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Yeezus: Kanye West

24 Jun

Yeezus.

I Am A God.

The best albums have a way of redefining the world in their terms. You stumble across one and then for a while it owns you. You hear it as the background to everything you do. You never play anything but them, but you can never make the music loud enough. The world fades and takes on the album’s tint. You feel yourself change. This is why I’m very careful about when I listen to Unknown Pleasures. This is why you should probably be careful around me while I’m on Yeezus.

I Am A God.

Yeezus is mean. This is not an album for radio. It doesn’t have to care about what you think and it knows it. This is about being a God, about being above the petty concerns of mortals. This is being Kanye West being nasty. The music is harsh, the lyrics are cruel and the album is designed to hurt. God is not forgiving, he is vengeful. If listening to this doesn’t make you uncomfortable then you haven’t heard it at all.

Due to that though, this album is intentionally hilarious. Kanye West has made an art of being over the top and this album is his masterpiece. Whether it is the ludicrous hubris of I Am A God, or the continuous conflation of African-American civil rights movements and graphic sex acts or even just him speaking Swag-hili, the irreverence of Yeezus makes for the funniest album that I have heard in a long time.

I Am A God.

Being a God has responsibilities as well though. You need to be greater than those whom you want to worship you. This may not be what you expected or are used to, but this is definitely a great album. Blood on the Leaves is his greatest song yet and New Slaves, I’m In It and Bound 2 are all cuts most rappers would kill for. While the album as a whole may not be as immediately listenable as MBDTF or even Watch The Throne, it is still very strong music.

In fact, it is astonishingly good music considering how intent it is on breaking new ground. Putting out an album this fresh is a difficult task in and of itself, and not only accomplishing that but also generating one of the best sounds of the year is incredibly impressive.

I Am A God.

This is not just an album, this is a cultural napalm bomb. This is the work for which Kanye West will be remembered. Pioneering, dangerous and very individual, this is the album that only Kanye could make and we thank him for it. Yeezus.

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