Archive for the ‘Kanye West’ tag
Creative rapper Angel Haze posted yesterday her take on one of the highlights from Yeezus, “New Slaves” on twitter. ”Got bored…here’s something New. SLAVES” she posted along with the soundcloud link. She maintains most of the hooks from the original but replaces almost everything else. The poor quality of the recording unfortunately detracts from her lyrical power. It kind of sounds like the beat was done in garage band and there isn’t much production value to her voice. Regardless, there are some pretty powerful lines in there and she preserves the angry ferociousness of Ye’s original. Something cool to hold us off until her debut album which, according to Haze has been finished since June but no details other than that have been released.
New music video from one of Canada’s highly anticipated Hip Hop artists, SonReal, who has been busy writing and recording new solo material after recent success of his album in collaboration with fellow Canada emcee/producer Rich Kidd. This track features SonReal rhyming over Kaye West’s “Everything I Am” from his 2007 Graduation release. Check out the video below, and look out for more from SonReal later this summer.
Given that most of Kanye West’s music is composed of (brilliantly arranged) samples, it seems a bit unfair not to give credit to Marilyn Manson, who wrote the track, “The Beautiful People,” underlying “Black Skinhead.” I was always a little creeped out by Manson’s aesthetic, but “The Beautiful People” is a great song.
Kanye West’s Yeezus is not for the faint of heart. But neither is the rapper himself. Although, to be honest, referring to Kanye West as a “rapper” feels a bit too feeble at this point. On Kanye’s Wikipedia page, the list of his many career controversies is seemingly endless, but so is the one for his many awards and accolades. Throughout a decade of ups and downs, Kanye West has now officially ascended into a state of higher being; at least, according to Kanye West, he has.
When Yeezus was leaked earlier last week, the album– and Ye’s now-famous NY Times profile– sparked a heated debate within the office where I work. “Kanye isn’t even that good of a producer,” said one colleague, taking aim at the rapper’s liberal use (and re-use) of samples. On the flip side, another colleague and I defended the man who, as we argued, has succeeded in bringing rap music to the mainstream without sacrificing on experimentation or risk-taking; I even believe I used the “G” word once or twice. On Yeezus, Kanye West is more haunting, heavy, and poignant than ever before. There are also more unsightly references to his dick than ever before. Which side you choose to favor while listening is pretty much up to you. But while not all will see Yeezus as a fair representation of Kanye’s genius, there is no other artist alive who could create such a work of raw, powerful wonder.
Throughout Yeezus, there are only glimmers of the artist that Kanye used to be; the album’s curt collection of ten tracks is still ripe with samples and collaborations, but there are no radio-friendly rap hits to be found anywhere, a la` “Gold Digger,” or even “N***** in Paris.” Take, for example, “Holy My Liquor.” The track isn’t quite the party jam you’d think it would be, but a scratchy, minimalist expression of loneliness and angst. Instead of relying on previously explored genres like soul and electronics, Kanye works to make a dark, industrial, aggressive new sound all his own. Opener “On Sight,” produced with the help of Daft Punk, commences with the cutting zaps of a warped synth, reminiscent (as many have pointed out) of Death Grips. Still, the comparison isn’t quite fair. It’s one thing to create experimental sounds, but it’s a whole new risk for an artist like Kanye West, who could easily rest on the laurels of his number one hits without ever altering a note. “How much do I not give a fuck?” he asks, after which a sweet harmony of female voices respond, “He’ll give us what we need/It may not be what we want.”
To the haters, I can say only this: give Ye a chance. He may compare himself to Steve Jobs and Michael Jordan without the slightest hint of irony, but only he can make sense of a track about racism that includes references to both cotton picking and Alexander Wang. Kanye does just that on “New Slaves,”one of the many tracks on Yeezus that boldly tackles the issue of race. “Blood on the Leaves” re-works Nina Simone’s cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” a protest song about lynching in the Jim Crow era. Whether it’s distasteful is not really for me to judge, but it’s dizzying to hear how Kanye spins the song into an earnest tale of drugs, fame, money, and regret.
Now, I don’t want to offend any religious groups by comparing Kanye West to God, but it’s obvious the two have a few things in common (at least theoretically). God created the world because he had the power to do so. Kanye created Yeezus because he had the power– and the guts– to release it to the world. Inarguably, there is no figure in music more polarizing, jarring, or thoroughly in-your-face than Kanye West. For better or worse, he stands alone– a Yeezus among men.
5 / 5 bars
I’d say the most impressive achievement Daft Punk achieved on Random Access Memories was getting me to actually enjoy listening (repeatedly) to a surprisingly captivating interview with disco legend Giorgio Moroder. After that, though, the fantastic track “Doin’ It Right” has to be my favorite song. Inevitably, the internet exploded with remixes, edits, and the like. These two, especially the Kanye mashup, are some of the best. I still like the original the most, though.
Consequence’s “Cut That Out” cuts right in without any warning, and the spontaneous intro suits the track well. Consequence’s verses are delivered with playful bombast, barely taking a moment for respite before the R&B chorus kicks in. This track, off of J. Period and & Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music (Remixed & Unreleased) mixtape, combines an exotically minor-keyed soul beat with excited lyrics about a romance on the verge of beginning – or totally collapsing.
Jayceon Terrell Taylor a.k.a. The Game hasn’t been in the starting rotation since his 2005 debut The Documentary. As an original member of 50 Cent’s G-Unit crew, it was no surprise The Documentary went 2x platinum – the Compton-bred Blood had plenty of help from 50, Eminem, the late Nate Dogg, and Mary J. Blige (most importantly, Dr. Dre produced the album). Back then, his music was revitalizing West Coast gangsta rap, his flow was fresh, and he had all of Aftermath Entertainment behind him. For nearly a decade, Game has ridden the coattails of his former success, painfully forcing out an album every two years, but his new release Jesus Piece shows bits of promise. Unfortunately anything worthwhile off Jesus Piece has little to do with the rapper who used to “take all the credit for putting the West back on the map.”
Jesus Piece is a significant stylistic departure from The Game’s previous work. The record is light-hearted compared to albums like LAX and The Documentary, with less writing about crack cocaine, murder, and Compton life. Instead of recording with thugs like 50 and Nate Dogg, he’s in the booth with thoughtful performers like Kendrick Lemar and Common. Kanye teases us by slapping his name on “Jesus Piece” but only groans a few half-assed “hanhs” before ditching Common and Game.
The LP’s lineup is stacked with other big names: Young Jeezy, Wiz Kahlifa, 2 Chainz, and Rick Ross. Unfortunately, The Game is so out of touch with hip-hop at this point; no one can save the record. Kendrick Lamar crushes “See No Evil” and “Hallelujah” featuring Jamie Foxx is reminiscent of Kayne’s early work. It’s also the only track where The Game really catches his old flow and delivers. Cool & Dre’s production outshines everyone on “All That (Lady)” a filthy, uncreative toast to pussy, lead by the King of Snatch-referencing, Weezy F. Baby. The Game’s entire career can be summed up on the album’s hottest track “Ali Bomaye,” where Black Metaphor’s genius production work lays The Game’s tired, useless flow flat on its back.
Jesus Piece is The Game’s first noteworthy record since 2005. It’s shamelessly packed with big names but somehow still out of touch with today’s hip-hop. The fact that Chris Brown leads the album’s only single “Celebration” is a testament to how soft (or desperate) The Game has become. The glory days of G-Unit, West Coast hardcore, and gangsta rap are long over. Even with the monumental help Game receives on Jesus Piece, he’s still unable to get back in touch with what made him interesting in the first place – being homies with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. Hate it or love it, Jesus Piece is the same brazen, dismissible music we’ve come to expect from The Game since The Documentary.