An examination of Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’
Where shall yee begin?
It’s a challenge to review an album for an essential dance music platform that the world in fact labels as “hip-hop” by an artist they call a “rapper.” So let me begin by stating that elektro is reviewing this album not on a track by track basis, nor a ten point scale, we encourage you to listen to the album and form your own opinion- we are simply reviewing the overall sound this album projects and our personal experience listening to it. From start to finish. Over and over again.
However, upon contemplating the fact that Daft Punk even co-produced quite a few tracks, it could be argued that ‘Yeezus’ is more of an electronic album than ‘Random Access Memories’ is. The beautiful part of this album is that it isn’t hip hop. It isn’t rap. It isn’t EDM, industrial, or new age, nor would I even call it experimental. This is Kanye; an artist who has consistently switched “his sound” with left field collaborations, who recently “ranted” at NYC’s Governor’s Ball that he “isn’t making sh*t for the radio… and won’t be confined to putting his music in a box.” That being said. I dare you to label this a specific genre.
Typical song structure – out the window. It’s hard to figure out where songs begin and end. What’s a chorus, verse, bridge, or instrumental ride out? Viewing Kanye’s voice as another instrumental layer on the track (where daft punk influence can be explicitly felt) there are many areas of this album you can label as instrumentals – or dare I say a form of electronic. Take a moment to listen to the track “Send It Up,” this one alone exhibits an array of creative minds whose fame came from being different (Daft Punk, Gesaffelstein, Brodinski, and Hudson Mohawke).
If you’re a fan/producer of the recently surging trap music that has crept into relevancy as of late, this album will have you salivating. If a hip hop producer turns to old soul samples to make their next beat, a modern day “trap” producer could look to this album for their next remix so expect to hear several clips of “Yeezus” interlaced in your favorite DJ’s set because simply put – this album bumps. Elements from Hudson Mohawke (1/2 of TNGHT) can clearly be heard with respect to the driving horns on “Blood on the Leaves.” From the glitchy tripped out chorus on “Guilt Trip” to the Jamaican Dance hall influences on “Im In It” to a rapper with some of the most buzz (Chief Keef) singing on an otherwise borderline electronic/rock anthem. This album is not only demanding your attention, but also attempting to break your neck and provoke a thought- all at the same time.
This album is definitively not classified as electronic. Nor is it rap. What it is quite simply is interesting. Taking influences from every aspect of this cluster-fuck life we find ourselves facing half way through 2013 there are just no labels and im certain kanye would want it that way. We encourage our fellow elektrolytes to listen to “Yeezus” – available legally on iTunes and illegally everywhere else. If you can’t stand the guy’s ego, skip the track titled “I Am God,” and try your best to enjoy a refreshing take on music in world ruled by marketing budgets, contract commitments and label agendas.
Written by: Jordan Kleiman