Album Review - YEEZUS

by grant lam


It’s been six weeks since Yeezus dropped.  Yes, this album review is long overdue.  But we at PCKPR are trying to do something new.  Most album reviews come out the day the album drops or a few days thereafter.  How can you really critique an album after only a few listens? Yes, some critics get advanced copies and can peep the album before the release date, but for us common folks we only get to listen when the album drops. Going forward, we will be dropping our album reviews after we have thoroughly listened and digested the music.  Call it the 10-Day Album Review or Hella Late Album Review if you will.   It’s Tuesday, June 18.  I roll into my office, shut the door, fire up Spotify and start Yeezus.  First thing I notice on the track listing is that there are no featured artist, other than God.  Either Kanye has lost it or there’s a new rapper named God I’m not up on. The first few songs into it, I’m thinking what the fuck am I listening to?  Did Kanye just proclaim himself as God? Why is there so much screaming?  By the end of the album, I was thoroughly confused as to what I listened to. Gave it another listen in the afternoon and still not feeling the album.  Feeling disappointed, but also understanding listening to music on your computer at work is the worst listening environment.  It does the music no acoustic justice. I had to keep the volume minimal because hearing Kanye rap “eating Asian pussy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce” is not appropriate office music, unless you work at offices of Cash Money Records.   Over the next few weeks, I’ve gone through the album several times.  Including listening on headphones, while at the gym, on the plane, and the ultimate listening environment, slapping it in your ride.  The album has tremendously grown on me and I now appreciate what Kanye has done.  This album is unlike anything you or I have ever listened to and with each listen I uncover more and more.  Songs like "New Slaves", "Hold My Liquor" and "Blood on the Leaves" are special and there’s so much going on musically and lyrically.  On “New Slaves”, Kanye aggressively and angrily raps over a simple synth beat, and then boom out of nowhere, the song breaks into a beautiful, melodic not-even –sure what to call it segment.  “Hold My Liquor” exposes a darker, more complex version of Kanye where in one verse its proclaimed, “I can hold my liquor” and in another it’s stated “I can’t handle no liquor,” alluding to his struggle of figuring himself out and understanding his place. The song also features Chief Keef and to hear him sing the hook the way he does is incredible.  Then there’s “Blood on the Leaves,” with Kanye’s autotuned voice going back and forth with Nina Simone singing “Strange Fruit.” At times Kanye and Simone clash, while at times they are synchronized but at all times it works.   It’s clear that Kanye doesn’t give a fuck about what you or anyone thinks about his music.  He’s going to make music that he considers beautiful and that’s it.  As he proclaims on “New Slaves,” “You see there’s leaders and there’s followers / But I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.” He is not in the game to make music that follows the radio friendly formula of verses with catchy hooks.  He wants to be a leader and pioneer and advance music.   Overall, this album is some bizarre and brilliant shit. Good job Kanye, but can you please bring back College Dropout or Late Registration Kanye for your next one?

It’s been six weeks since Yeezus dropped.  Yes, this album review is long overdue.  But we at PCKPR are trying to do something new.  Most album reviews come out the day the album drops or a few days thereafter.  How can you really critique an album after only a few listens? Yes, some critics get advanced copies and can peep the album before the release date, but for us common folks we only get to listen when the album drops. Going forward, we will be dropping our album reviews after we have thoroughly listened and digested the music.  Call it the 10-Day Album Review or Hella Late Album Review if you will.

 

It’s Tuesday, June 18.  I roll into my office, shut the door, fire up Spotify and start Yeezus.  First thing I notice on the track listing is that there are no featured artist, other than God.  Either Kanye has lost it or there’s a new rapper named God I’m not up on. The first few songs into it, I’m thinking what the fuck am I listening to?  Did Kanye just proclaim himself as God? Why is there so much screaming?  By the end of the album, I was thoroughly confused as to what I listened to. Gave it another listen in the afternoon and still not feeling the album.  Feeling disappointed, but also understanding listening to music on your computer at work is the worst listening environment.  It does the music no acoustic justice. I had to keep the volume minimal because hearing Kanye rap “eating Asian pussy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce” is not appropriate office music, unless you work at offices of Cash Money Records.

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ve gone through the album several times.  Including listening on headphones, while at the gym, on the plane, and the ultimate listening environment, slapping it in your ride.  The album has tremendously grown on me and I now appreciate what Kanye has done.  This album is unlike anything you or I have ever listened to and with each listen I uncover more and more.  Songs like "New Slaves", "Hold My Liquor" and "Blood on the Leaves" are special and there’s so much going on musically and lyrically.  On “New Slaves”, Kanye aggressively and angrily raps over a simple synth beat, and then boom out of nowhere, the song breaks into a beautiful, melodic not-even –sure what to call it segment.  “Hold My Liquor” exposes a darker, more complex version of Kanye where in one verse its proclaimed, “I can hold my liquor” and in another it’s stated “I can’t handle no liquor,” alluding to his struggle of figuring himself out and understanding his place. The song also features Chief Keef and to hear him sing the hook the way he does is incredible.  Then there’s “Blood on the Leaves,” with Kanye’s autotuned voice going back and forth with Nina Simone singing “Strange Fruit.” At times Kanye and Simone clash, while at times they are synchronized but at all times it works.

 

It’s clear that Kanye doesn’t give a fuck about what you or anyone thinks about his music.  He’s going to make music that he considers beautiful and that’s it.  As he proclaims on “New Slaves,” “You see there’s leaders and there’s followers / But I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.” He is not in the game to make music that follows the radio friendly formula of verses with catchy hooks.  He wants to be a leader and pioneer and advance music.   Overall, this album is some bizarre and brilliant shit. Good job Kanye, but can you please bring back College Dropout or Late Registration Kanye for your next one?