He might think he’s Jesus – or bigger than – Yeezus even (whatever that actually is?) – but on New Slave you hear him boast that he’s bigger than his own race, presumably better too. He also, in saying it’s better to be a dick than a swallower, manages to be misogynistic, homophobic and somehow so sure, still, he’s bigger than the game, presumably better too.
There’s a song called I Am A God but how we’re supposed to believe (in) that, much less let it happen, when this “God” is calling for a massage and croissants is beyond me. Never mind Kanye bestowing the title upon himself – he can’t rhyme. He barely even tries. Did this “God” make an album in six days and on the seventh phone in the lyrics?
The closest thing to Yeezus in the Kanye canon is his 808s & Heartbreak, a horrific album that was so bafflingly ridiculous as to arguably be without precedent so panicked critics simply called it a game-changer, a mini-masterpiece. After that he sprawled large with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – the wax-off to Heartbreak’s waxed-on audacity and there you have it – the man who had repeated his debut album not once but twice was now a genius. Game over.
God, it’s never seemed more like game over listening to Yeezus.
And good luck finding any music here. That non-cover is a sign of the emptiness you’ll find within.
What’s frustrating about Kanye’s swagger and braggadocio – hardly rarities in hip-hop of course – is that there’s no heart in it and very little humour.
And let me get this straight – Kanye gets to call out George Bush for being racist but is allowed to appropriate Strange Fruit for his own tale of groupies? Nice move singing the word “bitches” in the usual non-singing Autotune slur we’ve come to expect right in time with Strange Fruit’s most powerful evocation, “black bodies swinging…”And then in jarring juxtaposition it’s to “fuck them other niggas”. He is a strange fruit, indeed.
You see this is the problem – Kanye gets to tell you afterwards he’s joking, but there’s never even the slightest hint that he is. Or, when he is, it’s so fucking daft, so childish, so embarrassing, that you wish he weren’t joking. Or that he learned what a joke was.
Yeezus is the kind of minimalism that gets screamed at you – ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION, I’M BEING SUBTLE, YO!
It’s as hookless as that last M.I.A. album, as shark-jumping as the last two Kanye albums and so brutally claustrophobic. It’s an uncomfortable listening experience but given he’s a superstar people simply decide that’s yet another new version of genius.
Here’s a guy, instead, that’s been tapped out, ideas-wise, since he tried to move on from sampling soul records.
Woozy post dubstep textures outline some of these song-offcuts and then on the closer, Bound 2, he does the subverted Motown thing, far more cartoon-ish than ever before. It’s both a payoff for fans that have stuck with him without really knowing why, and further proof he’s tapped out. It’s actually the biggest send-up of what Kanye was about; how he made his name. Some stupid stoned chuck-off at himself.
Because in Kanye’s earliest productions and all across that first album we heard his heart; we could almost see it, certainly feel it. But he used it up. Yeezus takes bits from 808s and pieces from Dark Twisted Fantasy to make beats and faeces that are – again – allegedly without precedent. But has anyone stopped to think that if you want a game-changer, an innovator, someone who took a type of hip-hop and reduced it, kept it slightly simmering and threw in so many other ideas with woozy/wonky non-singing and colliding beats there’s always Tricky.
There’s always Tricky.
He should be laughed at, never with. He should be laughed off the stage, off any
But instead everywhere else you will read five-star slobber-pieces. I can’t do that. Because I review music. And there’s not the slightest trace on Yeezus; there’s no longer any in his heart. There’s not even the slightest trace of (him having a) soul.