Yeezus Remains True to Kanye West's Most Important Trait: His Ego
Even from the first sound of the album, it is clear that Yeezus is a very different album from any of Kanye West's other works. There is no introduction; the album begins with "On Sight" which features heavy, wonky synthesizers and a pounding Chicago house beat provided by Daft Punk. The synths are very raw and unpolished, and Kanye is as brash as ever with lyrics like "Yeezy Season, fuck what y'all been hearing" and "Black dick all in your spouse again," or perhaps the most interesting line, "She get more niggas off than Cochrane."
Yezmin Villarreal Yeezus in Phoenix.
It's clear that Yeezus still does not give a fuck, even with his first child on the way. On "Black Skinhead," West rides over a rock-tinged headbanger that's reminiscent of Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People" or something out of the White Stripes catalog, declaring that he's about to get his "By any means on." He also makes social observations on racism, politics, and religion. Besides his ignoring the fact that the soldiers from 300 were from Greece not Rome, West delivers some of the most focused bars of his career.
It seems, here and elsewhere, that West wants to excel to a level that is more than just "Hip Hop Great"; this song is just plain different from any release from a mainstream hip-hop artist, ever.
Songs like this prove that Kanye is really capable of anything musically, if he wants to be. The soundscape on the controversial "I Am a God" sounds like it could be the backing track for an orgy scene in Caligula. Demanding massages, ménages, croissants, and that someone get his Porsche out his garage (because, you know, these are all things that a god needs), he also declares that he is the only artist compared to Michael Jackson.
Essentially, it's everything you'd expect Kanye to say on a track called "I Am a God."
The most interesting thing about the song is that it apparently features "God" himself. It is not quite clear where God drops his hot 16, but I assume it would be during the spooky yelling and distressed breathing Kanye provides over creepy ethereal chords near the end of the song. On "New Slaves," Kanye describes the plight of new slavery: Black people are slaves to consumerism. African Americans have become billboards for corporations, a very accurate and powerful message from Mr. West. However, many have a hard time believing Kanye's message, as he also has his hand in this capitalistic country with his own record label, clothing line, and shoe deal with Nike. If I buy the new Yeezys doesn't that make me a billboard for you, Kanye?
"Hold My Liquor" features Chief Keef singing auto-tune, which is . . . interesting. It's clear that Kanye wants to put a spin on Chief Keef's image a little bit. The 17-year old has had numerous run-ins with the law and has been portrayed as a somewhat "violent" artist in the eyes of many. Perhaps Kanye was trying to display a more sensitive side of the emcee. The production sounds like a cross between the electronic synth laced sounds of 808s and Heartbreak and the dark, string-heavy, Justin Vernon-complemented sound of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
The sexually charged lyrics of "I'm In It" build up to heavy pounding kicks, rapid fire hi-hats and far-out synths, with West gets pretty explicit throughout -- "Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign" and "Eating Asian pussy, all I need is sweet and sour sauce" are two infamous examples. Kanye also declares that he speaks "Swaghili," which hopefully is the bar that kills the term "Swag" forever.