The Commerce Journal

July 16, 2013

'Yeezus' disappoints with poor mix of rhythm, lyrics

By Allie Burks
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — As Kanye West ascended to a hip-hop throne in 2011, he started a continuing metamorphosis. His confidence shifted to cockiness, illustrated by his new album “Yeezus” which dropped June 18 as a proclamation of his righteousness.

I hesitated at first to review it following that old phrase, “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all” because I am a Kanye fan. I heard the album when it leaked four days before it’s release on Def Jam Records. As I gave it a couple more listens, I couldn’t hold my opinion back any longer. It’s so sad to hear a mediocre album with sounds of potential.

Yeezus has hit number one on the Billboard charts in the U.K. and Australia. I think most fans of the man nicknamed Yeezy probably stared at their computers in disbelief after their first listen to the album, the way I did. Still though, since critics tend to like things that are different and push limits, the album will probably do well to grow the chip on his shoulder.

My complaint with the album is the misplacement of the beats and lyrics, which sound good individually but together, lack fluidity. It is apparent he did not master how to sing and rap over heavy bass-lines and synths as he created a new-wave and rock n’ roll influenced record. I respect that he dared to release a rap album with no traditional rap tracks, but the end result sounds more like a mix tape than a product from a man who regards himself as the Michael Jordan of music. Michael Jordan won a pivotal game in the 1997 NBA Championships while sick with the flu-that’s focus, dedication. Yeezy got on the court and sat down after he proved he could play sick. I think someone who publicly thinks so highly of themselves should be a perfectionist and put more pride in what they’re doing. The unfinished sounding songs would have come out mint with better timing on the mixing of the lyrics with the samples and dark synth beats.

Out of the 10 songs on the album, three are good quality from start to finish- “I’m in it”, “Black Skinhead”, and “New Slaves”. He used a heavy amount of auto-tune and other forms of voice-mangling in this album that seems overdone because he failed to master the art of blending it all to form a song that conveys a feeling that hits you hard with lyrics, with only the three previous exceptions. This album should have been a demo for a stronger album.

I think if Kanye respected the fact he could be laying the road for a whole new type of hip-hop, he really could have left a lasting impression with this album. Instead, I expect Yeezus will wash away with the hype.