Kanye West – Yeezus (Album Review)


Kanye West’s status has risen and he’s in the public eye even more now than ever, so let see what’s happened to him musically.

1. “On Sight”

Satchford: With Daft Punk on the beat, I knew Tron would come to mind. This is some futuristic, do the robot on a motorcycle type music. That soul sample that comes in is crazy and the intro verse set it all up that Yeezy season has come again. Its different, but im digging it.

Yeezy season approaching
Fuck whatever y’all been hearing
Fuck what, fuck whatever y’all been wearing
A monster about to come alive again
Soon as I pull up and park the Benz
We get this bitch shaking like Parkinsons

S.G.: I’m not feeling that sound at the beginning of the song, it’s annoying. I like the soul break featuring the Holy Name of Mary Choral Family. The rest of the song seems kind of choppy and it doesn’t really provide a persistent rhythm. Yet I appreciate Kanye’s attempt to bring something different to the game.

2. “Black Skinhead”

Satchford: The overall feel of this reminds me of the african performance during Coming To America. Some true tribal music. Love Lockdown? You hear that yelling in the background? He spazzed on this. The SNL performance was dope too.

Middle America packed in
Came to see me in my black skin
Number one question they asking
Fuck every question you asking
If I don’t get ran out by Catholics
Here come some conservative Baptists
Claiming I’m overreacting
Like them black kids in Chiraq bitch

S.G.: I like how this song starts out similar to one of those songs that they would play at the beginning of basketball games.
They see a black man with a white woman at the top floor they going to try to come to kill King Kong
I enjoy the chorus, it’s got a nice build up to it. Those drums are hitting so hard, definitely Rick Rubin inspired.

3. “I Am a God”

Satchford: No idea what the guy is saying at the beginning but whatever, it works i guess. My head nod is swift but focused trying to grasp to each word but the synths just make me want to dance like Diddy. The groove is there. Whats up with all this screaming? The double meanings throughout this track will have you pondering if he has a case with this claim. Is he a god? Hmm. you be the judge.

S.G.: That 808 at the beginning of the song is so tough. I like how that distorted voice comes in and the song fades after it says “I am a God”. Hurry up with my damn croissant, lmao. The screaming at the end of the song freaks me out a little bit. I’m not really a fan of the metaphor used in the song, that’s just me, therefore I appreciate the instrumentation more than the lyrics.

4. “New Slaves”

Satchford: Maybe he had a recent epiphany about all of this but It comes on sounding like some rebel shit. (Quickly added to the workout playlist) A spit in the face to everyone and I love it, more spazzing 🙂 No one could have made such a track but Kanye. The first track I repeated after the first listen. The switch at the end is cool…random….but cool. Classic kanye.

S.G.: I liked how he started off the song describing his experience in society using some historic metaphors. “I rather be a dick than a swallower”, me too! The second verse sounded more like a rant than anything special. His first verse was more creative. “f#ck you and your Hampton house” thank you! The closing out of the song was so pure. It sounds like the feeling of freedom. It has a victorious vibe to it. That Omega sample is straight up glory!

5. “Hold My Liquor” (featuring Chief Keef and Justin Vernon)

Satchford: The beat is alright and the song delves into drunk episodes and the illusions that come with it. Overall, this is a speed bump in the album for me and most likely, this will get minimal play from me in the future. Does the album take a turn for the worse? I hope not.

S.G.: This song sounds like it came straight off of 808 & Heartbreaks. I like how that reverb comes in and the tempo of the song slightly changes. “slightly scratched your Corolla, ok I crashed your Corolla”, lmao. His verse totally matches the title of the song. Pretty nice song to listen to.

6. “I’m in It”

Satchford: Its growing on me but Its ok at best. I do like where Justin Vernon comes in with that singing.

Time to take it too far now
Uh, Michael Douglas out the car now
Uh, got the kids and the wife life
Uh, but can’t wake up from the night life
Uh, I’m so scared of my demons
Uh, I go to sleep with a nightlight

S.G.: A part of me doesn’t like the sounds used at the beginning of the song. I like how those Portishead types of drums come in. I don’t know what’s up with Reggaeton themed songs all of a sudden. That portion really ruins it for me. Luckily that synth comes in near the end of the song and that whining sound comes in and out in the background. I guess you can call that part a bridge, whatever it is I loved it. “on a Tron bike”, lmao.

7. “Blood on the Leaves”

Satchford: With such a powerful meaningful sample, I thought Ye would have done a bit more to make this track special. However, we get a ok track about heartbreak. This one is nothing great after the first few listens. Missed opportunity. Shout to C-Murder.

S.G.: Such a pure sampluer to open up with. Autotune ? Ok I can deal with it seeing that those horns are so hard. It really does remind me of that old C-Murder “Down for my Ni99az”. I feel like this song is for the big boned people. It has a tough exterior but the interior is full of emotion. I think the sample helps to communicate to the listener.

8.”Guilt Trip” (featuring Kid Cudi)

Satchford: More heartbreak but i can ride to this. Production is pretty good and Cudi’s part was cool. I kept wanting someone to come in and spit some heat (i.e. Twista) but it doesnt happen. The chorus is stuck in my head.

S.G.: This one sounds like another song off of 808 and Heartbreaks, which isn’t a bad thing IMO. I like how he used that distorted voice in the hook. “your feelings like Zulu, nothing is a Shaka”. The bassline really helped to take the whole song to another level, but when Cudi comes in that’s when the song gets real to me. Cudi does a great job of pumping the emotion into the song. You can hear the agony in his voice.

9. “Send It Up” (featuring King L)

Satchford: ok track thats made for the club but i thought the beat could have been better with the lead melody – too simple. Nonetheless, your hips will move to this. King L’s verse and chorus was a good addition. Oh shit, Beenie Man! memorieeeesss!

S.G.: Ugh this song sucks. That sound in the background is annoying. I couldn’t bare to listen to it.

10. “Bound 2”

Satchford: Soulful jam that would serve College Dropout well. Heatmakerz involved in the production – that doesn’t surprise me one bit. i like this. Did they just throw this up here for the hell of it? This kind of reminds me of Chance’s Prom Night. Overall, nice track.

S.G.: Ponderosa Twins Plus One, kudos! “rock forever 21, but just turned 30!” lmao. This my jammy right here. When Charlie Wilson comes in the song just shifts, it’s not for the better and it’s not for the worse, it’s just perfect. “I wanna f#ck on the sink, then after that give you something to drink”, fa sho! The lyrics in the song are comical but some of them are partially serious and hold some truth to them. Jerome!

Conclusion

Satchford: This album is interesting and I’m not quite sure I have totally grasped what Ye’s objective is with this project (well i thought i did until after track 4). I know its experimental but come on man. The production is minimal, not as ‘big’ as other albums. For someone who has a track record for having excellent album beats and arrangements, this one is a step down. The samples choices are good but the beats aren’t mind-blowing. The first 4 tracks are my standouts. Kanye clearly had some stuff to get off his chest but i thought there would be more. Silly me. I’m a bit conflicted at the moment – same way I’ve been for years about 808s & Heartbreaks. This album isn’t bad but it was a big let down for me. My expectations may have been too high.
Top 3 Favs: New Slaves, Black Skinhead, I Am A God

S.G.: I feel like this is the product of music without label restrictions. It’s very artistic and expressionistic. You can tell Rick Rubin played a major role in it. There was a merge of several genres and the clashes at times produced a wonder sound while at other times were simply annoying. Some of Kanye’s lyrics were a bit extreme for me but it didn’t have often. The Cudi feature was on point for me and Charlie Wilson’s voice helped to bring the right level energy to Bound 2. Some fans may dislike this album because it really doesn’t sound like the typical Kanye, which is alright. I think it truly sounds like he wasn’t handcuffed and he delivers that spice missed with a pinch of SoHo and a toss of Chicago. The visions and energy that he generated throughout the album were more of the standout points to me than the individual songs
Top 3 fav songs: Bound 2, Guilt Trip, New Slaves

via wikipedia

Sample credits
• “On Sight” contains interpolations of “He’ll Give Us What We Really Need” by Holy Name of Mary Choral Family.[34]
• “I Am a God” contains samples of “Forward Inna Dem Clothes”, written by Clifton Bailey III and H. Hart, and performed by Capleton; and samples of “Are Zindagi Hai Khel”, written by Anand Bakshi and Rahul Burman, and performed by Burman, Manna Dey, and Asha Bhosle.[35]
• “New Slaves” contains samples of “Gyöngyhajú lány”, written by Gábor Presser and Anna Adamis, and performed by Omega.[35]
• “I’m in It” contains samples of “Lately”, written by Vidal Davis, Carvin Haggins, Andre Harris, Kenny Lattimore, and Jill Scott, and performed by Lattimore.[35]
• “Blood on the Leaves” contains samples of “Strange Fruit”, written by Lewis Allan, and performed by Nina Simone; and samples of “R U Ready”, written by Ross Birchard and Lunice Pierre, and performed by TNGHT.[35][36]
• “Guilt Trip” contains interpolations of “Chief Rocka”, written by Keith Elam, Kevin Hansford, Dupre Kelly, Christopher Martin, Alterick Wardrick and Marlon Williams, and performed by Lords of the Underground; and samples of “Blocka”, written by Terrence Thornton and Tyree Pittman, and performed byPusha T featuring Travis Scott and Popcaan.[35]
• “Send It Up” contains samples of “Memories”, written by Anthony Moses Davis, Collin York and Lowell Dunbar, and performed by Beenie Man.[35]
• “Bound 2” contains samples of “Aeroplane”, written by Norman Whiteside, and performed by Wee; samples of “Bound”, written by Bobby Massey and Robert Dukes, and performed by Ponderosa Twins Plus One; and samples of “Sweet Nothin’s”, written by Ronnie Self, and performed by Brenda Lee.[37]

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