My formal thoughts on Yeezus Christo, the Deistic Fister live at MTV Hive. Read them if you’re interested. In short, I think you’re all right. Everyone, yes, even you. Well, maybe not the guy who wrote that thing at Reddit. The truth about Yeezus is that it’s a divisive record because there are large parts of it that are great and there are large parts of it that are really fucking stupid. Not like Flocka dumb-out ignorance, but actual willful stupidity. That said, if you think Kanye is stupid, you might be stupid. The guy can afford to pay Kendrick Lamar $2 million to ghost-write his record. Or the guys who wrote “Bandz a Make Her Dance.” Or the guys who have been writing everything for Rick Ross since Trilla. (Whoever those guys are deserve a Pulitzer).
Yeezus is about the put-on, he’s disguised as a God, which is probably closer to his current reality than the “Why does nobody love me” humanism of his early music. To use an inane Austin Powers quote that he might appreciate: he’s just trying to get a rise out of you. You don’t get to be this successful and famous by being stupid. Unless you’re Snooki and even then, she has like four novels that have sold more than anything any of us will ever do. America is a beautiful place.
Just because it’s powerful and risk-taking, doesn’t mean Yeezus is great. Just because it has lyrics as bad as I’m Not a Human Being 2, doesn’t mean it’s worthless. There are too many stunning moments on this record to completely dismiss it. But it’s a shame that Kanye passed up the opportunity to deliver a cohesive timeless work in order to win a bet with himself. It’s an experimental record where the experiment is done sloppily. There is strange fluid spilled everywhere and it’s gross. Not like transgressive David Cronenberg gross, like the motel didn’t change the sheets gross. I dislike it in spite of itself. Because some of these beats are absurdly cool, the dancehall stuff makes me want to lick gunshots into the air, and “Bound 2” is one of the best songs of the year.
It’s cool that for a lot of people, this will be their My First Avant-Garde record. If you’ve been listening to hip-hop for as long as I have, much of this is nothing new. And for all the indulgence and vapidity, there’s a part of me that’s really happy that Kanye is going to make these sounds cool. Maybe it will get some Tyga fan to check out Camu Tao. If that happens once, we all win. In the meantime, I’ll probably keep a few of these songs on my iPod and maybe play them the next time I do an Arrested Development theme party (this is what they play in the Gothic Castle right?). If I want to hear progressive electronic music, I’ll listen to TNGHT or Nic Jaar without having to hear about Ye’s penchant for ass eating. If I want rap that makes me say fuck the world, I’ll go listen to Gibbs. If I want ferocious diatribes, I’ll put on the Shabazz Palaces and Killer Mike records. I wish all the Kanye stans would chill though. You can appreciate Yeezus without having to be a believer.