Of all the rap albums that came out this week, only one album was interesting enough to talk about. And with Yeezus, I really do mean interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, J. Cole and Mac Miller’s latest albums aren’t bad, just kind of plain. Mac Miller is a little bit more introspective than I want him to be (especially for nineteen track), and J. Cole doesn’t quite have enough diversity in his lyrics yet to really stand out in the rap market. With Kanye though, you know that you are going to get something different – for better or for worse. And you get it with Yeezus, an industrial rap album that’s filled to the brim with glitchy electronics, racially conscience lyrics, and a listening experience that both hits and misses the mark.
The two songs Kanye performed on Saturday Night Live, “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” are musts for any Kanye fan. “Black Skinhead” has this marching beat that carries this song on its back, while Kanye basically screams some of his lyrics, creating a rather catchy song in the process (it’s being used in the awesome The Wolf on Wall Street trailer). “New Slaves” has a bleep bloopy kind of beat, with some of Kanye’s most racially intense lyrics he has ever spit, including a line about picking cotton himself and the CCA. There are a couple of other good songs on Yeezus, including “Hold My Liquor,” which sounds like a James Blake song in between ‘Ye’s lyrics. The closer “Bound 2” ends the album on a rather positive note, with a nice sample, R&B hook, and some impressive lyrics throughout.
Yeezus is no where near perfect, however. The track “Blood On The Leaves” has a great sample, but the auto-tune just got on my nerves after a while. “Send It Up” is supposed to be the party song on the album, but I can’t see this alarm like beat go off in a club. There’s a tie for worst lyrics on Yeezus between the songs “I Am A God” and “I’m In It.” The former has this small conversation with Jesus and an uninspired and unconvincing hook, while the latter has lines like “Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign” and “So scared of my demons / I go to sleep with a nightlight.” Really, ‘Ye?
After multiple listens, I came out enjoying it for the mot part. I still love his first three albums more than his last three, but that doesn’t mean this is a bad listen. Kanye die hards will find many things to praise here, and sure, there are some tracks that actually deserve it. As much as it pains me to say this, the production is what sells this record. Maybe if Kanye sounded like he cared more, like on “Black Skinhead” or “New Slaves,” we would be dealing with another classic from Kanye. But where Yeezus fits into his discography is about fourth best – fifth if you think My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was revolutionary.
Final Grade: B
Go Download: “Black Skinhead”