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June 11, 2013 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Promotion is ramping up for the sixth studio album by Kanye West, the modestly titled "Yeezus", due for release June 18. The 36 year-old rapper and producer debuted the songs "Black Skinhead" and "New Slaves" on SNL, following up by projecting videos for the songs on buildings across the country. In a new interview, Kanye shares his grandiose artistic ambitions and frustrations.
posted by chrchr (234 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kanye's voracious devouring of all art he encounters, where he digests it and starts using it without stopping to think about exactly what it means, is fascinating, and has led to him being one of the more constantly fascinating musicians out there. The change in his musical style in Yeezus is really neat, and pretty much the polar opposite of what he had going on Watch the Throne (which in turn was substantially different from MBDTF). He is easily one of the most interesting Top 40 artists—blows Lady Gaga out of the water on that front—and he has an ambition to his songwriting and his career that seems genuinely concerned with this concept of greatness, of making something that matters.

The beat of Black Skinhead is absolutely terrific.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:09 PM on June 11, 2013 [29 favorites]


I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.

You're not wrong Kanye, but you're kind of a dick.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:12 PM on June 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


I guess it doesn't suck any more than the crap I listened to in the 80s. I guess.
posted by Max Udargo at 9:17 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Like Laurie Anderson, for example. Which is to say Kanye West for artist-in-residence at NASA.
posted by Lorin at 9:19 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is it too much to hope for that the final mix of the album is this stripped down? He overcame the famously horrible mixing for SNL musical guests perfectly by paring down his backing band so much, and it's awesome.

It's weird as hell how he's throwing a big class bomb with "New Slaves" considering his wealth, but I'm kind of okay with tone deafness with Kanye. I get the impression that he really does try to live in a self-imposed bubble because perspective would undermine his persona.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:29 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're not wrong Kanye, but you're kind of a dick.

All of us are. The difference is that us Great Ones know it and embrace it.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:36 PM on June 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


Love the Black Slaves song, very different. Like he fused early Gary Glitter with rap...
posted by greenhornet at 9:40 PM on June 11, 2013


He's also been hosting listening parties

Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg Comments on it.

Tentative track list.

HudMo plays a track

There are hundreds of vines from the governors ball.

The publicity for this album has been insane. No leaks. No CD Quality tracks dropped on Soundcloud, only rumors and random shit quality clips showing up on vine and youtube.

First everyone was saying it was Death Grips Lite, now everyone seems to think it is not even rap but some kind of punk album.

First we heard he had Azealia Banks and Tyler The Creator on it, now we find out he has Chief Keef on it.

Even the CD art seems to have morphed over the last week. Everything just raised more questions. Guess we have to buy it to find out.

You crazy for this one Ye.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:44 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's weird as hell how he's throwing a big class bomb with "New Slaves" considering his wealth, but I'm kind of okay with tone deafness with Kanye.

Why is it weird? He's rich; that doesn't mean that he hasn't experienced poverty, or that he's forgotten the massive racial wealth gap that exists in the US. This is like saying that it's odd when wealthy people are liberals; my grandparents grew up in the Great Depression and made it through, but they went through some rough times. They made a fair amount of money later on in life, but that didn't change their formative experiences.

And apart from that, I would challenge that characterization. "New Slaves" seems to be Kanye wrestling with the ways that his wealth has separated him from his community in his/their eyes, while he remains separate from wealthy white society.
posted by protocoach at 9:45 PM on June 11, 2013 [9 favorites]


I guess I think of it as weird in the same way I think of a middle-aged dude with a Harley thinking he's a rebel is weird? Not wrong, just a little doofy and disconnected.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:50 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's an interesting stylistic change -- seems half self-critical, when you compare the lyrical content of New Slaves to his older stuff. Also, as an aside, I can't help but feel that Kanye and Elon Musk are very similar. They're both successful visionaries in their respective fields, but with obnoxiously loud egos to match.
posted by spiderskull at 9:51 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess I think of it as weird in the same way I think of a middle-aged dude with a Harley thinking he's a rebel is weird? Not wrong, just a little doofy and disconnected.

Self-quoting for an addendum: it's not that I disagree with what you're saying, protocoach. I think he encompasses both takes on it.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:53 PM on June 11, 2013


Daft Punk worked with him on a couple of tracks, and I'm really excited for it.
posted by hellojed at 9:57 PM on June 11, 2013


So, that Skinhead track sounds an awful lot like early NiN.
posted by oddman at 10:04 PM on June 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


To be fair, he is a rich middle aged dude who hopped up on stage to protest an award and accused the president of not caring about black people on live TV, and people still hate him for both of those things.He is kind of a rebel.

I think part of what New Slaves deals with is how now that guys like him and Jay-Z are rich, they should be thought of as at least somewhat respectable. Money washes away a lot of sins if you have 500 million. They are not, they are still castigated at every turn. Even Obama, who is incredibly successful by anyone's standards, is constantly denigrated. Just how much do they have to accomplish before they are recognized as success stories and not dumb thugs or affirmative action cases.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:05 PM on June 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


So, that Skinhead track sounds an awful lot like early NiN.

With an awesome "Rock and Roll Part 2"/"The Beautiful People" shuffle beat, to boot!
posted by jason_steakums at 10:11 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought the NYT interview was an absolute hoot. But I'm also a fan of Kanye and what he does. Yes, he's rich and arrogant, yes he's sometimes completely preposterous. But he's good at his craft, and if any musician deserves to be rich, arrogant, and preposterous he does.

Really looking forward to next Tuesday.
posted by HostBryan at 10:47 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh BTW R U Ready is the beat for the HudMo track. I like it because the really pitched up "are you ready" part sounds like kittens to me and I think we need more rap beats with kittens. Maybe like rap jingle cats.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:48 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow that New Slaves track was not at all what I expected from Kanye. No drums and some really angry and intense verses.

Not wild about Black Skinhead though. Personally I find certain tracks of his lately a bit heavy on dramatic movie-soundtrack ish vibe-- this one, Jesus Walks, Power, yaddayaddayadda.
posted by Hoopo at 10:49 PM on June 11, 2013


oddman: "So, that Skinhead track sounds an awful lot like early NiN."

That was exactly my thought when I first saw it on SNL. His performance is even evocative of Trent Reznor: the creepy videos, the black leather, gripping the mic with both hands and just being fucking intense.
posted by mokin at 10:50 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's weird as hell how he's throwing a big class bomb with "New Slaves" considering his wealth,

The song is precisely about how lusting after material things makes slaves of people even if they have money.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:08 PM on June 11, 2013


I have to say: I am very curious as to how this new album will be viewed in the long-term.

A few years ago Chuck Klosterman wrote a profile of Val Kilmer which introduced me to advancement theory, which then shifted how I understood pop culture. Advancement theory is not out to describe whether something is good or bad, but whether or not it is interesting. And for something to be interesting, it can't be what came before and it can't be the polar opposite of what came before; it has to occupy some heretofore unexplored territory. Early on in an artists career, it's easy for them to seem advanced, because no one has any expectations for their work, so it's easier to do something that seems novel. The longer an artist is around, the harder it is for them to do something that subverts your expectations without outright defying them, because your expectations of what they will do get more and more defined.

When you look at the artists that are seen as big innovators, there's always a point where people stop being as excited about their work - even if the quality of their work is still high. For me the go-to example is Radiohead (although you could do this with Neil Young, or Madonna, or Bob Dylan, or other artists who have a reputation for changing their styles drastically). When Radiohead starts out, they are a guitar-pop band. The Bends adds to their sonic palette - the songs are more complicated and denser, so it's bigger than Pablo Honey, but they are still a guitar band, so it's not a total 180. Then OK Computer takes a similar step forward, by adding still more instruments into the mix and making the arrangements more multifaceted. Kid A is then completely removed from Pablo Honey in terms of instrumentation, but at this point they've become known as an experimental band, so although it's a different type of record, its part of the continuity, too. But then Amnesiac is Kid A 2. Hail to the Thief is Kid A + OK Computer, sonically speaking. Etc. Their music may or may not be good from this point on - but at this point, they've established a sonic template and followed it. You can be excited by a new Radiohead record, but being inspired by it seems unlikely.

Kanye West has been on a similar trajectory. When he started his beats relied heavily on old soul samples; that was fairly common in the post-Puff Daddy era. His first record expanded on that template a bit by rapping about some topics you don't hear in a lot of commercial rap. His second record had a broader sonic palette, probably as a result of his collaboration with Jon Brion, and hearing that sort of orchestration on a rap record was very novel. From there on, he's managed to broaden his sound to the point where his work sounds sui generis, because it infuses different tastes together without seeming like a total pastiche. Sooner or later, however, he's going to run out of road, because if you innovate for a long time, then sooner or later you just become "the guy who innovates" - at which point there is no way to do something novel. If you innovate more, you're just doing what you've always done; if you stay the same for once, you're doing the exact opposite of what you used to do, and that's boring, too.

Perhaps he already ran out of steam. Watch the Throne is a good pop album, but it didn't scream innovation, and Cruel Summer was decent as far as posse cuts go, but was underwhelming if you see it as the project of someone who seems to want to expand the boundaries of what rap can do. Still, he seems hell-bent on trying to keep it fresh. And maybe Yeezus will be something unexpected and novel. The descriptions of it sound like they are very different from what he's done before.

But that said, he's been so exposed for so long - and now that he's with Kim Kardashian he's even more exposed, like toxic levels of exposed - that whatever changes he makes to the sonic landscape may not be able to wallpaper over his lyrics, if they still embody the same blindly-egotistic-but-somehow-still-semi-socially-conscious terrain he's been trying to embody his whole career. No amount of stripping down the beat will be able to compensate for his rhymes if they are too much of the same thing. But who knows? I haven't heard the record yet, and maybe he will actually be saying something we haven't heard from him before. Although the degree to which this interview with him makes it sound like this record will be about how he's a total maverick and genius, my hopes for new themes is fairly measured.

Like I said, I'm very curious to see if this record will be able to outlast the inevitable backlash the way 808s and Heartbreaks did. If it does, then more power to him.
posted by Kiablokirk at 11:10 PM on June 11, 2013 [27 favorites]


Aha, so THIS was the asshole who did this a few blocks from me some weeks ago - right where you get out of the subway. They had speakers playing this shitty music so loud they made your ears bleed, and they had no attempt whatsoever at crowd control - people, including me and my wife, were being pushed out into the street and dodging the cars.

Neither Bedford Avenue nor North 7th is a big street. Clearly whoever did this spent precisely zero time planning this, spec'ing out the area, or giving a flying fuck about anyone else's safety.

I didn't even try to reason with them, I just called the cops.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:16 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh, and no one will remember any of this tedious music in the long term. At best, it will be a historical curiosity of a time when people venerated greed, and crassness and braggadocio trumped everything else - a cautionary tale.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:21 PM on June 11, 2013 [6 favorites]



I am so credible and so influential and so relevant that I will change things.

You're not wrong Kanye, but you're kind of a dick.


See, I disagree with this. I'm not the world's biggest Kanye fan, but he's undeniably sucessful both commercially and artistically. So why should he be modest? Why should be be some cringing little indie rocker, cut down like a tall poppy by other envious people?

It takes incredible arrogance to just get up on stage, and that's any stage - even somebody performing at a local open mic is proud enough of themselves to get up and speak to a crowd. So if you've reached the point where millions of people buy your records and know your songs - WHY WOULDN'T YOU BE ARROGANT?

AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT? Who's more interesting: John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Bob Dylan destroying an NY Times reporter or somebody mumbling platitudes to a Pitchfork blogger? Kanye acts the way you and I would act if we were that famous, if people did hang on our every word. Sure, we can pretend we'd be some saintly Springsteentonian avatar of the working class, but we'd secretly suspect we're better than other people who thousands of people don't care about.

Kanye worked hard to get where he is, so there's nothing wrong with him aknowledging it.

And i still don't get people angry with him interrupting Taylor Swift. If you have something to say, say it.




Oh, and no one will remember any of this tedious music in the long term. At best, it will be a historical curiosity of a time when people venerated greed, and crassness and braggadocio trumped everything else - a cautionary tale.


This actually sounds more arrogant than Kanye. At least he thinks he's better than people based on his talent, not his superior opinons.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:28 PM on June 11, 2013 [42 favorites]



Aha, so THIS was the asshole who did this a few blocks from me some weeks ago - right where you get out of the subway. They had speakers playing this shitty music so loud they made your ears bleed, and they had no attempt whatsoever at crowd control - people, including me and my wife, were being pushed out into the street and dodging the cars.

Neither Bedford Avenue nor North 7th is a big street. Clearly whoever did this spent precisely zero time planning this, spec'ing out the area, or giving a flying fuck about anyone else's safety.

I didn't even try to reason with them, I just called the cops.


Funny, when he pulled the same stunt in Sydney everyone was excited.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:30 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a hard time separating "the artist" from "the work".

As such, for me there are certain people who are so massively unlikeable that it renders anything they produce unlikeable, despite how objectively brilliant it may be.

Kanye West is one of those people.
posted by ladybird at 11:33 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Black Skinhead samples Marilyn Manson's "Beautiful People", fyi.

Those of us "in the industry" have been in awe of Kanye's campaign and just how well it works in service of his music. So bold. So great.

I'm happy for Kanye. For one thing, to be at the bleeding edge of the hip-hop/rap industry and still being able to name check dead prez or DJ Premier. For another, to have it all and then invert it... man. I'm excited for the record.

He treats his people well and he has a good ear for tunes. He's probably one of the only producers-turned-rappers who has made it in a big way. He's inconsistent and I love that!

And for the person upthread who is asking Kanye to get off his lawn or whatever: blame the record label subsidiary for that one. Most people are surprised at how little say artists have in the final logistics of marketing. Blaming Kanye directly is like piling onto the Beatles for Beatlemania: farcical.

You don't have to believe the hype if you don't want to. That's true as well.

and a semi-obligatory link to Aziz Ansari's bit about Kanye West.
posted by raihan_ at 11:35 PM on June 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


As such, for me there are certain people who are so massively unlikeable that it renders anything they produce unlikeable, despite how objectively brilliant it may be.

I always see 'arrogance' described as being the same thing as being 'unlikable'. Would you really want your popular musicians to stand up on stage, play their songs, mumble 'i hope that was good, i guess' and then get off stage?

what i'm saying, half of you are grunge kids. of course you do
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:35 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


fwiw, i went back and listened to 808s And Heartbreaks again; it ain't bad. Give it another shot.
posted by raihan_ at 11:36 PM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always see 'arrogance' described as being the same thing as being 'unlikable'. Would you really want your popular musicians to stand up on stage, play their songs, mumble 'i hope that was good, i guess' and then get off stage?

What about not saying anything at all? How about simply letting "the work" speak for itself? If it (and you) are so genre-defying and unique and amazing, you shouldn't have to tell people "I am / my work is genre-defying and unique and amazing!"
posted by ladybird at 11:41 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's also always been ambivalent about wealth to say the least. He walks a fine line which is a real trick.

I say fuck the police, that's how I treat 'em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can't buy freedom
We'll buy a lot of clothes but we don't really need em
The things we buy to cover up what's inside
Cause they made us hate ourself and love they wealth
That's why shorties holler, "Where the ballers at?"
Drug dealers buy Jordans, crackheads buy crack
But the white man get paid off of all a dat
But I ain't even gon act holier than thou
Cause fuck it, I went to Jacob with 25 thou


At least on All Falls Down, he is like Yasiin Bey with a 25 thousand dollar rose gold jesus piece. And there has always been an element of "Fuck you, I'm getting what you always had and suddenly it's bad to have money when I have it."
posted by Ad hominem at 11:42 PM on June 11, 2013 [6 favorites]



What about not saying anything at all? How about simply letting "the work" speak for itself? If it (and you) are so genre-defying and unique and amazing, you shouldn't have to tell people "I am / my work is genre-defying and unique and amazing!"


but arrogance is part of the work. even guys like Springsteen and Saint Joe Strummer self-mythologize. you need to get up on stage and think you're the fucking best or else you'll face a crowd of indifferent faces and not be able to deal

look, i listen to as much softly sung indie rock and folk music as most people here. but the best artists know when to put themselves forward so the audience can see that confidence and be reflected in that
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:45 PM on June 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


what i'm saying, half of you are grunge kids
look, i listen to as much softly sung indie rock and folk music as most people here.

I'm not sure that assumptions about other people's musical tastes are relevant here. I suppose you might be making the point that rap and hip-hop are genres that have, historically, required a certain level of visible and audible bravado not necessary or commonly seen in artists in other musical genres.

But again, for me it is all about the person, not the genre. And you can be confident without spewing complete and utter bullshit. Reading that linked NYT interview (one of a few West interviews I've seen - and this one was no different from the others) was actually embarrassing for me because the constant insistence on how great he was, how misunderstood he was, how RIGHT he was, only served to make him look ridiculous and pathetic.

I've always read Kanye's arrogance and acting out as child-like and overcompensating, and as a result, can't respect him as any kind of serious artist. I do kinda feel sorry for him though. He's like that bully in grade school who goes around telling everybody how great he is and picks on the weaker kids on the playground, but at night goes home and cries in his pillow because he feels unloved.
posted by ladybird at 11:56 PM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


And there has always been an element of "Fuck you, I'm getting what you always had and suddenly it's bad to have money when I have it."

This is a really good point. I like that he's been relatively transparent in his lyrics about some of the desire-vs-integrity issues he's had.
posted by spiderskull at 11:57 PM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]



But again, for me it is all about the person, not the genre. And you can be confident without spewing complete and utter bullshit. Reading that linked NYT interview (one of a few West interviews I've read - and this one was no different from the others) was actually embarrassing for me because the constant insistence on how great he was, how misunderstood he was, how RIGHT he was, only served to make him look ridiculous and pathetic.


Except, by pretty much every objective standard - critical acclaim, record sales, whatever - he is great, and he is right.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 12:01 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always read Kanye's arrogance and acting out as child-like and overcompensating, and as a result

He's asking how much better does he have to be to win Best Album. How much better does Beyonce have to be to win best video. How much better does Obama have to be before people even accept him as an American.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:05 AM on June 12, 2013 [19 favorites]


I find it hard to wade through Yeezy's persona and/or personality to actually get to the music though.
posted by elsietheeel at 12:07 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice! I was hoping Snog would wheel back into style sometime soon.
posted by gorestainedrunes at 12:12 AM on June 12, 2013


There's a lot to like about New Slaves but it also highlights Kanye's generally lackluster flow and his (frustratingly common) casual misogyny. Still: interesting!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:15 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bah, it's just ok. It's certainly no List of Demands.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 1:23 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Kanye is that great. As is his flow and rhyming. Pure genius.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 1:46 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't even try to reason with them, I just called the cops.

Oh, and no one will remember any of this tedious music in the long term. At best, it will be a historical curiosity of a time when people venerated greed, and crassness and braggadocio trumped everything else - a cautionary tale.


Can't a black man make a record without someone calling the cops on him for being loud and crass?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:02 AM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


To be fair, he is a rich middle aged dude who hopped up on stage to protest an award and accused the president of not caring about black people on live TV

Current age: 36
Age during hurricane Katrina: 28
Age during Taylor Swift-VMAs: 32

probably I'm just afraid of getting old, but I would say he's only now maybe getting into middle age. I generally don't excuse young people's actions solely on their age, but to call him "middle age" seems even less valid. again, maybe it's just me.

also, to clarify the original post, some of the "New Slaves" projections happened before the SNL performances.
posted by dogwalker at 2:13 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The reason they think he's middle aged is that he's been most important figure in music for nearly a decade.
posted by Rubbstone at 2:18 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


All right, I loved My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy but I wouldn't have called myself a fan, but then I watched those two performances on SNL and he blew me away. All right, Kanye, you win. I am a full on fan.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:40 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Perhaps there are aliens somewhere else in this universe that have been evolving for billions of years longer than man on earth. They are technologically advanced enough to not only contact us, but also reverse our global warming problems in a matter of months. But in all that time, they never developed music. So we trade them our music in exchange for them saving our planet. Greatest love story in all the universe. Of all the music they hear, the new Kanye West album is their favorite. After his music has *literally* helped save the world, Kanye West's ego gets so big, so astronomically huge that it collapses in on itself and he actually gets legitimately humbled by his achievements. And that lasts for about 35-40mins, and then he's back to being himself again.

New record drops in winter 2014.
posted by dogwalker at 2:42 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow... he debuted that during Saturday Night Live?

As in: "Hey Elvis Costello, don't play Radio Radio because it um doesn't say something we want people to hear. Play Less than Zero."

Costello was banned for twelve years for playing a pretty vanilla song.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:18 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can be arrogant and likeable at the same time in the rap game. Snoop Dogg is a good example.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:18 AM on June 12, 2013


I've always read Kanye's arrogance and acting out as child-like and overcompensating, and as a result, can't respect him as any kind of serious artist.

I can't help but feel that a lot of Kanye's socalled arrogance is made up by the media and their expectations from how a Black star has to behave and what is and isn't allowed. Calling it "child-like and overcompensating" actually fits that playbook quite well. The Black man as an overgrown child, that doesn't have a long and dodgy history.

Successfull Black artists are supposed to have some sort of innate talent that makes them successfull, a fluke, rather than sustained talent and hard work. They're not supposed to be canny business men like Kanye, but are expected to self destruct one way or another. So the media plays up anything he does that fits the latter narrative, not so much the former.

What Kanye said about Bush for example is not that different from what a thousand leftwing bloggers (inlcuding y.t.) said at the time, but from him it's arrogant or obnoxious?
posted by MartinWisse at 3:41 AM on June 12, 2013 [17 favorites]


Nanukthedog: The way I heard it (and the way it is described at Wikipedia) was that Costello's label wanted him to play "Less Than Zero" because they thought it would be a better song to promote the American release of his records. Costello balked at this for reasons that have been reported differently over the years, but at the time it seemed that it was because "Less Than Zero" was specifically aimed at a British fascist politician (Oswald Mosley, Wikipedia confirms).

Anyhow, SNL would probably have been happy with a more explosive song (like "Radio Radio") but was not happy that he changed tunes without permission. So, basically, he wasn't banned for what he played but for how he played it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:47 AM on June 12, 2013


>fwiw, i went back and listened to 808s And Heartbreaks again; it ain't bad. Give it another shot.

You know, I think that's his best album. With regards to innovation, nothing out there sounds like that record (although I did memorably read it described as half Blood on the Tracks and half No Jacket Required). Stripped-down synth heartbreak. I love that album so hard.
posted by hydatius at 4:15 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and no one will remember any of this tedious music in the long term. At best, it will be a historical curiosity of a time when people venerated greed, and crassness and braggadocio trumped everything else - a cautionary tale.

If there were any lawns in New York City, I'm sure you would be shouting at us to get off of them.

I know that this is more about my tastes than the quality of the music, but a while back, hip hop stop reaching me. I still listen to Hot 97 all the time, but I find myself connecting a lot more with the R&B they play. Part of what I liked so much about hip hop for a long time was the way new textures were created with sampling (I'm looking at you, Bomb Squad and Sir Jinx), and the sheer cost of sample credits means that can't really happen anymore, except on mixtapes, or on releases by the wealthiest of artists. So a lot of hip hop now is programmed beats and synthesizers. And trap just doesn't do it for me. I did like the beat on the last big Kanye single, Mercy, that sample of the Super Beagle's "Dust a Soundboy" is crazy! "It is a weeping and a moaning and a gnashing of teeth" - when' the last time you heard something like that as the bed for a hip hop track? At the same time, I thought that song might have had the stupidest lyrics in music history. "Drop it to the floor, make that ass shake/make the ground move, that's an assquake/build a house on it that's an asstate/roll my weed on it, that's an asstray." Ugh.

So, I don't know - I'm not sure I have found my way into Kanye West's music, and yeah, his personality is a big stumbling block for me. But it's nice to see a hip hop artist extending themselves, even if they're doing so in a way that doesn't really move me.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:30 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


And i still don't get people angry with him interrupting Taylor Swift. If you have something to say, say it.

If that's your view, I don't think that my opinion that Kanye is kind of a dick will really resonate. Similarly...

AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT? Who's more interesting: John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Bob Dylan destroying an NY Times reporter or somebody mumbling platitudes to a Pitchfork blogger? Kanye acts the way you and I would act if we were that famous, if people did hang on our every word. Sure, we can pretend we'd be some saintly Springsteentonian avatar of the working class, but we'd secretly suspect we're better than other people who thousands of people don't care about.

If "interestingness" is the bar for being a good person, then we're kind of in trouble. Bob Dylan destroying a New York Times reporter might be entertaining and a window into a fairly angry personality that has also created some great art, but that doesn't make it right. Similarly, there are definitely famous people who have been respectful of others. Art & being a jerk don't have to go hand in hand.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:32 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I blame him for the bow tie plague.
posted by jonmc at 4:49 AM on June 12, 2013


That linked interview was really interesting. He's all over the place in a "very well, then I contradict myself" way, but it's not clear at all how much of that is self-aware.

His take on fashion and luxury brands now seems to be disillusioned, especially wrt exclusivity; talking about how he's trying to break into fashion sort of on behalf of his 18 year old self and other people who are in the same position: "I need to do more. I need to be able to give people more of what they want that currently is behind a glass." And criticizing the unnamed designer by saying that the designed "doesn’t make Christmas presents, meaning that nobody was asking for his [stuff] as a Christmas present. If you don’t make Christmas presents, meaning making something that’s so emotionally connected to people, don’t talk to me."

Someone here or linked from here described Kanye's worldview as belief in artistic meritocracy: that if you make great art it will be valuable to other people and naturally end up on top. And he gets very upset when that doesn't, in his opinion, happen. Which is arrogant (why does he get to decide?) but it's not just self aggrandizing. And in that interview it seems like there's some new tension between that worldview and the reality of where he's been for the past few years, whereas the tension used to be that he was on the outside looking in, and trying to get in by making art.

In that context, Kanye comparing how he compromised on MBDTF to how even Steve Jobs had to compromise sometimes is really, really interesting, as is referring to himself as "a creative."

And then at the end of the interview:
I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump. I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z.
It seems part and parcel with how he'll naively accept cultural narratives (like high fashion and taste as part of where art goes when it's on the up), mix them with his own feelings on class and race and worth and himself, and then react honestly to what is basically cultural bs. And he does it with often fantastic music. That's part of what makes him more interesting than e.g. Saul Williams, who was linked above, and part of why I look forward to new albums from him even though there's always tension about where he's gone this time, if it'll click, and whether he's still trying to make Christmas presents.
posted by postcommunism at 5:40 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


fwiw, i went back and listened to 808s And Heartbreaks again; it ain't bad. Give it another shot.

I'm a horrible music snob at times, a bit of a purist when it comes to some things - I blame a lot of this on growing up playing upright / electric bass, and hanging out with a bunch of uppity musicians.

My first instinct was to stay far, far away from that album. I mean, seriously, autotune? Of course, I had never actually heard it - I had only heard references to it - but it seemed to defy everything that I had grown up with in terms of how I defined good music. This is also the period of time where most of my exposure to Kanye was stories of hearing how much of an ass he was.

Somehow, curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to check out the album.

It's really good - as an album, and as individual tracks. It's one of the most unique, inventive and well put together albums I've ever experienced, and promptly became one of my "top albums" of all time. It is BRILLIANT - Strong from start to finish, and unlike anything else I had ever heard.

I promptly challenged every single one of my musician friends to check it out. Those who did made similar conclusions. The only people who had anything bad to say were those who never checked it out.
posted by MysticMCJ at 5:45 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is this ths guy who ran on stage and grabbed a mike off a young girl at an awards show when she had just recieved an award? If so, then Charlemagne's comments about how awesome this guy's arrogance is should really be read in that light. He clearly thinks he is better and more important than anyone, that his views should be heard first, and has shown he is not afraid to act threateningly to a young girl by grabbing a mike off of her on national tv and pushing her to the side. Seriously, the guy is an utter fucking jerk.
posted by marienbad at 6:09 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My first instinct was to stay far, far away from that album. I mean, seriously, autotune?

The great thing about that album is how essentially the autotune is to it. If you go in hating autotune, it's hard to come out of listening to it without some respect for the its use.

Someone on Metafilter once said that Kanye used the autotune because it's "the sound of emotional alienation in the 21st century.", which is completely spot on. Honestly, after thinking about things that way, I started taking other people's use of autotune more seriously. T-Pain has some real emotional depth when you start thinking about "I'm 'n Luv (wit a Stripper)" through the lens of alienation.

Is this ths guy who ran on stage and grabbed a mike off a young girl at an awards show when she had just recieved an award? If so, then Charlemagne's comments about how awesome this guy's arrogance is should really be read in that light. He clearly thinks he is better and more important than anyone, that his views should be heard first, and has shown he is not afraid to act threateningly to a young girl by grabbing a mike off of her on national tv and pushing her to the side. Seriously, the guy is an utter fucking jerk.

There's really no way to talk about the Taylor Swift thing without talking about race, and this comment really makes that clear. Kanye West was an absolute jerk, sure, but calling it threatening? Calling a twenty year old a "young girl"?

He didn't threaten her or even really push her away, he just grabbed her mike and made an ass of himself. The fact that he, as a black man, did it to America's sweetheart, a delicate, porcelain white flower of femininity is a huge part of what is driving the outrage here, and I say that as someone who is almost certainly in the uppermost quintile of Taylor Swift fans on Metafilter.

Hell, even Ms. Swift herself wasn't outraged about it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:21 AM on June 12, 2013 [22 favorites]


With an awesome "Rock and Roll Part 2"/"The Beautiful People" shuffle beat, to boot!

I actually wrote the lyrics to "Rock N' Roll, Pt. 2."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:24 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kanye West needs to get off my damn lawn. Though I've tried, I can find absolutely nothing interesting or original about him or his recordings. The egocentric posturing and crass materialism seem standard-issue for a hip-hop performer ca. 2013, and the discussion of class, such as it is, just sucker-bait for white rock critics.

I have to admit, every time I see him talk on TV, my brain wants to go straight to one of two places: Charlie Brown's teacher (the one whose speech in the animated cartoons was rendered as a series of muted trumpet sounds that added up to "blah, blah, blah"), or that scene in "Being John Malkovich" in which, through the miracle of of CGI, every character is played by John Malkovich, and the only dialog consists of the word "Malkovich."

That wouldn't really matter if his music was any good, but his tracks sound like a gimmicky pastiche of stuff that other people have done much better. And as a contrasting data point for MysticMCJ, while I certainly do not begrudge anyone their enjoyment, I'm a musician who's heard "808s and Heartbreaks" and honestly thought it was unlistenable crap. Maybe West is this decade's version of Sean Combs: a savvy marketer who sells a lot of records but whose long-term musical influence will turn out to be negligible to non-existent.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 6:35 AM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


It takes incredible arrogance to just get up on stage, and that's any stage - even somebody performing at a local open mic is proud enough of themselves to get up and speak to a crowd. So if you've reached the point where millions of people buy your records and know your songs - WHY WOULDN'T YOU BE ARROGANT?

Okay see, you're still at the stage where you think it's utterly important that you act like the thing you want to become, and that Kanye being criticized for "arrogance" is because the dude thinks he deserves to be a mega-star. But when Obama called Kanye a "jackass", he wasn't saying "how dare you be outspoken and have opinions", he was saying: THE WORLD IS NOT ENTIRELY ABOUT YOU. There are ways of expressing your discontents with society that don't involve your completely alienating every single person that you disagree with.

Was Kanye right that Taylor didn't deserve best music video? Probably. To be honest the Single Ladies video was no great shakes; it was probably better, but it's already been pretty much forgotten. And Taylor was this budding emerging new talent whose excesses of personality ought to be considered the exact same kind of "arrogant" that Kanye is in your eyes – heaven knows she's obnoxious – except that she doesn't fit your definition of arrogance which is more about not giving a shit about other people than it is about actually thinking you're hot shit. And that's why Kanye is an arrogant jackass: it's not that he thought Taylor deserved to lose, it's that he interrupted her big moment of success, the one which the entire fucking ceremony exists for, to tell her that she was wrong to accept that award.

The sort of arrogance that denies other people is always, ALWAYS self-limiting. And Kanye realizes this, because he's not a complete idiot. There's this discrepancy between what he seemingly feels and how he puts those feelings into words—in the New York Times interview, he's talking about his own limitations, his dissatisfaction with himself, his worries that he's estranged from society in a somehow unchangeable way, except that it comes out as "GREAT ARTISTS GOTTA BE GREATER" and "I DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE I WAS NEW WAVE BUT NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE TO ME". He thinks of himself entirely as his own myth, and tries to build it outward, and there's a real humility to that kind of behavior that he isn't good at expressing because he's not entirely in control of himself, he can't turn the persona on and off, he's contained by it.

Eventually he'll either break free of that and do the whole self-actualization thing that's so popular among the kids these days, or he'll wind up repeating himself in ways that make him less interesting to everybody. For all his music's shifting on one level, it's got some characteristics that are pretty juvenile on others, and it flaws up his output. The real trick will be if he can figure out a way to outgrow himself there without losing his understanding of his own myth. It's possible, and it has happened, that an artist loses their ego and just becomes incapable of recreating their old swagger ever again.

Who's more interesting: John Lennon or Paul McCartney? Bob Dylan destroying an NY Times reporter or somebody mumbling platitudes to a Pitchfork blogger?

See, that's a trick question, because by far the most INTERESTING Beatle was George Harrison, the guy who the other Beatles patronized because he was so young, but who was doing work with Clapton on the side the whole time, and then when the band broke up he had enough music ready to release a triple album that's better than any single thing Lennon or McCartney released post-Beatles. (I say that as a HUGE Plastic Ono Band fan.)

It's also a trick question because Paul McCartney completely revolutionized the way pop productions and arrangements are handled. Listen through the Beatles' output and you'll notice that while John is always probing new ways to say tender honesties in a pop format, Paul's the guy that's always testing what the Beatles can get away with and still call themselves a pop group. Post-Beatles he continued probing the boundaries of pop-rock, to the extent that his work on Ram defined a lot of the aesthetic that indie rock continues to borrow from.

But it's ALSO a trick question because John Lennon's most famous and enduring work, Imagine, came AFTER the years of tormented arrogance. Nobody listens to the Plastic Ono Band, breakthrough as it was. They memorize the lines about God is a concept and You're all fucking peasants and move on. The Lennon people actually listen to is his later stuff, which came after he'd burnt out his youthful torments and realized that it was counterproductive to try and ram your head against the world. So even if your particular inclinations run towards Lennon, and mine do by the way, then you can't say that arrogance is what made him good. A pursuit of honesty, maybe. But you can pursue honesty in very non-arrogant ways.

Lastly, it's really fucking stupid to compare Bob Dylan in the New York Times to whoever it is interviewing themselves in Pitchfork, because the two publications are considerably different from each other. Pitchfork, for all its flaws, gives a whole lot of shits about music; their interviews involve letting musicians talk for hours and hours and then publishing their words in a format that acknowledges they're capable of forming entire paragraphs of thought at a time. They don't exist as an "everybody is stupid enough to read this simpering interview" magazine—they're there for people who can appreciate, and are interested by, subtlety in musicians' thoughts and experiences. Which not everybody is. Usually I'm not. But I'm not mad at Pitchfork for specializing in a particular kind of deep thought that's not up my alley.

And this gets at the peculiar juvenilia behind Kanye's worldview, which is that the whole "rock god rap god" thing is no longer the primary musical culture. Those crazy hipsters and their ideals of everybody working with everybody, people doing crazy projects that nobody will much care about, drawing influence from wherever without worrying much about definition, those are the people whose methods are dominating now. Even Fun., a band which I hate, has its roots in "indie rock" culture and had a breakthrough single featuring Janelle Monae, who for a long time was the hipster's Lady Gaga. You have a new generation of rappers who meet each other and collaborate over Twitter, for whom Kanye is a grumpy old man who "gets" the Internet enough to be hilarious on it but who isn't exactly a defining cultural force. I like the sound of this new stuff of his, but it's not breakthrough, it's throwback.

Ultimately, this sort of arrogance will—not die, but definitely lose its place at the forefront of musical culture. Rock n' roll may have ruined two generations of musicians, but singleminded arrogance is ultimately less productive than collaboration and humility are, so long as the ambition remains. Kendrick Lamar's debut is better than anything Kanye ever did, and it's not because Lamar is a bigger dickhead, it's because his worldview is nuanced and fascinating and he can tell a story that's not all about himself. Arrogance can be a useful tool. It can also be a horrible trap.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:41 AM on June 12, 2013 [17 favorites]


I blame him for the bow tie plague.
Dude, the Doctor Who thread is thataway.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:51 AM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


A couple of thoughts:

-I loved the performance on SNL. I haven't followed Kanye too closely for the past 5 years or so, but he just floored me with those two performances, esp. "New Slaves"

-Nothing about the Taylor Swift incident seemed threatening, it was just boorish and kind of funny. I do not think Ms. Swift is now, or was then, intimidated by men.

-Kanye can be a self-obsessed jerk, but the truth is that any artist is kind of a self-obsessed jerk. What makes an author think anyone wants to read her latest doorstop? What makes a painter think he belongs on a gallery wall? You have to have a certain arrogance, a feeling that you can do it better, to make art. I'll take Kanye any day over One Direction or any of these barking latter-day gangsters.
posted by Mister_A at 7:03 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kanye will never be a Chuck D. or Flavor Flav. I'm old school though. He's a marketable guy but I don't dig him. For the record, he was right about Taylor Swift. She's - well, she's all marketing and almost no talent.
posted by PuppyCat at 7:18 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Flavor Flav is a pretty shameless self-promoter. Chuck D. appears to be a highly principled guy. Still think I'd rather go to a party with Flavor Flav though.
posted by Mister_A at 7:49 AM on June 12, 2013


Kanye will never be a Chuck D. or Flavor Flav. I'm old school though. He's a marketable guy but I don't dig him. For the record, he was right about Taylor Swift. She's - well, she's all marketing and almost no talent.

I would take Kanye's music over Chuck D or Flavor Flav any day. IMHO, there's no comparison, he's on an altogether different plane than those guys.
posted by gkhan at 7:49 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well you have to go listen to It Takes a Nation... then. Different time, different place, one of the all-time greats.
posted by Mister_A at 7:54 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


And there has always been an element of "Fuck you, I'm getting what you always had and suddenly it's bad to have money when I have it."

I believe his mother was an academic? An English professor? He hasn't climbed from the ghetto to extreme wealth; he's made it from the middle classes.

And, seriously, Yeezus? Really?
posted by jokeefe at 8:01 AM on June 12, 2013


New York Magazine cherry-picks "The Sixteen Most Ridiculous Things Kanye Said in His New York Times Interview". Here's a selection of their selection:
"I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus."

"The longer your ‘gevity is, the more confidence you build. The idea of Kanye and vanity are like, synonymous."

"I am in the lineage of Gil Scott-Heron, great activist-type artists. But I’m also in the lineage of a Miles Davis—you know, that liked nice things also."

"I don’t know if this is statistically right, but I’m assuming I have the most Grammys of anyone my age, but I haven’t won one against a white person." *

"This one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration ... I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body."
Nevertheless, the Louis Vuitton Don will always deserve credit for being the only critic of Dubya to get under the president's skin.

* In 2006, Kanye's Late Registration beat Enimen's Encore for the Grammy category Best Rap Album.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:07 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


And that's why Kanye is an arrogant jackass: it's not that he thought Taylor deserved to lose, it's that he interrupted her big moment of success, the one which the entire fucking ceremony exists for, to tell her that she was wrong to accept that award.

Oh Christ, do people still really talk about the Taylor Swift thing? Let's get two things out of the way:

1) It is the MTV Music Video Awards - People show up drunk/high, people do stunts, there is no actual amount of prestige attached to winning a VMA. It is basically high school superlatives for celebrities.

2) Someone said it many years ago during that actual thread, but Taylor Swift did NOT produce that entire music video by herself. There was an entire creative team involved that basically gets no recognition, Swift is just the pretty face on the cover of the package. If she was truly hurt by mean ol' Kanye's interruption then she takes herself too seriously, as does everyone else who was outraged about this.
posted by windbox at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


But has that instinct led you astray? Like the Taylor Swift interruption at the MTV Video Music Awards, things like that.

It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s...

Imma let you finish but ODB had one of the best award-interruptions of all time…

Wu-Tang is for the children.

Peace.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:44 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


But when Obama called Kanye a "jackass", he wasn't saying "how dare you be outspoken and have opinions", he was saying: THE WORLD IS NOT ENTIRELY ABOUT YOU.

No, that was just Obama's Sister Souljah moment, the ritualistic denouncing of whomever is the controversial Black celebrity/artist of the day. Pure politics, no meaning.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:48 AM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would take Kanye's music over Chuck D or Flavor Flav any day. IMHO, there's no comparison, he's on an altogether different plane than those guys.

I...

wow.
posted by Hoopo at 8:54 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, that was just Obama's Sister Souljah moment, the ritualistic denouncing of whomever is the controversial Black celebrity/artist of the day. Pure politics, no meaning.

Sister Souljah made rhetorical statements following the LA riots to the effect that black people should kill white people instead of other black people, while Clinton was in the midst of his presidential campaign and Souljah was being offered the chance to speak at one of Jesse Jackson's events.

Obama was specifically asked about Kanye's jumping on stage at the MTV awards in an interview for no apparent reason.

These things are not in any way comparable.
posted by Hoopo at 9:23 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama was specifically asked about Kanye's jumping on stage at the MTV awards in an interview for no apparent reason.

Strange right? It is almost like there is a concerted effort to link Obama and whatever rapper is in the news. They must all be buddies right? He is the "hip hop president" isn't he?

Kind of like when Obama was forced to deny he had anything to do with Jay Z going to Cuba on vacation.

Jay has a song about it. And he is more likable.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:47 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Strange right? It is almost like there is a concerted effort to link Obama and whatever rapper is in the news

I agree, it is bizarre and kinda ignorant. Frankly I'm not sure how else he was supposed to answer anyway; "I loved it. Kanye and my other rapper friends should grab mics from teenaged girls more often"? The Sister Souljah thing was actually about something politically relevant and kinda serious.
posted by Hoopo at 9:56 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Mr. West has had the most sui generis hip-hop career of the last decade. No rapper has embodied hip-hop’s often contradictory impulses of narcissism and social good quite as he has, and no producer has celebrated the lush and the ornate quite as he has. He has spent most of his career in additive mode, figuring out how to make music that’s majestic and thought-provoking and grand-scaled. And he’s also widened the genre’s gates, whether for middle-class values or high-fashion and high-art dreams.

At the same time, he’s been a frequent lightning rod for controversy, a bombastic figure who can count rankling two presidents among his achievements, along with being a reliably dyspeptic presence at award shows (when he attends them).

But Mr. West is, above all, a technician, obsessed with sound, and the music of “Yeezus” — spare, direct and throbbing — is, effectively, a palate cleanser after years of overexertion, backing up lyrics that are among the most serrated and provocative of his career."

This NYT article is good!
posted by subdee at 9:58 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


And for the people pulling out the ridiculously grandiose and hallucinatory quotes, the article does mention that he's been up a couple days in the row working on the album... it makes a bit more sense when you consider he was probably too sleep-deprived to reign himself in. Luckily for the NYT reporter.
posted by subdee at 10:01 AM on June 12, 2013


This thread has an awful lot of 'I don't like Kayne because he was born in a later year than other people I already like'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:03 AM on June 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


He's rich; that doesn't mean that he hasn't experienced poverty, or that he's forgotten the massive racial wealth gap that exists in the US. This is like saying that it's odd when wealthy people are liberals; my grandparents grew up in the Great Depression and made it through, but they went through some rough times. They made a fair amount of money later on in life, but that didn't change their formative experiences.

Kanye West grew up middle class. His mother was a professor of English and the chair at Chicago State. Some of his "formative experiences" included living in China while his mother taught there.

I mean, I agree with your overall point, but assuming black = grew up poor is kinda problematic.
posted by sweetkid at 10:13 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who's more interesting: John Lennon or Paul McCartney?... Kanye acts the way you and I would act if we were that famous, if people did hang on our every word. Sure, we can pretend we'd be some saintly Springsteentonian avatar of the working class, but we'd secretly suspect we're better than other people who thousands of people don't care about.

1. McCartney. Lennon is dead, and I was never interested while he was alive.
2. You’re projecting a lot here. Kanye acts the way you would, leave me out of it. Lots of people who are at least as popular as Kanye don’t act that way, they are not all pretending. They simply aren’t like that. This is a common fallacy; "everyone would be an asshole if they could get away with it". It’s simply not true, and far less common than some people imagine.

That said, I don’t mind the arrogance, it’s funny, and it’s show biz. I think he needs a little more show to go with it though. If anything I think he’s a little restrained. Hard to believe this is considered outrageous. I don’t know much about Kanye, but based on those videos I need to check it out.
posted by bongo_x at 10:18 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can't help but feel that a lot of Kanye's socalled arrogance is made up by the media and their expectations from how a Black star has to behave and what is and isn't allowed.

Since you quoted me: the instances of arrogance and child-like acting out I am referring to are statements that came directly from Kanye's mouth. On the record. In recorded interviews. In what way is the media making that up?
posted by ladybird at 10:20 AM on June 12, 2013


I almost literally ran into Kanye West a few years ago when he was getting out of his car to go into his office on Houston Street in NYC. He stopped and we did that you go - no you go- thing and he nodded at me like, "really, YOU go."

I've decided forever that Kanye is probably a pretty OK guy in actual life based on that moment - I could be wrong but couldn't see Madonna or Lady Gaga or someone doing that. It was just like a normal New York street moment.
posted by sweetkid at 10:24 AM on June 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


Those SNL performances are great. I especially like the "New Slaves" performance, and visually, those dogs in the background of "Black Skinhead" are fuckin' scary. 808s hasn't been far from my headphones since it came out. I also like Mr. West's work on Pusha-T's 2011 Fear of God mixtape.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is the MTV Music Video Awards - People show up drunk/high, people do stunts, there is no actual amount of prestige attached to winning a VMA. It is basically high school superlatives for celebrities

Yes. You don't seem to understand that we're aware of this and the insignificance of the award makes him look worse, not better.

I'm with the "he's a jackass and his music sucks" crowd. I just don't think one has to do with the other.
posted by dobbs at 10:25 AM on June 12, 2013


This thread has an awful lot of 'I don't like Kayne because he was born in a later year than other people I already like'

Not really. There's maybe a handful in an 80+ comment thread.
posted by Hoopo at 10:31 AM on June 12, 2013


Frankly I'm not sure how else he was supposed to answer anyway

Maybe the press was hoping he would admit he was cool with it. Get that award by any means necessary. Send FEMA in for some award redistribution.

This is fundamentally a tone argument. Just be nicer Kanye, and you will get that award one day.

Kanye saw what he thought was an injustice. It isn't really about the prestige of the award. It is about how success achieved by him, Beyonce, Jay Z, and many other successful people are seen as less valid. There is always a caveat or a catch. Some way to deny them. They are assholes, they stole someone else's music, they have a fake birth certificates.

He says in New Slaves "Doing clothes you would have thought I had help But they wasn't satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself"

About accusations in the press he couldn't have designed his fashion line himself, even thought they thought the designs were terrible anyway.

So he's crap but he didn't even design it. The award was meaningless and he was a dick for doing it.

He makes numerous references in some of his rants about his pink polo shirt. He's saying at one point he tried to go along to get along, but he is done with that.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:34 AM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Speaking of musical influences, I heard about Death Grips mentioned the first time in discussions about his new stuff.

If you like the new kanye you should check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orlbo9WkZ2E
posted by ts;dr at 10:44 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


so kanye is ridiculous for saying he's never won against a white artist when he won a single award where eminem was in the category? that's splitting hairs - his point stands - except for a white rapper many years past his prime in a rap category, he hasn't won against a white artist (or, to be more specific, outside of a rap category). that's astonishing - like jaw dropping. surely he's done enough to rank next to mumford & sons and maroon 5.

people who think he's arrogant without introspection hasn't spent a lot of time listening to his tracks. i used to feel the same, but everyone kept saying he was so awesome - that he is worth all the hype - so i listened to college dropout - and i got chills a number of times. that man can tell a story. he's also more responsible for his songs than, say, lady gaga (who i also love) - that has to be worth something - few other huge artists like kanye are spending their free time in their bedrooms making beats.


a historical curiosity of a time when people venerated greed, and crassness and braggadocio trumped everything else - a cautionary tale.

kanye being a general jackass (and being portrayed as one, or goaded into one for the media) allows people ignore his points, but this is actually a really good description of his music as is - he is telling a cautionary tale about greed (like Ad hominem quotes upthread - all falls down is a great example) - but a lot of people don't want to listen to it and just quote his party music.
posted by nadawi at 10:51 AM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


If you don't want to understand Kanye you don't want to understand popular culture. He can't be compared to any contemporary musical figure - he has been the most important figure in popular culture for a decade. He's not a rapper or an intellectual or a fashion designer or a producer, he's Kanye. He's a new phenomena, his influence is incredibly wide. Dismissing him because he doesn't seem like a nice enough or clever enough guy is ignorant. It pains me to say it but if you want to be a part of the future he is someone you need to pay attention to. If you are comfortable in the past, I am sure KRS 1 is performing in a city near you.

I said the same thing about eminem - yeah he made repulsive music but if you want to understand your culture you need to empathize with the tens of millions of people who found a voice in him. We are somewhat fortunate that Kanye's music is for the most part excellent or at least expertly crafted.
posted by Teakettle at 10:54 AM on June 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


I can't wait for this -- I love how Kanye is able to shift styles between albums, and nails it every single time. This dark, angry, edgy sound was hinted at on Watch the Throne and My Dark Twisted Fantasy, and I'm excited to hear it full force in a week.
posted by Fig at 10:59 AM on June 12, 2013


I think metafilter forgot about two things.
posted by Teakettle at 11:01 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think metafilter forgot about two things.

And if they don't know, now they know.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:14 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is fundamentally a tone argument. Just be nicer Kanye, and you will get that award one day.

I'm not seeing how this is a tone argument. It was simply a dick move, just as stupid as when Motley Crue and Guns and Roses fought in the 80s at the VMAs. Kanye had 10 Grammys at the time of the Taylor Swift thing. Jay-Z had 7 Grammys. Beyonce had 10, and won "Video of the Year" --the BIG prize--in the same goddamned VMA awards show. These are all indisputably talented successful artists that are widely recognized for their talent and success. It's not about being nicer and you will get an award, it's about not being a dick.
posted by Hoopo at 11:16 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Since you quoted me: the instances of arrogance and child-like acting out I am referring to are statements that came directly from Kanye's mouth.

And how many of Kanye's interviews have you read or listened too? Or did you decide he was "acting child-like" on whatever excerpt made the news bulletin?
posted by MartinWisse at 11:23 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


how long should he expect to be flogged for that 30 seconds, though? why is it still the first thing the detractors want to say? what other jackass things are you still harping on from 2009? the man had an bottle of hennessy, has this ongoing irritation/hurt about black artists being shunted to side, not getting to mingle on the stage with the syrupy white artists, and he did a dumb thing. then he apologized for the dumb thing. and now every single interview he does outside of the rap world wants to ask him about it, wants him to apologize again (or, really, they want him to do what he did here because that makes more headlines) - it really does come off after a time like he's being asked to grovel for the rest of his life which isn't remotely in line with level of offense.
posted by nadawi at 11:25 AM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


People hate Kanye because Kanye has wounded them.
posted by Teakettle at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2013


how long should he expect to be flogged for that 30 seconds, though? why is it still the first thing the detractors want to say? what other jackass things are you still harping on from 2009?

Beats me, and I'm not harping on it for any reason other than the fact it's been brought up for discussion. I certainly didn't bring it in to the thread, and was responding to something about Obama calling him a jackass.
posted by Hoopo at 11:32 AM on June 12, 2013


i should have put that as a more general you - not you specifically - but i meant it for the thread (or the world at large) - like, how long are we going to dissect that flash of a moment and why is it the first thing people want to define him with, especially with everything he's accomplished? why is he still being asked to grovel for forgiveness over it?
posted by nadawi at 11:39 AM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kanye is a pop icon and, in the modern sense, that means he operates a lot like Damien Hirst does--with a massive entourage of staffers who do a tremendous amount of the actual work involved in the iconography. His sound, his image, his scripts, and so on, are all very large collaborations over which Kanye provides some kind of managing or editing function. I think we'd do good to keep this in mind when discussing this level of persona, because it's inaccurate to talk about the work of someone like that as an individual effort or a reflection of just that person.

Kanye has some virtuosic aspirations, and moments of touching virtuosity or getting close to it in execution, and he has a lot of talent surrounding him to draw on. That's very good for him, since stadium-scale anthems and wildly opulent stage presentations are currently huge in popular music. Take away those struts, though, and does Kanye succeed or fail? I can think of a couple of instances where he succeeds ("New Slaves" being one of them). But does that vanity game play out well without all of the mega-production, mega-presentation? Can it? I don't think so. His art relies on its scale and entourage, and that pushes his work toward that boundary of gimmickry. That's not a negative judgment, it's just recognizing that his tremendous success is intimately tied into the people he's recruited to flesh out the skeleton he provides (just like Madonna).

I'd think this also has a lot to do with how people draw a line in the sand about musicians like this. If I can't imagine being at a show where the artist doesn't cancel because of a power outage--and instead sits on the edge of the stage and sings or plays guitar solo or whatever--then I'm going to have a hard time getting past the fog machine and LED screens to listen to the music. Not everyone has the same critique about showmanship, and that's valid for both types of listener.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 11:43 AM on June 12, 2013


With a lot of artists, athletes, etc people had something against them to begin with and are just waiting for them to show their true colors. They are waiting for them to fuck up and prove that they are no good. They are branded for life. They think he didn't just do something dickish, he is a dick and always was.

I was using Award largely figuratively. I'm just talking about the constantly evolving hoops he has to jump through. Each of them of course is simply a rationalization.

Of course I'm not directing any of this towards anyone here, everyone here is great, we are all willing to at least acknowledge there is an issue even if we disagree, but society at large.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:45 AM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


And how many of Kanye's interviews have you read or listened too? Or did you decide he was "acting child-like" on whatever excerpt made the news bulletin?

MartinWisse, you are not reading my posts. I said:

Reading that linked NYT interview (one of a few West interviews I've seen - and this one was no different from the others)

So again, I ask you the question: is the media "making up" every one these interviews? Including the television interviews where I have actually, physically seen the words coming out of his mouth? Because it is on the basis of these that I make my judgment of his childishness and arrogance. It's not because of his race, it's not a media conspiracy, it's nothing but his words alone.
posted by ladybird at 11:46 AM on June 12, 2013


Oh sorry nadawi, I thought it was directed at me.

For the record, I actually like a good deal of Kanye's music. My favorites have typically been beats he's done for others, which he's been doing for quite a long time now. I tend to not like a lot of the beats that other people seem to love him for; I didn't like the "chipmunk" sound he spawned in the "through the wire" era, I didn't much care for the overblown drama of Jesus Walks and Power. And he's not my favorite rapper, but I know you could do much, much worse than Kanye's weakest rhymes. I recognize his talent as a producer and it's undeniable that he's influenced the direction of mainstream (and a lot of underground) hip hop for a long time now. But yeah, I try to tune him out when he's being interviewed because I don't like him in that context at all.

But I kinda disagree that I'm "not interested in being a part of the future" or whatever if I don't follow his Twitter or somesuch though.
posted by Hoopo at 11:51 AM on June 12, 2013


And just to head off the inevitable question: I also own three of Kanye's albums. I've given the music a chance. His persona still ruins it for me. I find him ridiculous; the epitome of trying too hard.

Don't want to turn this into a "your favorite band sucks" thread, so probably best to leave this one for the fans.
posted by ladybird at 11:51 AM on June 12, 2013


Well anyway. Maybe we should listen to some happy Kanye. GOOD Friday
posted by Ad hominem at 12:05 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, the Yeezus title is becoming incredibly appropriate.

Kanye, please save me from your followers!
posted by elsietheeel at 12:53 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


alternatively you could skip the thread.
posted by sweetkid at 12:56 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like a five-year moratorium placed on the production of new music please; I'm still working my way through interesting 16th century music!
posted by nerdler at 12:56 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this ths guy who ran on stage and grabbed a mike off a young girl at an awards show when she had just recieved an award? If so, then Charlemagne's comments about how awesome this guy's arrogance is should really be read in that light. He clearly thinks he is better and more important than anyone, that his views should be heard first, and has shown he is not afraid to act threateningly to a young girl by grabbing a mike off of her on national tv and pushing her to the side. Seriously, the guy is an utter fucking jerk.

OK. Lets put this into context. Did he get up there and say "I think this cracka over here sucks. my music is WAYYYYY better".

No. He didn't say ANYTHING like that. What he said was: "Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time". Was it smooth, was it garnering the respect of the audience, was it done at an appropriate time?

No. NOT AT ALL.

But why don't you look at the substance of his comments rather than the procedure he used to state it. Go ahead decide for yourself.


Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me" vs. Beyonce's "Single Ladies"
posted by hal_c_on at 12:58 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's really weird to get worked up on Taylor's behalf about the "I'mma let you finish" because 1) Taylor didn't really care 2) he was kind of right 3) VMAs don't really matter 4) It gave us "I'mma let you finish" the meme which is hilarious and the world is better for it.
posted by sweetkid at 1:01 PM on June 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


All I can say about Taylorgate is that my three-year-old sings "Single Ladies" to her stuffed animals. No Taylor Swift.
posted by Mister_A at 1:03 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh and also: he really did let her finish.
posted by sweetkid at 1:07 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


You guys know T Swizzle is a rap icon right? She bout that Thug Life.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:13 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Look I just don't believe the popular perception of hip hop as a music of bragadociaio first and foremost. What it is first and foremost is a music of inner thought. Its a music about what were you thinking when ... Like most people we are bigger in our own minds.

I want to make a point about crassness. This has been the same argument that has been made ever since the 20's about music made by black people. Let me be clear the vast majority of the african diaspora like music blatently about fucking and we are not ashamed. Feel free to clutch your pearls.

P.S. Let me know Do I still have space to grow. - The Most arrogant man in america Kanye West
posted by Rubbstone at 1:16 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


You guys can't tell me Kanye isn't a genius. He cast his dumbass kinda brother in law Scott Disick as Patrick Bateman in an American Psycho video.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2013


I kind of ignore his Kim thing because yes he is a genius and I don't like the weird hate of her but it doesn't seem like she'd be at his level at all.
posted by sweetkid at 1:34 PM on June 12, 2013


I love Kanye's music. The most surprising part of this article? That Kanye's studio is "a spotless white house with all the mirrors removed."

I feel like he's the kind of person who really, really likes mirrors. You know, one of those people who, if you're having a conversation with them at a diner with mirrored walls, they're looking at themselves the whole time, never glancing at you when you speak? Yeah, Kanye seems like he would be that guy.

However, I do have to say that I think his work is fabulous. If the price we have to pay for his music is living in a society with his giant ego wandering around somewhere, I'm OK with that.
posted by k8lin at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I feel badly for KK in that she's like really good at whatever drives people to look at her and seemingly kind of an idiot about everything else, and it was like Kanye was all, 'aha an accessory' and she was all magic princess ponies forever will it be, and it's pretty sad, really

Also, the Black Skinhead beat is a bit like Yung Rapunxel track A Banks put out v. recently.
posted by angrycat at 1:43 PM on June 12, 2013


If the price we have to pay for his music is living in a society with his giant ego wandering around somewhere, I'm OK with that.

He definitely has a giant ego but what I love about the anecdote I wrote upthread is that despite his giant ego he felt like I, anonymous sweetkid, should get to my destination faster than he should get to his.
posted by sweetkid at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


You are very lucky if you have never been exposed to Scott Disick. I can only describe him as a high powered concentrate of everything MetaFilter hates. He is like an ironic rich asshole. Like he drives a Lamborghini as a joke.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:47 PM on June 12, 2013


[...] Of course I'm not directing any of this towards anyone here [...]
posted by Ad hominem at 11:45 AM on June 12

...can this still be eponysterical? i giggled.

====

and real quick... there's a chance that kanye is (or at least respected by) your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. even if your favorite rapper can't be held back by millions.

or el-p.
posted by raihan_ at 1:51 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


actually, I take that back, it's nothing like Yung Rapunxel at all.

i think subconsciously i didn't want to jump into the thread with only a Kim Kardashian comment
posted by angrycat at 1:55 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't even try to reason with them, I just called the cops.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:16 PM on June 11 [4 favorites +] [!]


You might have to give up your username for that one.

I don't think anyone has linked this yet, but Kanye's short film with Spike Jones is fantastic.
We Were Once A Fairytale.
posted by St. Sorryass at 2:06 PM on June 12, 2013


just as a clarification, the all white house with no mirrors is shangri-la studios - now, he might have had mirrors that were there removed, but i don't really take rick rubin for a looking at himself all day type, so even if that's the case, i can't imagine there were a lot to begin with.
posted by nadawi at 2:07 PM on June 12, 2013


the kim k thing is interesting - by a lot of accounts it has been going on (off and on) for many, many years, throughout many public relationships for both. i don't what's going on there, but i'm actually inclined to believe it's genuine.
posted by nadawi at 2:09 PM on June 12, 2013


yea maybe she's secretly cool or something. Or maybe he likes relationships with people who aren't cool. Who knows.

It doesn't boost HIS fame at all though, only keeps her more relevant, which is interesting.
posted by sweetkid at 2:11 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


funny you should mention boosting his fame - a fan seems to have concocted a story that kanye has cheated on kk multiple times with her, saying that he was only with kk to get a bigger audience. like, yeah, kanye needs the kardashian viewership.
posted by nadawi at 2:15 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


or el-p.

Love El-P. He's usually the guy I bring up when people claim Kanye is the only guy doing anything new and different with hip hop. His last album is more of a holding pattern, but between Funcrusher Plus, Fantastic Damage and I'll Sleep When You're Dead, this guy has gone in directions Kanye never even dreamed of. Not that he'd want to necessarily; they are totally different artists doing different things and El-P is not making music many people are going to dance to or sing along with.

But he has a fan base of backpacker underground hip hop nerds. The type of people who are going to crap on Kanye and Jay-Z for the simple fact they're successful and famous and on the charts. I am not the least bit surprised he had this to say about Kanye considering the type of fans he has. People probably have said the exact words "HOW COULD YOU LIKE JAY-Z OR KANYE???" to him.
posted by Hoopo at 2:27 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


What about not saying anything at all? How about simply letting "the work" speak for itself? If it (and you) are so genre-defying and unique and amazing, you shouldn't have to tell people "I am / my work is genre-defying and unique and amazing!"

Yeah, I've always considered Andy Warhol a bit of an overrated hack, myself.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 2:32 PM on June 12, 2013


Regarding the Kanye/Taylor Swift incident, one thing that EVERYONE neglects to mention is how Beyonce did the classiest thing I have EVER seen at an Awards show.

After Beyonce won for "Video of the YEAR" later on in the evening, she got up and did her own version of "Imma let"...except this time she let Taylor Swift take the limelight and do her speech again.

And of course, classy Taylor started off with the a "maybe we can try this again" before going off on her speech. And lets not forget how many talk shows she went on to go on and on and on about how Kanye hurt her...without even mentioning how Beyonce who pretty much won the best award of the night let Taylor close off with her own speech.

Kanye=-3
Taylor=-.5
Beyonce=+10

But NOBODY remembers that, do they?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:37 PM on June 12, 2013 [10 favorites]


yeah that was pretty awesome of Bey. Like serious awesome. You're right, not talked about enough.

Although for Taylor, I give her a pass for "let's try this again" because the whole thing was awkward. I feel like she did kind of go along with the Big Deal the media made of it, but as I remember her quotes were more like "that was weird" rather than "I feared for my life" or anything.

I feel like they had a good moment sometime later down the line but I might be imagining that because I like all three of these people OK.
posted by sweetkid at 2:41 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Video of the YEAR"

The capitalization and bold, of course, are to drive home Kanye's point that this video should have won Video of All Time.
posted by Hoopo at 2:52 PM on June 12, 2013


When Kanye West first hit with The College Dropout, I was one hundred percent underwhelmed. He seemed to be getting an insane amount of critical accolade for what was as I saw it a very pedestrian sounding album with nothing terribly interesting to say. From that point forward I pretty much instantly ignored anything West released and presumed anything he was involved with was boring. This lasted all the way until My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which I finally gave in and listened to after a friends arm twisting. I am more or less a Boom Bap Devotee, don't really find a lot of interest in most all modern production, but somehow the totally fucked contradiction of the WILDLY OVEREXPOSED, given to trend riding, and yet still somehow dangerous and rebelious put the ideas of that into sound perfectly on tracks liked Power. And I was convinced he was an artist, with a capital A. This furthers that, there is a wowing, totally unlike anything he has attempted quality that in many way resembles as others have mentioned Trent Reznors early NIN performances. And while it may just be copping another style on a completely surface level, it has a magnificent impact in combination with the music which itself is so unlike anything he has done. Minimal, angry.. but not like hip-hop angry.. like the self hating black nihilism typically only seen in.. well, early n90's goth/industrial.. anyways, it's awe inspiring.
posted by mediocre at 2:57 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think metafilter forgot about two things.
And if they don't know, now they know.
Did... did... did that guy say... "Pussy gettin' wet like she walkin' through my morgue"?
posted by Flunkie at 3:15 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


swift and west had a conversation that night, then a phone call later - things seemed to be brushed over, and then when she had an album to promote she played into the story of her being a sweet, little victim to the big scary black man, and that seemed to piss him off and since then he's been saying some form of he was pressured into the apologies.
posted by nadawi at 3:19 PM on June 12, 2013


Did... did... did that guy say... "Pussy gettin' wet like she walkin' through my morgue"?

Yeah, he says safes are like mausoleum doors. So his morgue would be his room full of safes. Presumably full of cash and valuables. Although we already know he keeps his millions in the ceiling and his closets are full of choppers. Maybe he got a new place with safes and more room for choppers.

Pusha T is kind of fond of visual imagery like that, comparing his car to ice cream etc. That one maybe misses.

Speaking of Pusha T. I listened to the song Kanye mentions as his number 1 favorite song. J-Kwon Tipsy. It is like almost like the production Pharrell did for Pusha on Grindin., exept maybe more electronic sounding. So we are getting something like 2000 era Neptunes, except for the songs that sound like Beautiful People of course.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did... did... did that guy say... "Pussy gettin' wet like she walkin' through my morgue"?

Yes - Pusha-T is saying that his wall has so many safes filled with "Dead Presidents" that they are more akin to morgues. What is somewhat interesting about this line is that he says he has "Grants, Jacksons, no room for George". These are all references to the Presidents on different denominations of currency - but he doesn't mention Franklin, who appears on the 100 dollar bill. A reason for this might be found in this line from Fabolous:

They say they out for dead presidents, never respect it
First of all, Ben Franklin was never elected
That means them and big bills have never connected
They just say it cause they think it sound clever on record

The real WTF on that track is:

Strolling up the totem poll, what’s my only problem?
Scrolling through my Rolodex, who shall bear my toddler

It is very rare for a rapper to brag that there are a multitude of women eager to have his children - but Pusha is also showing his age with the reference to a Rolodex. Rappers don't use rolodexes for women anymore - take Kendrick for example:

Cycles of a starving artist tryna go beyond the margin-margin
Maintaining my modest-modest as I dream.
So while I go through all-this-all-this, bullshit what you call it
Life itself, I know it helps, let me scroll through my Blackberry

But wait, was Kendrick using a Blackberry in 2010-11 when Pussy and Patron 1.5 came out? Doubtful.
posted by Teakettle at 3:36 PM on June 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


Pusha T is at least 36. He spent "36 years doing dirt like it's earth day" so if he started doing dirt immediately he is 36. Source: Numbers on the Boards
posted by Ad hominem at 3:39 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, he says safes are like mausoleum doors. So his morgue would be his room full of safes. Presumably full of cash and valuables. Although we already know he keeps his millions in the ceiling and his closets are full of choppers. Maybe he got a new place with safes and more room for choppers.

Things we know about Pusha T's living situation:

Lots of safes, and millions in the ceiling, choppers in the closet.
Also keeps $35,000 in the top drawer of his dresser, but a throwaway phone in his sock drawer - implying that the top drawer of his dresser is not, curiously, a sock drawer.
Has missoni bedlinens and a missoni couch - however, the couch has Hermes throw pillows on it, and the bed doesn't.
His new place has better cameras than Tony Montana's
Features masonry construction (refers to himself as a bricklayer)
posted by Teakettle at 3:44 PM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


But wait, was Kendrick using a Blackberry

on Cuz My Gear Riff Raff says his adversaries call him on his blackberry.

I guess he is saying he never bothered to give them the number to his iPhone. Kendrick maybe has contacts he never transferred to his new phone.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:45 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think that anybody who is anal enough to regularly wash their rolex bracelet would keep their contacts updated but who knows.
posted by Teakettle at 3:46 PM on June 12, 2013


but a throwaway phone in his sock drawer

I bet that is Tony's phone with all the spanish speaking drug connections on it. I don't know if he should give away its location like that.

We also know he sells bricks for 23, if you agree to meet him in Baltimore. And Jay Z gets bricks for 17. I don't think Jay has a better connection than Pusha T, So it is probably making like 5k a brick. Hardly seems worth it.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:56 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay see, you're still at the stage where you think it's utterly important that you act like the thing you want to become, and that Kanye being criticized for "arrogance" is because the dude thinks he deserves to be a mega-star. But when Obama called Kanye a "jackass", he wasn't saying "how dare you be outspoken and have opinions", he was saying: THE WORLD IS NOT ENTIRELY ABOUT YOU. There are ways of expressing your discontents with society that don't involve your completely alienating every single person that you disagree with.

I disagree. We all live in our own self-created world-bubble. Kanye happens to have extended his to encompass half the world, so good on him.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:01 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



Is this ths guy who ran on stage and grabbed a mike off a young girl at an awards show when she had just recieved an award? If so, then Charlemagne's comments about how awesome this guy's arrogance is should really be read in that light. He clearly thinks he is better and more important than anyone, that his views should be heard first, and has shown he is not afraid to act threateningly to a young girl by grabbing a mike off of her on national tv and pushing her to the side. Seriously, the guy is an utter fucking jerk.


YES, because his opinion was correct. If you were on stage watching that, you were probably shouting that Taylor Swift didn't deserve to win that award. Kanye was in the audience and he stood up and said it!

I don't see any value in remaining silent if somebody is making bad art and getting rewarded for it, and I extend this to every aspect of my life. NICENESS and POLITENESS are not universal virtues.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:03 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



But it's ALSO a trick question because John Lennon's most famous and enduring work, Imagine, came AFTER the years of tormented arrogance. Nobody listens to the Plastic Ono Band, breakthrough as it was. They memorize the lines about God is a concept and You're all fucking peasants and move on. The Lennon people actually listen to is his later stuff, which came after he'd burnt out his youthful torments and realized that it was counterproductive to try and ram your head against the world. So even if your particular inclinations run towards Lennon, and mine do by the way, then you can't say that arrogance is what made him good. A pursuit of honesty, maybe. But you can pursue honesty in very non-arrogant ways.


The best song on Imagine is How Do You Sleep?, where he rips Paul a new one. What's not arrogant about that?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:04 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


on Cuz My Gear yt Riff Raff says his adversaries call him on his blackberry.

I guess he is saying he never bothered to give them the number to his iPhone


Riff Raff uses no iPhone. He answers calls on a baby panda egg full of rice.
posted by Hoopo at 4:12 PM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Versace baby rattle in his Kool-Aid pumpkin parked outside his candy mansion.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:26 PM on June 12, 2013


He's like a white Kool Keith
posted by Hoopo at 4:29 PM on June 12, 2013


> I feel badly for KK in that she's like really good at whatever drives people to look at her and seemingly kind of an idiot about everything else, and it was like Kanye was all, 'aha an accessory' and she was all magic princess ponies forever will it be, and it's pretty sad, really

I thought it was weird when they got together because he's an artist and she's more about arbitrary fame, lux goods and gaudy wealth, all things to which Kanye's been upfront about having a very fraught attraction to but which don't seem like the basis for a relationship. But then I realized I was just going off of received opinion, and that they probably have a lot in common in terms of the public eye and random disdain going their way. Really, I know nothing about her (other than that she's the richer half) and he presumably knows quite a bit. If nothing else they seem to like each other.
posted by postcommunism at 4:35 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're the black Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:36 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


They're the black Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore

Nope.
posted by sweetkid at 4:57 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Quit making it personal folks, you know better.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:16 PM on June 12, 2013


Kanye West/Wes Anderson mashup Tumblr.
posted by sweetkid at 5:20 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


My buddy just got back from the Governor's Ball and was all like, "Man, I just want to hear party music. Kanye thinks he's some Thom Yorke, and it just doesn't work."

(That actually made me more curious.)
posted by klangklangston at 5:26 PM on June 12, 2013


I dunno if we are still talking about Ye, but you might want to check out www.kanyewest.com. They have a video of Rick Rubin and Kanye at the studio mentioned in the article.

I know the term "Most high" is really common in rap, but I always thought they meant Allah. Do Christians use the term as well ?
posted by Ad hominem at 5:38 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Most high" is common in reggae too, which suggests some Christians/sects use it
posted by Hoopo at 5:43 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


christians also use "most high"

sidenote: i love rap nerds! this thread went from zzz to awesome!!!!
posted by raihan_ at 6:00 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Most high is one of the translations of an epithet of God that gets used a bit mostly in the Psalms, so it's definitely used in Christianity.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:01 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Man, I just want to hear party music. Kanye thinks he's some Thom Yorke, and it just doesn't work."

"Kanye! Play 'Creep!'"
posted by Hoopo at 6:05 PM on June 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know how he says on the other track he says Yeezus is his god name? Someone put up a god name generator on the web quick.

I'm going with Ad Hodin. Mods, can I change my name?
posted by Ad hominem at 6:16 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only if I can change mine to "most high" In other words, no.
posted by jessamyn at 6:21 PM on June 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whatevs, cooter.
posted by Mister_A at 6:58 PM on June 12, 2013


Its cool Jessamelino. I can put my god name on my profile.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:52 PM on June 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


You ever hear Kanye rap over "The Eraser"? (with pharrell and lupe, too?)

It's great.
posted by raihan_ at 11:08 PM on June 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


"But wait, was Kendrick using a Blackberry in 2010-11 when Pussy and Patron 1.5 came out? Doubtful."

It's possible, considering that he could've used one with the Boost Mobile SIM Card and that BBs have been around since the lately 90s and were prevalent in Compton* as of two-three years ago. Unless you're suggesting that he moved up to an iPhone by that time. Either is likely.
posted by raihan_ at 11:52 PM on June 12, 2013


mokin: "oddman: "So, that Skinhead track sounds an awful lot like early NiN."

That was exactly my thought when I first saw it on SNL. His performance is even evocative of Trent Reznor: the creepy videos, the black leather, gripping the mic with both hands and just being fucking intense.
"

OMG! Eargasm!
posted by Samizdata at 5:11 AM on June 13, 2013


Possible fake cd spotted. kanyetothe.com is going nuts.

I'm already sick of this album. Ready for the 25th anniversary wu tang album now.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2013


the album has leaked.
posted by nadawi at 11:31 AM on June 14, 2013


Well, uh, memail me the hulkshare yo
posted by klangklangston at 11:39 AM on June 14, 2013


Much thanks to my eye-patched, plank-walkin' homies. Problem solved.
posted by klangklangston at 12:53 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, haven't listened to it yet I am really looking forward to the Keef feature. I listened to Hate Being Sober about 20 times in a row last night. My girlfriend started delivering some kind of soliloquy on Jocob's Ladder to blot it out. She thought it was one long song and asked me "when does this song end" I just told her it never ends.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:09 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]




Album credits:

01. On Sight (Prod. Daft Punk)
02. Black Skinhead (Prod. Daft Punk, Travi$ Scott, Mike Dean)
03. I Am A God (feat. Justin Vernon) (Prod. Daft Punk, Hudson Mohawke, Kanye West, Travi$ Scott, Mike Dean, Rick Rubin)
04. New Slaves (feat. Frank Ocean) (Prod. Daft Punk, Travi$ Scott, Hudson Mohawke, Mike Dean, Kanye West)
05. Hold My Liquor (feat. Chief Keef & Justin Vernon) (Prod. Young Chop, Mike Dean, Arca, Rick Rubin)
06. I’m In It (feat. Justin Vernon) (Prod. RZA, Travi$ Scott, Mike Dean)
07. Blood On The Leaves (feat. Tony Williams) (Prod. TNGHT, Kanye West, Mike Dean)
08. Guilt Trip (feat. Kid Cudi) (Prod. Symbolyc One, Arca, Travi$ Scott, Mike Dean, Ackeejuice Rockers)
09. Send It Up (feat. King L & Iamsu) (Prod. Gesaffelstein, Arca, Daft Punk, Hudson Mohawke)
10. Bound (feat. Charlie Wilson) (Prod. Kanye West, No I.D., Symbolyc One, The Heatmakerz, Rick Rubin)
posted by porn in the woods at 1:29 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


05. Hold My Liquor (feat. Chief Keef & Justin Vernon) (Prod. Young Chop

Wow, Young Chop produced a song on a Kanye album. He is like 15. He has been on some pretty big mix tapes but this is huge. When he produced 3hunna he didn't even have a keyboard he played all the instruments on his laptop keyboard.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:51 PM on June 14, 2013


considering kanye's beginnings, it makes sense to me that he'd cast his net far and wide for producers, making sure it's not just the same names recycling the same beats.
posted by nadawi at 2:01 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


True, and now that I think about it he did produce I Don't Like on Cruel Summer, which I guess is kinda a Kanye West album.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:33 PM on June 14, 2013




Here's a link to an album stream.

Frankly, this record is fucking awesome.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:42 PM on June 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the stream.

Black Skinhead is actually pretty different vs. the SNL performance. It seems...I dunno, extra chopped up? Much more like Battles than Marilyn Manson.
posted by postcommunism at 3:03 PM on June 14, 2013


Holy shit. When you hear he is using a Strange Fruit sample and R U Ready on a track you think that could be cool I guess, but I can't even understand how something like Blood On The Leaves even happens. That song actually gives me chills.

Guilt Trip has a Blocka Sample a Chief Rocka quote and is that a Chaka Demus sample ?!?! Sounds like it has samples from Dreamweaver or some shit.

How the hell did they make Sosa sound sad and contemplative.

I guess there isn't any real show stopper rapping and it has a really really simply rhyme scheme like on the song he mentioned, Tipsy, and more recently Kanye's own verse on Don't like. More like a litany of similar sounds than a complex structure with internals and multis. It's like all modern rap that brings out the "This is crap, Immortal Technique is the GOAT" trolls.

I really like it, but then again I'm old enough to have listened to more than rap yet also don't think rap died when Biggie got shot.

I kinda think this album might convince some of the the "rap is shit compared to real music and Kanye is just a jackass" people.

Whats kinda interesting is a Kanye produced Pusha T trackWho I Am was released this week and it's I think more minimal
posted by Ad hominem at 4:46 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Can't Hold My Liquor" is awesome. It's like Future-via-Keef, Bon Iver, Ratatat and Kanye had a jam. And I normally despise Bon Iver.

I'm not gonna give any props to HudMo and Lunice, otherwise y'all will just call me a fanboy.

I'm gonna gonna continue the tradition of going to my local Best Buy and buying this on CD.

CONTROVERSIAL OPINION ALERT:
Immortal Technique is boring and pretty much the Ron Paul of rap.

posted by raihan_ at 4:54 PM on June 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Whoa wait up, Kanye uses a Blackberry too?
posted by Ad hominem at 5:21 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Second listen and now I'm almost as sad as Keef. I always thought a life of incredible wealth, threesomes and eating at french-ass restaurants would be awesome but then the waiter makes you wait for your croissants, you're still thirsty no matter how much champagne you order,you got all this coke you can't even snort and you have all these friends you can't even remember meeting. I feel like other rappers lied to me. WTF Kanye, I thought everything was cool once you got your all gold everything.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:55 PM on June 14, 2013


Also, I'm In It is the most sinister sounding sex song since Big Man With A Gun. Its like, Mystic Stylez era Three-6 Mafia doing a Prince song level disturbing.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:12 PM on June 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love it, I don't generally like Kanye, but this is his best fusion of music and lyrics to date. Very intense, very clear color and atmosphere. The lyricism has been toned down so that the music can push it around - the shift in dominance between the two elements is rarely achieved in rap music.
posted by Teakettle at 8:24 PM on June 14, 2013


So far this album is knocking me out in much the way MBDTF did (and Watch the Throne kinda didn't.) I was curious about what was sampled on it, and found this, which is pretty impressive if it's accurate. How do people even know, like, every record ever? Dang!

Though if it's not accurate, I suspect someone here will know so and shoot it down, which'd be just another reason I (sometimes) love this place!
posted by hap_hazard at 9:07 PM on June 14, 2013


Well, 10 years from now we will be vidding buzzfeed clipverts about the legendary unedited Yeezus that was mangled by Rick Rubin in order to make it more commercial on our eyephones.

There is a meme going around that I Am A God was supposed to be 8 minutes and have 3 beat changes and Rubin cruelly destroyed it.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:57 AM on June 15, 2013


threesomes and eating at french-ass restaurants

I don’t even want to know what that euphemism means.
posted by bongo_x at 9:40 AM on June 15, 2013


eating at French Ass restaurants

He actually tackles both subjects in this album.
posted by Teakettle at 10:43 AM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah he has a line "at a french ass restaurant, hurry up with my damn croissants". The guy lives in France, I doubt he goes around demanding croissants, he is trying to sound extra petulant.

Of course he also seems to agree with Danny Brown on certain issues. Seems like he will also.

I think you are right about the lyrics. Typically in rap the backing track and the lyrics don't have any special frisson. You can have a great track and great lyrics but they don't necessarily synergize. You have people freestyling over Paid In Full for 30 years. The backing tracks here make me question stated message in the lyrics.

I Am A God ends with 30 seconds off what sounds like someone running and screaming, like someone is being chased. This is like a The Thin Ice part 2 to me, a statement about hubris.

I'm In It has the least sexy instrumental ever, to me it makes the whole thing dark and brutal. What's with the typical rap pitched down evil voice. He is really pushing it with the sex/civil rights analogies. "put my fist in her like the civil rights sign" is like a literal interpretation of Lil Wayne's "beat that pussy up like emmet till" that caused so much trouble.

There are some other interesting things. He uses Blocka, a song about cocaine sales with a sample and quote from Chief Rocka. Is he recontextualizing Chief Rocka as about literal rocks, not about rocking the mic? That made me sad, Lords of the Underground are maybe my favorite group, I still play Funky Child n the jukebox when I go out.

Maybe I have Stockholm syndrome though. Im going to stop listening to it.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:08 PM on June 15, 2013




I been thinking about the lyrics and I think I know why everyone is so pissed off. There is almost no rap genius fodder on the album.

rap has always used code words. white girl, rice, ye, for cocaine. Choppers for automatic guns. It is like a constant lingo arms race. Veiled references, "subliminal" disses.

guys like riff raff parody this constantly saying stuff like "panda parmesan" means coke. Kanye actually says everything with no obfuscation.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:36 PM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Parody twitter feed: FEMINIST KANYE

It's neither very funny nor insightful, but I find that I'm glad it exists.
posted by chrchr at 9:08 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


THE REAL GOLD DIGGERS ARE THE MASCULINIST ECONOMIC STRUCTURES THAT PLACE WOMYN IN STATES OF FINANCIAL DEPENDENCY, HEAR ME?

I love that,its actually my mom's argument against marriage and pro single motherhood. Economic slavery. But of course she says that due to systematic oppression women should take money from men as often as possible.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:58 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Magna Carta Holy Grail. Look at Hova, rap game Dumbedore Rick Rubin all up in his couch with no shoes. Timberland doing some air piano blowing up his monitors. Pharrell rocking a Supreme blouse looking like he never heard a song before, that's how good this shit it. Swizz Beats just hanging out to lend moral support.

He even changed his chain, first he had his iced out Roc-A-Fella pendant, then he had his G.O.O.D Music Jesus piece on. I was waiting for the 10lb Cuban links to come out.

After Suit And Tie I wondered where he would go next, he already rapped about truffles, would he start rapping about how hard it is to crew his racing yacht or train his polo ponies? I guess we know, Hov bout those Picassos. He has this shit figured out, get Samsung to buy a million copies to give away.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:08 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


changing the run the jewels album title to "god literally made this album: quest for fire" just to compete.
el-p
posted by raihan_ at 12:30 PM on June 17, 2013 [1 favorite]




Maybe YEEZUS IS RISEN would have been better.
posted by chrchr at 8:27 PM on June 17, 2013


Just got the itunes version. That God feature on I Am A God is goat.

Mac Miller just had his album streaming on his site synced to a nature movie about a turtle. Seems like it may be gone now though.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:37 PM on June 17, 2013


Also the American Psycho video is up on kanyewest.com
posted by Ad hominem at 9:41 PM on June 17, 2013


Pitchfork review.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:06 PM on June 17, 2013


i... wow. i was defending him upthread for idealogical/personal reasons, but i've just started listening to Yeezus (it just went on Spotify) and... damn. i feel lightheaded and I can't stop grinning. this is amazing
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:48 PM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


So there is a bit of debate over Kanye and Jay's recent moves. Ye is a rebel now, out to smash corporations and stage guerrilla campaigns in the dead of night, projecting his assertion that we are the new slaves, on high end boutiques.

Hov has embraced the status quo with a vengeance. With his brain trust (no 15 year old producers for him) set out to write rules. No smashing or toppling, we need order.

Will we see an epic WTT 2 where these two seemingly opposite world-views collide?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:57 AM on June 18, 2013


A couple of listens in, I kinda wish this was trimmed down to an EP. I feel the same way about MBDTF - incredible first half, but the second half loses my interest.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:01 PM on June 18, 2013


A couple of listens in, I kinda wish this was trimmed down to an EP. I feel the same way about MBDTF - incredible first half, but the second half loses my interest.

I'm in a similar place I like "Bounce 2," but the second half is definitely weaker. The Nina Simone sample in "Blood on the Leaves" sounds good, but the song doesn't live up to the sample. It feels like there's a better song using that sample and those horns that could be made. "Guilt Trip" and "Send It Up" are fine songs, I guess, but I doubt I'll be listening to them that often.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:17 PM on June 18, 2013


kanye has been pretty vocal about his dislike of jay-z and beyonce's recent business moves. i wonder if he knew how the magna carter was going to come out and that helped fuel the on stage dissing of beyonce and pepsi. i do feel like kanye is pretty good at owning up to the fact that he sees the problems in commercialization but that he also spends astronomic amounts on status symbols. it would make sense that he extends the same understanding of the complexity to his buddy.
posted by nadawi at 12:22 PM on June 18, 2013


I love Guilt Trip and Send It Up. Bound 2 is ok, he has a kind of wry forced "playa, playa" thing going on with that ayo delivery.

Blood On the Leaves I think is Ye's reaction to what he sees as parents fucking their kids up. The Black Bodies are a generation of unwanted children.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:01 PM on June 18, 2013


Anthony Fantano says "death grips lite with lil Wayne lyrics" also sad about sad Sosa. unsubbed.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:42 PM on June 18, 2013


Big Ghost review. I'm still laughing over this review. Key phrases "sounds like art" and "I know y'all like turkey but try some mongoose" and "if you wear latex garments and are into painful sex this may be for you"

His J Cole review is hysterical. Calls him a "gumboot rapper".

That is the last big review. Pitchfork loves it, Fantano kinda hates it but that is par for the course since Fantano hates Kanye, big ghost thinks Kanye lost his mind.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:30 PM on June 18, 2013 [1 favorite]




Essential 'Yeezus' Reading List
posted by chrchr at 1:11 PM on June 19, 2013


Everything else aside, I appreciated the Bobby Boucher reference in "New Slaves."
posted by koeselitz at 4:30 PM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


since instagram now has video, can we make #madrichalert a thing?
posted by raihan_ at 9:42 PM on June 23, 2013


I've listened to it often, and now I'm taking it off Spotify for the following:

1) Sex as weapon: The most obv example is Fuck your Hamptons house/ I fucked your Hamptons spouse/ Came in her Hamptons mouth/ And her Hamptons blouse. How do I beat class/race disparities? I will fuck and degrade your wife.
2) My coming to an understanding that he is in this wounded megalomaniac mind space. I think it was hearing that he compared himself to Emmett Till after the whole Taylor Swift thing, and that makes the whole "I am a God''..."Get me my damn croissants" less funny and more like ...dude, calm down.
3) The whole vibe of "look at my Public Enemy album" w/ the early release of Black Skinhead and New Slaves and then the rest of it is like Kanye having sex and requesting sweet 'n sour sauce with his Asian pussy.

The album is interesting but it kind of feel like fast food that disguised to be healthy and you think it is and then digest it and *blergh*.
posted by angrycat at 5:25 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I agree with that characterization, angrycat. I hate to say it, but I'm listening to less and less hip hop for some of those reasons, particularly the "sex as a weapon" trope. It's like this annoying sort of... I mean, people will demonstrate some potential, and you're excited for what an album might do, and then, bam, there's that crud again. Meh. Even Kendrick "bitch don't kill my vibe" Lamar kills my vibe this way.
posted by koeselitz at 8:58 AM on June 24, 2013


Pitchfork put up a *stellar* interview w/ the contributors on Yeezus including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Hudson Mohawke, Evian Christ and Mike "MWA" Dean.

Evian Christ, re: "I'm In It":
The first time I heard it with Kanye's vocals, I had to do a double-take on a couple of the lines. But if you’re gonna do a song like that, you may as well go all the way [...] he absolutely knew what he wanted to do on that track.
Hudson Mohawke, re: the whole album:
[...]there were tons of easy slam dunks, but rather than just going for the hits and having an album that nobody's going to give a fuck about in a month or two, he intentionally sidestepped the obvious route each time.
And for something Bon Iver may NEVER say about his own music:
[...]"Boom! We just made a song, and it bangs, so fuck you."
I've tuned out a lot of what he's actually saying/singing on the record (because it's cringe-worthy!), but I can't deny how sonically awesome this record is, especially in a genre that is sometimes obsessed with looking backwards...
posted by raihan_ at 2:47 PM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ha, Hudson Mohawke was on this? No wonder I love the beats and the music. Let me just say: I adore Hudson Mohawke, and would listen to him over Kanye any day. Just this alone makes me very, very happy, and that whole Butter album from a few years ago was superb. I am really glad he's been doing that TNGHT thing with Lunice lately. Great stuff.
posted by koeselitz at 3:06 PM on June 24, 2013


Ad homin---err---I mean, Ad Hodin posted about Jay-Z's upcoming album above.

He's made the move mistake of releasing the lyrics ahead of time.

"Holy Grail" ft. Justin Timberlake

This tune (presumably) features Justin Timberlake doing an interpolation of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

Will Jay-Z be the torchbearer of "dad rap"?
posted by raihan_ at 4:30 PM on June 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nas already beat him to the punch with Life Is Good.
posted by Lorin at 7:49 PM on June 24, 2013


This album seems to be a distillation of all Western music between 1987-1992.

There are strong notes of Michael Jackson, German Industrial, '90's Rave, Public Enemy, Atari keyboard, Beatles melody and Gay disco/Freddie Mercury/Psychedelic undercurrents.

It's heavy on the synth-pop, but I really can't see any American teenagers trying to dance to this stuff. It's a slightly retro International House music.

Still, there's more MJ than Prince, here. There's also something very DIY about the whole thing. Neither Tricky nor Sonic Youth. Perhaps it's the signal-to-noise quotient.
posted by vhsiv at 3:45 PM on June 26, 2013


(After some further thought and eclectic listening, I've decided that Robert Smith ought to approach Kanye to produce his next Cure album. During the '80s, Smith was playing with lost of styles and effects. It would be an interesting collaboration, given the cross-cachet they could offer each other.)
posted by vhsiv at 7:12 AM on June 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every Yeezus sample
posted by Ad hominem at 4:57 PM on June 30, 2013


Lou Reed loves Yeezus, Especially Sad Keef

Says:

“But the guy really, really, really is talented. He’s really trying to raise the bar. No one’s near doing what he’s doing, it’s not even on the same planet.”
posted by Ad hominem at 11:14 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hold My Liquor" is just heartbreaking, and particularly coming from where it's coming from — listen to that incredibly poignant hook from a tough guy like Chief Keef, wow.  At first, West says "I can hold my liquor" and then he says "I can't hold my liquor."  This is classic — classic manic-depressive, going back and forth. Or as the great Delmore Schwartz said, "Being a manic depressive is like having brown hair."

"I'm great, I'm terrible, I'm great, I'm terrible."  That's all over this record.  And then that synthesized guitar solo on the last minute and a half of that song, he just lets it run, and it's devastating, absolutely majestic.


And

Some people ask why he's screaming on "I Am a God."  It's not like a James Brown scream — it's a real scream of terror.  It makes my hair stand on end.  He knows they could turn on him in two seconds.  By "they" I mean the public, the fickle audience.  He could kill Taylor Swift and it would all be over.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:35 AM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Course, we can discount everything Lou Reed has ever said, since he's commonly known as an asshole, he doesn't always treat interviewers with respect, and the drummer for his band joined the Tea Party. Plus I'm sure he has shocking views about women, and Venus in Furs is clearly about how he wants to beat them.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:20 PM on July 2, 2013


Why don't you just talk about the subject of the thread?
posted by jessamyn at 4:27 PM on July 2, 2013


Why don't you just talk about the subject of the thread?

sorry, I can put the reviews in the Yezus thread. There are a couple open Kanye threads at this point.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:14 PM on July 2, 2013


Speaking of morose and lugubrious Sosa, since there isn't a Sosa thread.

That dude has dropped three tracks over zaytoven beats since Yeezus. Each more ignant than the last. Way dumber than Macaroni Time. I can't make out most of the words but I swear he says something like " I drink lean and go sleepy". I know he's fucking with lean now, but is he just too wasted to rap, or is he pushing the limits of what it means to rap as some people suggest.I think he may he throwing 8s in his cup instead 4s or just straight kaviar sipping with a "scraw"

also, Lou Reed knows who Keef is? That is amazing.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:43 PM on July 2, 2013


It is heretical to suggest that Reed possesses limited knowledge.

In other Keef news, the murder rate is way down in Chicago according to reports today. Some new police gang intervention strategies are given credit, but we all know that it must be due to something Keef is doing, since he was so frequently blamed for not helping the situation. Maybe his sleepy raps are contagious.
posted by chrchr at 7:40 PM on July 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


You see Keef rolling into mcdonalds with nothing but 7k in hundreds?

I got a lot of sympathy for Keef. Kid is 17. When I was 17 I was ready to burn down society and I was in much more trouble than Keef. I was facing time for conspiracy and now at my age I know what an idiot I really was.

I think Harder than you think is about the revolution, change is harder than we think. But it will come.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:24 PM on July 2, 2013


New Chief Keef

Hobby
Round da Rosey
No Reason

Unreleased Sosa Dis Ya Song

Recent Almighty So Macaroni Time

Guwop ft. Keef, soowoo Darker
posted by Ad hominem at 11:59 PM on July 2, 2013


Magna Carta Holy Grail

Songs on YouTube

Funkmaster Flex Mix. Very Entertaining. Shouting all on top of JTs hooks.

Album is like a master class in traditional rap. There is a lot packed in there.

Versus has a battle rap flavor via callback to a sample that was on Midnight Marauders

Tom Ford has Jay doing a hook set to Bad Girls by MIA and a Houston/Lil Flip - Game Over type beat.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:44 PM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I thought the Jay-Z app was pretty weak. The persona where he is like, "I'm the new Picasso and I sleep with Beyoncé every night" has nothing interesting about it. If he says he's the new Picasso I feel like he understands neither Picasso nor Jay-Z. Further, there are a lot of places where it felt like he was trying to do trap beats and it didn't quite work for him. This is in contrast to the view that it's a return to tradition. I'm probably missing something so I will keep listening.
posted by chrchr at 10:45 PM on July 5, 2013


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