This article has made me want to go back and check it out again. It still has some songs that I listen to til this day but I could never listen to the whole project from beginning to end. Maybe I’ll give it another listen this weekend.
The first time I heard Yeezus I was jarred. Kanye was known for taking drastic turns under intense pressure. According to Pitchfork, after his entire world was crumbling around him—he’d lost both his mother and his longtime girlfriend with whom he was engaged, Alexis Pfifer—Kanye turned his rage into a whirlwind of deep emotional distress called 808s and Heartbreak. The album wasn’t on some revolutionary shit at the time. People didn’t quite know what to make of it. Pitchfork’s review was decidedly mixed and awarded the album a 7.6 with a series of volleyed critiques. “It’s no surprise that 808s is a bit of a grower: The record’s best songs—”Paranoid”, “Street Lights”, “Coldest Winter”, and “RoboCop”—are often its most dismal, with cavernous production giving the Auto-Tune vocals more of an echoing desolation than a pop sheen,” Scott Plagenhoef stated. “By contrast, the more pop aspects of the album are where it relatively stumbles.” Kanye West had declared that he wanted to be the “number one artist in the world” by that time. And in a press conference in New Zealand he seemingly uttered these bizarrely aspirational and prophetic words, “Hip Hop is over for me now.” At least that’s how it was reported by The Observer and, thus, almost everyone else. What did that even mean? West asked reporters that same question after word got out. It means it paved the way for the most divisive album of Mr. West’s career when, faced with another maelstrom of emotional distress, he decided to change the nature of the protest album. Yeezus, then, was a protest directed toward the closing of the corporate mind.