Kanye West's "Yeezus" Improves With Age
My first impression of Kanye West’s Yeezus was half of it was a masterpiece and half of it was very good and now I think it is all a masterpiece. Clocking in at 40 minutes in length, every track reveals itself in time and lines fly out at you and slap you to attention. The first track, “Out Of Sight” is a spike of liquid acid with all the hallucinations turned inside out: intead of being surrealistic, it is serate sharp thuderring rock rhythm. The whirl of synth that introduces you to it explains why Lou Reed worded Metal Machine Music when he wrote about it.
“How much do I not give a fuck?” is the rallying war cry here. It is a misogynistic, misanthropic, Jim Crow insulated smack upside the head. And it seems to keep you out and wear you out and invite you in at the same time. And, and, and… it’s funny. “Blood On The Leaves” is funny, “I’m In It” is funny “I Am A God” is funny … just about everything is the mopst sardonic humor amazing. West takes Black Excellence and sneers at it: he doesn’t need the incipient racism of excellence, he nail a line like “Your titties, let em out, free at last” is sacrilege the way early punk was. It took the sacred screeds of the civil rights movements and laughed at it.
The thing is, to quote MLK without genuflecting, is to show a true post-racism even if it is denied elsewhere. The difference between Jay-Z and Kanye, is Jay-Z wants power and Kanye wants freedom. Real freedom. He wants to be a God in the sense he wants to do ANYTHING HE WANTS, and I mean musically because it is musically West wants to connect with us.
Most of my hip hop loving friends hate Yeezus and I do mean hate Yeezus. The success of Born Sinner feels like an intentional insult. It isn’t close to as good an album, but it has sold more. It is like people go deaf. Listen “I’m In It” again, Assassins verses sound like Buster Rhymes being hit by sledgehammer and the come on is so powerful and sexy and then Justin Vernon taks it home. There is so much going on here, it just blows your mind. AND THIS IS A RELATIVELY MINOR TRACK.
At only forty minutes you can put it on repeat and let it go and go and go. And there is so often something to like. His last three abums in order of preference?