Yeezus: The Power of Ego

Yeezus: The Power of Ego

Kanye West is one of the most recognizable celebrities in today’s media. Some people may recognize him as a problematic internet presence but many people recognize him as a legend of hip hop music. He came into the hip hop game when gangster rap was prevalent but did not rap like that. He rapped about what he knew and that was racial topics and the upper class lifestyle. He is not only one of the greatest rappers he is also one of the greatest musicians of all time. All of his albums have a unique sound and he has influenced many of the artists we know today.

“Yeezus” is the album that came after Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”   “Fantasy” came at a time when Kanye was hated because of antics such as storming the stage at the VMAs.  He made that album get people back on his side.   That album is now considered his best and many publications consider it one best album of the decade. It was essentially an apology album. “Yeezus” is Kanye’s way of going back to his form. It is an experimental sound unlike any of his music before. It is aggressive and confident to the point where he refers to himself as a God. He names the album “Yeezus” which we all know sounds like Jesus. This sounds like him comparing himself as perfect like Jesus but even Jesus was human.

The album begins with abrasive synths that sound like they belong nowhere in a rap album. Kanye’s first words are “Yeezy season approaching… a monster bout’ to come alive again” This signifies Kanye’s return to form. The next song is “ Black Skinhead” This song features a beat that is popular in commercials, oddly enough. A notable line from this song is “ They see a  black man at the top floor they gone come to kill King Kong, Middle America packed in, came to see me in my black skin.”   Kanye is referencing his mainly white audience that he sees at his shows. It feels to him that he is a spectacle just as King Kong was. King Kong was also a character who had good intentions but was painted as a bad individual to the public. Kanye is calling himself an outlier as Kong was. Due to the bad he has done white people see him as a bad person despite the good things he has done. The next lines I’d like to note are “ If I don’t get ran out by Catholics, Here come the conservative Baptist, Claiming I’m overreacting, Like them black kids in Chiraq.” The first part is Kanye saying that due to everyone hating him if one religious group isn’t then another will. He then continues to highlight the murders of African Americans in Chicago. Chicago is called Chi-Raq due to the killings. I take this line as him calling out Christian groups and media outlets for focusing on minor issues rather than the ones at large such as violence to minorities. He then goes into the chorus which in the latter part he states “ I’ve been a menace for the longest” 

The next song which is probably the most controversial out of the tracklist is titled “I Am a God”. Kanye constantly refers to himself as a God in this song and even describes himself as a “close high” to God himself. This song contains one of my favorite Kanye bars of all time with “ Soon as they like you make em’ unlike you, Cus’ kissin peoples *expletive* is so unlike you, The only rapper compared to Michael.”   I would continue but he uses language I can’t put here. He then ends his first verse with “ Until the day i get struck by lighting.” I enjoy this verse so much because it shows Kanye doesn’t care how you feel about him he is just going to do him. After he made an apology album to get people on his side again he knew that he wasn’t being himself despite it being called the best music of his career. He then goes to state he’s the only rapper compared to Michael. How many musicians can say that? He ends this verse by saying he won’t stop until someone comes to take his spot. The odds of that are slim to none as that of getting struck by lightning.

The next song is New Slaves. This song starts out with short synth keys and Kanye saying “ My mam was raised in the era when, Clean water was only served to the fairer skin, Doin’ clothes you would’ve thought I had help, But they wouldn’t be satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself” Kanye is comparing the two eras of his mothers time and his. His mom grew up in the civil rights era while he is rich and famous yet still finds help hard to come by. He then talks about how the control of material items can effect anyone and not just black people. In his next verse one of the most notable bars is “ Y’all throwin contracts at me, you know that n***** can’t read” This line is him saying that companies will give black people contracts knowing they most likely don’t understand what is in them. Kanye is using the fact that slaves weren’t taught to read and siding it with present day ideas such as complicated contracts to show that no matter how far African Americans progress they are still being pushed back. He then goes on to reference privately owned prisons and how the owners of them are proud of them. Everything he is saying is linked to the oppression of black people. From contracts, material items, and prisons black people are still being oppressed in this country and they are still seen as property.

“Guilt Trip” is another personal cut on the album. Kanye only has one verse on this song talking about how his old relationship failed due to the lack of compatibility. This is more simplistic than most of the other songs in terms of production. It also features a great singing cut from Kid Cudi. “ Send It Up” is the next song. It isn’t anything amazing yet it does have one stand out bar: “ She say ‘Can you get my friends in the club’, I say ‘ can you get my benz in the club?’ Kanye ends the song with the words “ Yeezus just rose again” This is him saying he is back to full form as this is the second to last song on the album.

The final song is “Bound 2” This song contains classic Kanye production as he is rapping over the song “Bound” by the Ponderosa Twins Plus One. Every song before was a wildly different sound than what Kanye ever made but here he uses a classic sample. This is the most vulnerable cut on the album. The sample loop repeats the words “ Bound to fall in love”. Up until this bpoint Kanye had been rapping about wealth, success, and women but here he is making a statement about him settling down and being with one woman who is his wife. At the end of the song he raps “After these long *expletive* verses, I’m tired, you tired, Jesus wept” Kanye is comparing his album to the Bible by using the shortest  bible verse and using wordplay with the statement “long…verses” This song ends his long trail of braggadocios and self indulgent lyrics with Kanye being human. When Jesus cried it showed he was human just like the people who followed him. Kanye, despite being very successful, knows he is just a human. 

Yeezus is an album that starts out to show Kanye’s egotistical ways are self destructive. Once he finds the love of his life it shows him he is just a normal person despite his success. He matures throughout this album and is not afraid to put it on display. This is why I believe this album is a masterpiece.