Christ has resurrected in Kanye West's heart with the release of the Grammy Award winning rapper's sixth album, Yeezus, named after his "jesus name." West's highly anticipated documented evolution arrives at a time when the future of rap is in question, as generation gaps and the heavy influence of southern rap has subsequently divided the hip-hop community.
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However, Kanye's genius as it pertains to Yeezus is not to be defined as the revitalization of hip-hop, but a much needed reminder to fans and skeptics that Kanye West is hip-hop.
Features from Frank Ocean, Daft Punk, Chief Keef, and more aside, Yeezy's use of the English language in combination with the out of this world productions from Rick Rubin, allows Ye to explore an array of rapping styles and genres of music on Yeezus. Once again Kanye's one of kind talents paved the way for him to do the unachievable. In 10 tracks Kanye West maintained a constant theme of mainstream blasphemy, praise and worship, all while infusing some of the most popular genres of music in the world.
Listen to "Black Skinhead:"
"Black Skinhead", "New Slaves, and "I Am A God," the first three singles on the 10 track album sets the theme for Yeezus, as Kanye expresses his religiosity, and opinions of his identity as a black man in America as it relates to the rest of society. On "New Slaves," Yeezy takes listeners on a lyrical historical crash course as he dissects the Black American ideology and the effects of institutionalized racism. He raps:
"You see its broke nigga racism
That's that "Don't touch anything in the store"
And there's rich nigga racism
That's that "Come here, please buy more"
What you want a Bentley, fur coat and diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things
Used to only be niggas now everybody play me
Spending everything on Alexander Wang
While socially conscious, yet arrogant, and on some occasions ignorant, Kanye remains true to his roots, with rhymes and punch lines as hard hitting as any other Kanye album. Nevertheless, Kanye paints a vivid picture of his racial and cultural sub-conscious with unlikely punch lines through out the album.
On the sexually charged "I'm In It," featuring Travis Scott Kanye raps "Black girl sipping white wine, put my fist in her like the civil rights sign." In a controversial move, Yeezy borrows a line from Martin Luther King's "Free At Last" speech when he raps "Your p*ssy so good I need to crash, your titties let them out, free at last, thank God Almight Free at last." "I'm In It," is one of the many songs, which highlights Kanye's versatility as the track features, a "bad man" reggae bridge; in addition to an auto tuned Bon Iver.
Listen to "I'm In It:"
On "Blood On Leaves," which samples Nina Simone's cover of Billie Holiday's song "Strange Fruit," we get a flashback to classic Yeezy, as he remains self aware with the reference to lynching. Yeezy "clears his mind" as he spits over the vintage "No Limit" sample cleverly mixed in with the socially conscious "Strange Fruit." Ye called out "a lazy groupie chick" who may or may not have tried to come in between Jay-Z and Beyonce's marriage. He raps:
"I don't give a damn if you used to talk to Jay-Z
He ain't with you, he with Beyoncé, you need to stop actin' lazy
She Instagram herself like hashtag BadBitchAlert
He Instagram his watch like hashtag MadRichAlert"
Listen to "Blood On Leaves" while you read:
On a collective tip, Kanye manages to master the art of intertwining unusual concepts and sounds. He borderline creates a new genre of music, birthing the the delicious offspring of reegae and rock. His arrogant, direct, and enlightening lyrics are the symbolic reminders of his "College Dropout" days as Kanye said on "New Slaves:" "It's leaders, and its followers" and he'd rather be a d*ck than a swallower.
While Yeezus was released on the same date as Roc Nation rapper J.Cole's sophomore album Born Sinner, both projects take a different stance in hip-hop history. The albums reflect two different journeys influenced by very different environments. Although Cole is rightfully in his own lane, Kanye constructs and utilizes a bridge that may or may not be crossed by J.Cole in the future.
What do you think of Yeezus?
Check the official "Yeezus" tracklist:
01. On Sight (Produced by Daft Punk) [Malik Yusef, Rhymefest]
02. Black Skinhead (Produced by Daft Punk) [CyHi The Prynce, Lupe Fiasco, Malik Yusef]
03. I Am A God (Featuring God) (Produced by Daft Punk) [Hudson Mohawke, Justin Vernon, Malik Yusef, Rhymefest]
04. New Slaves (Featuring Frank Ocean) (Malik Yusef, Rhymefest)
05. Hold My Liquor (Feat. Chief Keef & Justin Vernon) [Alejandro Ghersi, Malik Yusef, Rhymefest]
06. I'm In It (Feat. Travis Scott) [Justin Vernon, Malik Yusef]
07. Blood On The Leaves [Hudson Mohawke, Tony Williams]
08. Guilt Trip (Feat. Kid Cudi) (Produced by S1)
09. Send It Up (Feat. King L) [Alejandro Ghersi, Daft Punk, Gesaffelstein]
10. Bound 2 (Feat. Charlie Wilson) [John Legend]