Kanye West: Yeezus
It is easy to forget that Kanye West turned the music industry upside down with a rare and wild mysticism that could be compared to the understated brilliance of what some call backpack rap. Slightly hip to be squarely hip hop, he possessed a sick delivery of witty rhymes with an upper-handed bravado that could ignite pop culture references and slyly diss societal ills, both urban and suburban. Kanye West has gone through several stages since his first studio album, The College Dropout, was released in 2004. His latest, Yeezus, is, on the surface, a self-proclamation of a holier-than-thou presence, but something much more. “Guilt Trip” and “Blood on the Leaves” are most reminiscent of West’s multilayered, sonic brilliance, mixing a vintage, soulful energy, auto-tuned regalia and a musical tapestry so varied it astounds. “On Sight” is a fiery soliloquy full of gritty techno galactic warfare as West rips into his enemies with a cocky haughtiness. Rock metal haunts “Black Skinhead,” as it could easily have been inspired by Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People.” “New Slaves,” the industrial, minimalistic retort is soul-searing and raw. West takes on consumerism, yet embraces it, criticizes it, yet acknowledges prostrating to it as well. The duality of the man-against-the-artist, fame-versus-realness, a lack of love and a whole lot of sex are juxtaposed all over the place on Yeezus. If there was ever an album to bring back the fury of punk power, rebellion and anger, Yeezus does that masterfully and further distances Kanye West light years ahead of anyone else in the industry.