your regular guy who likes soccer more than most people, and also a little downtime is pretty nice.