Album Review: “Yeezus”
One of, if not the most highly anticipated album releases of the year is the upcoming album from Kanye West entitled “Yeezus”. Being one of the most polarizing, yet highly successful musicians in the history of music, by public perception any new project from West is guaranteed to be successful simply by relying on his reputation as an innovator in hip hop, features from an extensive list of the many now legendary artists he’s worked with (Jay-Z, Beyonce, John Legend, Charlie Wilson, Elton John, Coldplay, etc.), and some of his always iconic music videos. However, always the rebel, Kanye West has decided to throw out all conventional forms of promotion and has spent the last 2 months spreading the word about his album in ways that are sure to revolutionize the way artists get their music to the public.
In early May, West made a surprise appearance at a Cartoon Network Adult Swim event and made an impromptu performance of unreleased and unfinished songs off his June 18 release “Yeezus” including songs titled “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead”. Outdoing himself weeks later, he decided to reveal his song “New Slaves” to the world by recording a video featuring a headshot scene of him performing the song and having the video played by projection on over 20 buildings across the country. Immediately these sightings became viral sensations with phone video recordings of these projections receiving tens of millions of views on YouTube. Again, feeling the need to outdo himself, at the top of June West gave a repeat performance of his video projections but on a much grander scale deciding to now play the projections on 60 buildings spanning every continent in the world.
With the word now out to the world that Kanye was indeed releasing a new album, he preceded on his only conventional promotional move in the form of a performance of his now controversial songs “New Slave” and “Black Skinhead” on the popular late night sketch show Saturday Night Live. Both performances were accompanied by background images reflecting the simplicity of the world at large, which is something that has also been reflected in the minimal packaging of the “Yeezus” album which features a simple clear CD case, no cover artwork, and a piece of red tape attached to the side. Although the presentation of the album may be far less intricate than any other album Kanye West has ever presented to the public, the actual album itself is promised to extremely well executed as West has flown some of the biggest stars in music to Paris to work on the album with rumored collaborators to be Florence Welch, Skrillex, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Chief Keef, Travis Scott, John Legend, and more.
Not taking any prior success or the current state of the album for granted, Kanye has even gone so far as to enlist Def Jam co-founder and legendary producer Rick Rubin as executive producer of the album 2 weeks before its release. With all this hard, meticulous work going into the album and his reputation on the line, “Yeezus” promises to be one of the best pieces from Kanye West, which he explained at his exclusive album listening party at the Art Basel Fair in Basel, Switzerland:
“I fight to push culture every chance I get. I only frown because paparazzi ask me dumb ass shit all the time, and I think about changing the world, and I think what I can do to make things better. And without further ado, I want to play you guys my new album. It’s called ‘Yeezus’” –Kanye West