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Early reactions to Kanye West’s provocative sixth album, Yeezus, had some outlets calling him a revolutionary and others an egotistical prick obsessed with material excess and expedient croissant delivery. The reality may lie somewhere in between. West is a flawed dude who says some stupid shit on record (a line from “On Sight” has already drawn rebuke from the American Parkinson Disease Association), but he’s also in the top one percentile of modern hip-hop producers and is currently using his pulpit as (arguably) the most relevant pop-culture figure of the Now to address institutional racism and bring forth a raw, righteous anger unseen since perhaps the heyday of Public Enemy.

Oh, and there’s a line on Yeezus that goes, “Put my fist in her like the Civil Rights sign.”

The man is an enigma. He’ll probably never fully encapsulate either end of the spectrum that critics and fans want to corner him in. While West has made strides on the electronic-heavy new record in some sociopolitical regards, he remains undeniably clothed in mainstream hip-hop’s misogynist trappings. Look no further than the aforementioned hilarious/evil quote for proof.

Executive Producer Rick Rubin is largely responsible for the minimalism of Yeezus. West already showed us with past releases (most notably 2010’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) that he’s capable of lush, panoramic soundscapes with borderline universal appeal. He’s taken a drastic Daft Punk–assisted turn toward the abrasive on Yeezus, and will alienate some casual rap fans in the process, but the end result is his most important (albeit occasionally dumb) and brave album to date.

Soundcloud widget:
  • Album: Yeezus
  • Artist: Kanye West
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Songs: (1) On Sight (2) Black Skinhead (3) I Am a God (4) New Slaves (5) Hold My Liquor (6) I’m in It (7) Blood on the Leaves (8) Guilt Trip (9) Send It Up (10) Bound 2
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FatCatSegat June 28, 2013 @ 8:50 a.m.

Drink some more Hennessey, act like an ass, hook up with an ever bigger self absorbed ass, say stupid and ignorant things and rake in the dough. And we wonder why this country is in the state its in? I love hip-hop when it has something to say. I despise hip-hop when only party, hate and disrespect are glorified. The syntax and phoenetic flow may be dated but Public Enemy, BDP, NWA, they had something to say. Tupac and Big Poppa had something to say. As long as the media listens and TMZ glorifies, we have no other choice but to change the station or simply tune out. Enough with these self indulgent pukes already!

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