June 20, 2013

My Gut Reaction: Kanye West - Yeezus (June 18, 2013)

One think I really miss about Kanye West is his sense of humor.  I've followed his career from The College Dropout onward (and have written extensively about the guy), and have even taken in some of his earlier production work pre-fame, and what strikes me the most about the progression of West is how he gradually stopped smiling.



Unlike a lot of readers of the blog, I actually like Kanye West, asshole persona and all, and I probably cut him a bit more slack than the average bear, mainly because the dude makes fucking entertaining music. Ultimately, that's all that really matters to me, and West is extraordinarily good at doing it.  I've enjoyed every solo album he's released (even 808s and Heartbreak, a project I was an early champion of, no bullshit), and I've even come around a little bit on his Jay-Z collaboration Watch The Throne, thanks to repeated exposure to the many singles it spawned.  (Still can't listen to fucking "Lift Off", though: I honestly and literally have not heard a single iota of that bullshit song since I wrote about it.)

Still, it's altogether fascinating and worrisome to follow the man's career path.  The College Dropout was punctuated with goofy, some would say unnecessary skits that helped slice any tension presented in half, and the younger, carefree Kanye West presented on that debut didn't shy away from sarcasm (see: "Spaceship") and legitimate attempts at trying to be funny ("The New Workout Plan", while not that great, wasn't meant to be taken seriously).  Late Registration, the follow-up, found West in a perilous position, wielding his newly-acquired power (dude got fucking Nas to appear on an album released by Roc-A-Fella Records before he and Jay patched things up, remember) while listening to his inner artist (hiring Jon Brion to co-produce the entire affair), and the result was pretty goddamn great, "Heard 'Em Say" notwithstanding.  But even Late Registration included some skits built around the whole "Kanye goes to college" theme to keep things light enough (guest star Cam'Ron would provide the rest of the laughs on "Gone").

Graduation abandoned the skits and the majority of the overall theme: the album title is really the only remnant of Kanye's past, while the rest of the project looked to the future, with the Daft Punk-sampling "Stronger"and the darker-toned "Can't Tell Me Nothing" setting the stage for 'Ye's current output.  Graduation can't really be considered all that funny, though, since the Kanye West who recorded it switched out sarcastic insults for humor.  Unless we're talking about "Drunk and Hot Girls", though, which is hilarious.  But the laughter stopped dead with 808s & Heartbreak, 'Ye's Auto-Tuned therapy session masked as a collection of songs: the robotic out-of-tune voice cracking throughout left no room for error, let alone levity.  And My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, his finest hour as far as I'm concerned (although I'm still partial to Late Registration as well), finds him leaving the gags to his many guests.

When Kanye announced Yeezus about a month ago, that title proved to me that he was taking himself far too seriously as an artist (as did the lack of an album cover, which made me roll my eyes).  Musicians have compared themselves to religious figures before: hell, The Beatles were once bigger than Jesus.  But Yeezus worries me, because it appears to combine Kanye's narcissism with his need to sound different than every other rapper on the planet, which is usually an admirable trait but, as proven by his performance on Saturday Night Live, seems to include elements of EDM, reggae, and a whole lot of goddamn shouting. 

Which is weird, considering that the guy just became a father and all.

1.  ON SIGHT
Yeezus kicks off like a regularly scheduled program already in progress, a huge middle finger to anybody who thought that there would be time provided to acclimate oneself to 'Ye's current mindstate.  The instrumental is a much darker version of what producers Daft Punk might have come up with for themselves, but our host's two verses are fairly middle-of-the-road, filled with sarcasm, unfunny punchlines, and references to sexual acts that turn you off to the act of fornication entirely.  However, this isn't bad: it just isn't what anybody expected to hear from Kanye West, especially given his past output and the general direction Cruel Summer was leaning toward.  'Ye is probably the only rapper alive with the balls to rhyme over something like this, and let's be honest, he isn't even that great of a rapper, so that's saying something.  (To be fair, the writing credits appear to include contributions from 'Ye's old friend Rhymefest (the fuck has he been?) and his G.O.O.D. Music lackey Cyhi The Prince, so they might be the only other two rappers out who at least tried to work with it.)  I did kind of like how 'Ye interrupted the song halfway through just to show how many fucks he gives, though.

2.  BLACK SKINHEAD
One of the two songs 'Ye performed on Saturday Night Live before anyone knew what any of the songs on Yeezus would be called.  "Black Skinhead" feels as though it was written and recorded by an artist interested in leading a movement, but lacking the charisma and general motivation that would result in anyone wanting to actually follow said movement.  Which makes sense when you notice that the writing credits include an assist from fellow Chicago native Lupe Fiasco, a guy whose career is pretty much defined by that previous sentence.  Producers Daft Punk (among others) try to subliminally stack the odds in their favor by laying down the drums from Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People", although they sound just like Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2", which has been a sports stadium standard for as long as I can remember.  The music itself sounded okay, but the lyrics are anything but deep, saying next to nothing.  Lyrics don't always have to say something, of course (remember, I listen to tons of New Wave, a genre Kanye identifies with at the moment, and those songs aren't known for their depth), but if you call your song "Black SKinhgead", then I'm expecting something...I don't know, more?

3.  I AM A GOD (FEAT. GOD)
'Ye's constant shouting of "God!" at the end of the previous song sets up this already infamous track, known as such merely because everyone seemed to be surprised that our host had the audacity to call a song "I Am A God".  Have these people ever listened to Kanye West before?  The actual musical part of this is decent: the quintet of 'Ye, Mike Dean, Daft Punk, and Hudson Mohawke, with an assist from legendary producer Rick Rubin, break through boundaries as though they never existed in the first place, and for his part, Kanye sounds like one of the only guys out who would ever feel comfortable over this in the first place.  (Maybe Pusha T could work with it, too?)  Kanye's endless reservoir of boasts loses nary a drop, even as he compares himself to Jesus Christ, imagining a goofy conversation with him about his wealth, and as he loudly demands that the wait staff at a "French-ass restaurant" (furthering his current Paris fetish) hurry up with his damn croissants (easily my favorite line, because you can use it at home).  The shouting at the end, though, completely lost me.  This was difficult to sit through, which I fear will be an issue with most of Yeezus.

4.  NEW SLAVES (FEAT. FRANK OCEAN)
The best-known song from Yeezus prior to release, thanks to our host's visceral SNL performance (complete with multiple n-words, which NBC, thankfully, didn't contest, given the song title) and his audacious debut of its "video" on the side of multiple buildings in major cities around the world.  "New Slaves" is the first song on Yeezus where 'Ye sounds like his old self, which is not a comparison I made when I first heard it, but one that jumped to mind after sitting through the first three tracks on here.  Kanye rhymes his ass off: interestingly, it's the first song on Yeezus that lasts for longer than four minutes.  The beat is minimal and stark, and the lyrics are angry and bitter (with a lot of references to "blood on the leaves", an idea 'Ye liked so much that you'll see more of it later in the review), but worth listening to anyway.  Everything switches up close to the end, as the music gives way to something else entirely, as guest crooner Frank Ocean holds court (barely, as he hardly registers: the fuck kind of cameo is this?).  Not bad, but polarizing to a fault.

5.  CAN'T HOLD MY LIQUOR (FEAT. CHIEF KEEF & JUSTIN VERNON OF BON IVER)
Wait, Justin Vernon (who has writing credits elsewhere on Yeezus as well) and fucking Chief Keef appear on the same song?  I'd be shocked, had Kanye not played this same gag on listeners on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy's "Monster", stacking Vernon alongside the likes of Jay-Z, Charlie Wilson, Rick Ross, and Nicki Minaj.  Aside from the obviously modern instrumental (credited to our host and Mike Dean, among others), "Hold My Liquor" sounds like an outtake from the Late Registration recording sessions: 'Ye's (actual rapped) lyrics have a different feel than, say, "New Slaves" holds.  Although I don't agree with the continued employment of Chief Keef, he only handles hook duties on here, and he doesn't stick around long enough to completely frustrate me.  I also liked how the beat completely switched (is this yet another running theme?) toward the end, with a sweeping electronic wave that makes 'Ye's (admittedly interesting) words sound like cogs in the machine. 

6.  I'M IN IT
A motherfucking mess of a song.  "I'm In It" is yet another track where Kanye overdoses on graphic sexuality to such a degree that you'll want to shut off the porn you inevitably have running on another browser tab (unless you're reading this at work) and take a shower even though you'll never feel clean.  The actual music goes out of its way to alienate the audience, as well, leaving you with a pounding headache and no cool stories to go with it, bro.  Ugh.

7.  BLOOD ON THE LEAVES
Kanye breaks out the Auto-Tune again, crooning on "Blood On The Leaves", a production credited to multiple parties (including 88 Keys and, of all people, Carlos "Six July" Brody (the fuck has he been?)) that mashes together Nina Simone's cover of the Billie Holiday standard "Strange Fruit" with TNGHT's "R U Ready" (a pretty great song, seriously) and brings back memories of fucking C-Murder's "Down 4 My N----z", and yet still doesn't suck.  (I hope he got a good deal on the TNGHT song, since G.O.O.D. Music flunkie Hudson Mohawke is one-half of that particular duo.)  'Ye's rhymes come across as a darkest timeline take on "Gold Digger" and is actually pretty good, at least before you realize that you can interpret the lyrics as Kanye West talking about his own relationship with baby mama Kim Kardashian, which then makes it difficult to separate the art from the artist.  This probably wasn't intentional, of course.  But by opening up just a little bit, "Blood On The Leaves" becomes the first truly interesting song on Yeezus, as it finds our host in a vulnerable state, something he isn't afraid of showing off but seems to be hiding from the public on this particular project.

8.  GUILT TRIP (FEAT. KID CUDI)
Scott Mescudi may no longer be a part of G.O.O.D. Music, but Kanye still likes him enough to include his singing on Yeezus, making this the third Yeezy solo effort in a row to do so (after 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and you could also count Cruel Summer too, if you're masochistic and hate yourself).  The guest only sings a bit toward the middle, leaving the task of setting the mood to 'Ye and producer S1 (who helped craft "Power" and the "Excellence" half of Watch The Throne's "Murder To Excellence"), neither of whom bothering with crafting a song that people would want to hear more than the once.  Mescudi's vocals approach a sense of regret that Kanye isn't able to emote, try as he might, rendering this whole exercise kind of pointless, if you ask me, which you clearly did, because you wouldn't be reading these words otherwise.

9.  SEND IT UP (FEAT. KING L)
I have a long history of liking songs that everyone else fucking hates, such as Graduation's "Drunk and Hot Girls" (which I still enjoy today).  Add "Send It Up" to the list.  I don't know why I dug it, but I did: producers Daft Punk find an odd beauty in air-raid sirens modified for the dance floor, knocking it out of the park, as did 'Ye's lyrical bullshit, which finds him, well, shit-talking at the club in an engrossing manner.  The biggest surprise for me, aside from the extended vocal sample from Beenie Man's "Memories" that closes out the track, was guest star King Louie's opening verse, which did not sound like something from a guy who's a part of the same scene as Chief Keef.  Not that I want to run out and buy a King Louie album or anything, but he wasn't bad.  And yes, I fully expect to see some hate for liking this song in the comment section.

10.  BOUND 2 (FEAT. CHARLIE WILSON)
If Yeezus was set to be Kanye West's final album, then it would make sense that this song, co-produced by No I.D., mirrors the soulful feel of The College Dropout era.  However, it is not, so the sampled loop hits the listener like a punch in the face after nine tracks full of our host's attempt at industrial dancehall acid house drill "rap" organized noise.  The beat is annoying as fuck, although I may feel this way because the rug was just pulled from under me: the only time I gave a remote shit about "Bound 2" is when the music shifted to electronic groans and squeals during Charlie Wilson's contributions.  And then the fucking song just ends, and after ten tracks, I'm stuck wondering just what the hell I just committed forty of my life's minutes to.

THE LAST WORD:  While writing this final paragraph, I found a bunch of online critics falling all over themselves to praise Yeezus, convinced that if they didn't absolutely love it, then people would think less of them or something.  That has to be the motivation of some of these motherfuckers, anyway (*cough* Pitchfork *cough*).  Not to sound all righteous and shit, but when I listen to an album, forward-thinking is a nice enough trait, but regardless of whether it sounds like the future or the past, I believe it has to be entertaining, and Yeezus is interesting, but not interesting enough to listen to most of it a second time.  Kanye West may have crawled so far up his own asshole that he can't tell the forest for the trees, and other mixed metaphors that signify that most of this album seemed like an audio ink blot test.  Some believe it to be brilliant and ahead of its time: I feel that only two songs on here sound like shit I'd willingly listen to again, and even then I wouldn't want them on my Kanye West playlist.  This was exhausting, and you're left with no new insight as to who Kanye West is, aside from the fact that he likes a lot of different types of music and obviously can't stand hip hop in its current form.  I vouched for 808s & Heartbreak, and I feel vindicated not only by how well that project holds up but also how it influenced hip hop to this very day.  I just can't see Yeezus influencing anyone to do anything except retreat in the opposite direction. Worth hearing once, but I can't condone repeated listenings of this: I just flat-out did not enjoy any of this exercise.  Maybe "Blood On The Leaves", but that's stretching it.  And to those of you who believe that I'm too set in my ways to fully appreciate Yeezus: you've got to be fucking kidding me.

-Max

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54 comments:

  1. AnonymousJune 20, 2013

    Haha I thought you'd like more tracks, but at least you and I shared enjoyment on Send It Up. That beat goes hard and King Louie and Kanye own it.

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    1. I'm curious: what songs did you predict I would like on here?

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    2. AnonymousJune 20, 2013

      I was thinking you'd like tracks 1-4, Send it Up, and ESPECIALLY Bound 2. Did you listen to this album with some good bass? And I know everyone is already saying this, but I liked it the first time, really liked it the 2nd time, and now I love it. So the gut reaction might not always be right, but I definitely respect it as a form of reviewing. I'm most surprised that you found Bound 2 to be annoying. I found the sample to be beyond pure, almost heavenly, and a very pleasant finish to what is quite a wild album. Usually our tastes align pretty well, but regardless I appreciate your objectivity.

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  2. Derek ClaptonJune 20, 2013

    From a production standpoint alone I fucking loved this shit.

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    1. But what about the rest of it?

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    2. Derek ClaptonJune 21, 2013

      Some of the lyrics were definitely groaners. Mostly on I'm In It. But on the whole I think it works. It's a really good pissed off album. Also, I appreciate the brevity.

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  3. AnonymousJune 20, 2013

    I listened to 3 songs before turning this off. It's awful. I'm all for being different but this is different for different's sake. It sounds like Kanye rapping over NIN songs. Since Kanye hasn't been an interesting rapper in 10 years, that's not a very exciting comparison.

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    1. I read a review over at The A.V. Club where they compared the sound of Yeezus to Kanye West discovering Pretty Hate Machine, which I thought was pretty funny, if not entirely accurate. Although it certainly would play into Yeezy's insistence that he's a New Wave artist.

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  4. This post clearly shows the limitations of your 'gut reaction'-format. Yeezus surely needs multiple listens before one can settle on just trying to grasp what the record exposes Kanye's fanbase to. I have listened to it a couple of handfuls of times now and I have gone from slight bewilderment to being convinced that it his greatest album yet. But of course you are going to have a hard time if the release strategy, lack of album art, title etc. does not appeal to you (and I perfectly understand why it wouldn't appeal to many people). This will be the album that finally seperates Kanye's fan base. It will be somewhat of an avantgarde favourite, but commercially it's going to tank. For better and for worse.

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    1. Avant-garde favorite or not, I simply did not enjoy actually listening to ANY of this. I don't listen to music (or read books, watch films, etc.) just to say that listened to something: I try to derive enjoyment out of the experience, and Kanye West seems to have forgotten how to make his "different" ideas sound entertaining enough to warrant more than just a cursory glance. It is what it is. It's definitely going to be polarizing. Does this mean I've written him off entirely, though? Of course not.

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    2. I have to say that this is less about Kanye West and this particular record of his than it is about how we listen to and engage with music.

      I have sometimes wondered what you exactly mean by your go-to word enjoy(ment). What does it exactly entail? And does it rule out the possibility of an album sounding inapproachable and 'difficult' several times before it begins to sound more listenable and before one might end up settling completely into its sonic universe and, perhaps, experience some form of enjoyment. If that really is the be-all-end-all of the experience of music.

      There are several genres, artists and albums that I do not necessarily 'enjoy' listening to in the sense that nod my head and give completely in to the beat (or the lyrics for that matter) like I do with a lot of hiphop, but which I hold in just as high esteem (and often higher) than the more immediately approachable ones. I don't necessarily listen to Albert Ayler, genius period-Coltrane, harsh noise records or Yeezus to be pleased, but to be challenged and find beauty and musical expression in unexpected places and in shapes and forms that I've never heard before. And to hear someone master a sonic universe and follow a vision.

      I mean, would your gut reaction to for instance The Cold Vein in any way reflect your current opinion of that record? So much good and challenging music takes a lot of time to settle into (even though most good hiphop records are pretty immediately approachable, but that's a different matter).
      I sometimes think the gut reaction format comes to reflect the impatient and superficial way so many people listen to music in the Internet Age. Something your site and your review formats otherwise seem to go against.

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    3. The Gut Reaction format allows me to write about projects that are brand new to me (the majority of the Gut Reactions are for brand new projects) while setting up different expectations for the reader By its very nature, it is intended to be based on only one or two listens, just as most album reviews are written for other sites and publications. While I concede that there are some projects that appear impenetrable at first and can only benefit from repeated listening, the overall point of a Gut Reaction piece is whether or not those repeated listenings are even warranted. To me, if nothing jumps out and grabs me the first or second time around, why should I then waste my time continuing to give a project a chance? There are far too many albums in the world for me to choose from. And you're right, most good hip hop records are immediately approachable, which is why this format works well for the genre I tend to write the most about.

      I also believe my use of the words "enjoy" or "enjoyment" are self-explanatory, but I'll extrapolate anyway. It's quite simple: listening to Yeezus felt like a chore. While some of you may believe that I treated it as such because I was writing about it at the time, that's not necessarily true: if something is truly entertaining and not faux-challenging for faux-challenging's sake, then, to me, anyway, the words flow rather easily. Yeezus is all about the here and now, with Kanye West shouting "Look at me! I'm an artist!" instead of allowing his work to speak for itself, and while that has usually worked (as I noted in my opening paragraphs), this time around it just did not click with me.

      Gut Reactions can shift with time: I even admitted that Watch The Throne has grown on me. But I don't foresee Yeezus having the same impact on me, as I have found zero reason to put any of these songs on repeat. (Even "Blood On The Leaves" and "Send It Up" aren't really representative of his best work: I found those to be the best songs on here, but they're rather low on the Kanye West totem pole for me.)

      And finally, if you choose to listen to certain artists "to be challenged and find beauty and musical expression in unexpected places", that means you derive enjoyment from being challenged in that fashion. Call it what it is. Nobody does that shit because they hate it: you do it because you like doing it. You choose to do it. Hey, I choose to do it often, too. But Yeezus does not elicit that type of reaction for me. Yeezus may be considered challenging to most, but it doesn't affect me because I didn't see much of a reason to revisit it.

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    4. 1/2:
      Thank you for an elaborate answer. Everything you say makes sense, but I think we listen to music for different reasons (like many people do). I do not necessarily dislike things that feel like a chore. Sometimes they feel like a chore because they're genuinely shit, but in other instances, something can feel like a chore in a prospective way that can reveal something interesting, unique or beautiful, either in the 'chore-ness' itself or on repeat listens (if it's a piece of music we're talking about).
      I find 'enjoy(ment)' a peculiar choice of positive denotation because I myself almost always use it to deem something superficial, merely good or satisfactory in certain more or less compromised situations (I might 'enjoy' listening to "Whistle" by Flo Rida if I'm shitfaced in a club, but it's still a terrible piece of music). Maybe it also slightly comes down to the fact that I am not a native speaker of (American) English because I have often experienced people saying that they 'enjoy' something and by that meaning it super genuinely and using it as the most positive word they can think of to describe someting (now that I think about it, maybe it is a bit like the phrase 'good for you', which in English is very genuine and well-meaning, whereas in other (European) languages it is super condescending and ironic. But I severly digress). To me, though, 'enjoy' almost always has an unuttered 'but, it's not great or anything' attached to it. That was why I asked you about the word and why it is not self-explanatory to me (but maybe it is to Americans).

      However. I find it very weird that you feel that Yeezus - even if it doesn't reach out and grab something at first listen - does not call for more than one or two spins. Especially for someone such as yourself who enjoyed much of Kanye's previous work and who is positive about the man and his art as such.

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    5. 2/2:
      Ultimately, I want to make a distinction between being immediately compelled by something approachable and being intrigued by something inapproachable. You seem to be either immediately compelled or not at all by most of the music you listen to. I am also very often immediately compelled by music because most popular music sounds in ways that are either appealing in their attempt at appealing or don't appeal to the listener and thus fail in their attempt. All depending on who's listening. Say, the new Daft Punk album. I find it very immediately appealing in its approachable-ness (sorry for making up these clunky substantives).
      But, then other forms of music are not designed to be immediately appealing, but to be intriguing. Maybe that music is a chore to listen to, but it's an interesting chore. Thus, it appeals to other faculties of perception than the immediately appealing music. Let's take a song like Oneida's "Sheets of Easter" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT26L1vtgkE ). It is very clear from the first listen that this song is not made to appeal in the general sense of that word. It is instead meant to exhaust, to bore, to be a chore and to sound uncomfortable. Then, the question for the listener is: Do you find any kind of beauty, meditative qualities, new ways of expression and fascination in this discomfort? I certainly do. You might also accept the premise of the music and still not find it giving you anything. But if you approach it on terms of accessability, clear communication, pleasure and - enjoyment - then you're bound to not like it. I feel it's a bit the same with Yeezus (even it that is a much less extreme case than for instance Oneida).

      Let me finish with one last thing. I really, thoroughly appreciate your blog and your idiosyncrasies and your writing style and your revisionist approach are unique features among blogs. It is blogs like yours that sometimes make a good case for the existence of the internet. And one thing I find peculiar is: It is very easy to sense your genuine love of hiphop and it is clear how much you love the stuff you love. But I am almost unable to find an album that you are 100% approving of. Maybe it can be boiled down to Illmatic, a couple of ATCQ's a couple of Jay-Z's, a couple of Wu's, a couple of Mobb Deep's and a couple of OutKast's. That is a very low number of albums considering the amount of stuff you have reviewed through the years. Even if you consider how rare a perfect album is in this genre.

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  5. AnonymousJune 20, 2013

    I heard the whole thing once plus some more repeated listening via previews on ITunes, and Blood on the Leaves and New Slaves are the only two songs I even somewhat liked.

    The music is annoying/boring, and Kanye is so self-absorbed I just cant listen to him. J.Cole's release was a disappointment, but it is miles ahead of this rubbish

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  6. nice review! i remember people arguing for mbdtf as ye's 'id' but holy shit the humility and humanity of that record compared to this one...

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    1. Yes. I'd argue that it's more humility (see: "Runaway") than humanity, though.

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  7. Not really a fan of this album. I wanted it to grow on me like 808s did, but I'm afraid the opposite is happening. I bought this and Born Sinner on Tuesday and dig Born Sinner way more than this.

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    1. I'm glad that people are turning around on 808s & Heartbreak. I don't know if this will ever grow on me, though: I read a review that compared this to a darker version of 808s and I sincerely beg to differ.

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  8. Songs I liked on this album: Black Skinhead (gets the blood pumping), New Slaves (which did NOT need the Frank Ocean bit at the end), Send it Up (dumb fun), and Bound 2 (the vocal sample is--to put it plainly--really fucking cute). I just wish the track didn't have a pointless Charlie Wilson appearance.

    While I did like Black Skinhead and New Slaves, I wholeheartedly concur that Kanye is not trying hard enough to be thought-provoking. I appreciated his small attack on the prison-industrial complex, but was it really enough? I feel as if he brings up the issue then moves on to pointless shit about fucking Hampton spouses. Kanye has ushered in a new definition of "rebellious" and "anti-establishment" music which, in reality, is only intellectual at very base levels. What does this say about American culture as a whole?

    All this album made me want to do is listen to Death Grips.


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    1. Death Grips? Not the most seamless transition, but okay...

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    2. The industrial sound Kanye was aiming for seemed like a poor attempt at emulating Death Grips' unique style. Seemed that way to me, anyway.

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    3. I agree with Michael, yeezus sounds like piss-poor attempt to capture Death Grips' sound. Even though I don't personally like Death Grips they can do this type of industrial rap far more better than Kanye.

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  9. AnonymousJune 20, 2013

    I've read many reviews that reference NIN. I just have a question == has anyone actually heard a NIN album? If so, you would know this album sounds nothing like a NIN Album.

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    1. Yes, and I agree; it's quite a reach. I still think of it as a funny comparison point, though.

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  10. Spot on review, except I enjoyed Bound 2 quite a bit.

    Also, I was wondering about your thoughts on the Death Grips comparisons

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    1. AnonymousJune 21, 2013

      I hope so, but I somehow dont think Max will like that one too much either.

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    2. i didnt like it either if it makes ya feel better

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    3. Born Sinner has moments, but it's just ridiculously long with a bunch of questionable choices on it, especially since J. Cole decided on putting out much better work on his "Truly Yours" EPs... part of it is J. Cole overproducing himself, and part of it is just hype. He pretty much just spent the last ten months promoting that one album, and put out more material (and work) doing so than in making his actual album.

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  12. AnonymousJune 20, 2013

    Where was Frank Ocean on New Slaves anyway? At the end of the song, there were two voices, one auto-tuned and one not. Was he both, or just one of them?

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  13. Why you do this Kanye? Kanye is just too gone for me at this point. I thought MBDTF was about the farthest Kanye could go on the "full of myself" scale before the music would start to suffer, and i was unfortunately right. Sad thing is, where the hell does he go from here?

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  14. I thought this album was good. The first half sounds like a spin off from the song 'stronger' and 'blood on the leaves' is like the best song in 2013 thus far! You should probably let this shit grow on you like athlete's foot, Max

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    1. Yeezus Christ! I have since changed my mind about this album. This album is TERRIBLE. And Max you are right, comparing the best songs on here to his previous work, Yeezus doesn't even come close. I appreciate kanye for pushing the envelope, much so that the letterbox will vomit all the letters out at once, but this was a flop. And rick rubin had his hands all over this album aswell?
      Fuck this shit.

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    2. Yeah Fuck Rick Rubin, he is ruining everything recently. (somebody needs to get the blame!)

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  15. AnonymousJune 22, 2013

    im just glad you mentioned Drunk N Hot Girls, cause that is my favorite Kanye song of all-time. And his truest song haha. And Yeezus definitely has Kanye's typical sense of humor.. if you missed that aspect then you do need to give it another listen

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  16. AnonymousJune 22, 2013

    Ever since his mom died he's acted a bit strange. His music/humor/personality all changed after that. He also used to be outspoken but nowadays has someone talk for him. I liked him all the way up til 808s. Mainly because he got all sappy and too emotional. And his personality is outta control. He's too cocky, too arrogant, i simply can't stand the kanye from 2008-on.

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    1. Agreed. When listening to his album last time, I thought exactly the same to myself!

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  17. This album was alright..meh as Max would say. I miss the soul influenced music of College Dropout.

    P.S. I know your not a big gangsta rap fan Max but you must give Freddie Gibbs'- ESGN a listen or 50. ALBUM OF THE YEAR.

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    1. pretty sure Max is a gangsta rap fan...NWA, Above The Law...hell he liked Gibbs' Str8 Killa EP as well...and now comes the awkward moment when i say im a Freddie Gibbs stan and i thought ESGN was trash

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    2. AnonymousJune 23, 2013

      I thought ESGN was pretty good. I liked it more than some of the albums/mixtapes he released with CTE.

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    3. im on the other side of the fence. I felt ESGN had way too much trap influence to where it made Gibbs tone down on his rapping. Not to mention the beats overshadow his voice and every song is about the same damn thing.

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    4. (Not the same Anon) I agree with funky diabetic, esgn was too trappy for me. The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs is my favorite Gangsta Gibbs project.

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  18. U have once again nailed it on the head. Totally agree that Pitchfork and others have overrated this Bad Boy. I'm with you on every other album Kanye has done, but here he seems to implode and has become quite capricious which is strange for a rapper/producer who very rarely makes a mistake.

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  19. homosensationalJune 26, 2013

    shitty album kanye trying to copy death grips with the sound




    kim's a hoe

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  20. Kim KardashianJune 27, 2013

    That last comment was like so rude! Yo momma the hoe, a broke hoe, I'm rich, bitch!!!

    As for this review, ummmm, NO!!! Kanye has created the greatest album of all time... OF ALL TIME!!!!! You bitches better recognize.

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  21. AnonymousJune 28, 2013

    Fuck this Techno-Dance Dickhead Skirtman praising on the site about Hip-Hop. Nuffsaid

    andrewfrumrusha

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  22. i really love the album now after listening to it twice while on a long drive. i like how it's confusing as hell and his mindstate seems to be in the complete opposite direction as one would expect (in a really ridiculous way).

    anyone else thinking, yeezus would be a more fitting name for his last album (with all these gothic like choirs and stuff) and my beautiful dark twisted fantasy would be the perfect title for this release?

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  23. Do you not relate to the emotional lyrics of Hold My Liquor and Guilt Trip, the ego of On Sight and I Am A God, or the anger of New Slaves, Back Skinhead, and Blood On the Leaves?

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    1. Dude, obviously not. I wrote this over a year ago and I've never had the inclination, nor the desire to ever revisit this album. And your "ego" classification can be attributed to the entire album, not just two tracks.

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  24. This album made me chop my hair off... its punk, they shouldve released it on vinyl, indie kids would dig it the most

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  25. this album sucks lol and isn't avant-garde or artistic it's bad pop music. miss old kanye

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