Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ delivers adventurous mix of genres | Inquirer Entertainment

Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ delivers adventurous mix of genres

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 09:49 PM July 05, 2013

WEST. Irresistible hybrids in his 40-minute musical experiment.

It’s hard to ignore Kanye West’s spur-of-the-moment antics—whether he’s displeased at Taylor Swift for winning over Beyoncé at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, or when he’s venting his displeasure over the US government’s perceived lackadaisical rehabilitation efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, by calling then US president George W. Bush a racist.

The 36-year-old hip-hop luminary has since apologized for his outrageous (and very public) outbursts—though, last month, in a New York Times interview to promote “Yeezus,” his sixth solo album, he surprisingly rescinded his apology to Swift! But, that’s West for you—he’s as unpredictable as his music. (His latest recording was released three days after his girlfriend, Kim Kardashian, gave birth to their daughter, christened North West—what a name!)


“Yeezus,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last week, puts West’s frustrations and personal issues in a provocative musical context by utilizing a mishmash of elements that initially seem too disparate for his abrasive style.


He allows a lot of cooks to prepare his musical brew, but his vision makes the layered elements coalesce into an irresistible pop concoction.

Take “Blood On The Leaves.” The audacious track ingeniously samples Nina Simone’s 1965 cover of Billie Holiday’s 1939 anti-racism tune, “Strange Fruit” (against the lynching of African-Americans in the heyday of the civil rights movement), as West looks back at a failed relationship that he had to purportedly give up, in favor of the music industry that needed him more. Ahem.

He gets to go on an antiestablishment rant in the thumping “Black Skinhead,” then rages against discrimination in his potent, genre-bending collaboration with Frank Ocean, “New Slaves”—which has just been declared by Time magazine as the “best song so far this year.”

West’s bravado and braggadocio are even more in-your-face in his collaboration with Daft Punk, “I Am A God,” which he wrote after receiving a strange invitation from an eagerly anticipated runway show in France last year—on the condition that he didn’t attend any other shows during Paris Fashion Week!

He explained to W magazine: “I am the No. 1 living and breathing rock star—I am Axl Rose, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. For them to think that they could tell me where I could and couldn’t go isn’t just ludicrous—it’s blasphemous!” The song finds Kanye comparing himself to Michael Jackson, and referencing Christ: “Jesus said, ‘What’s up, Yeezus?’/ I said, ‘I’m trying to stack these millions’/ I know He is the most high/ But, I am a close high!”

WOLFGANG. Invigorating burst of energy.

If you crave for the singer’s soulful musings in “All Falls Down” and “Through The Wire” (from 2004’s “The College Dropout”) or “Devil in a New Dress” (from 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”), “Bound 2” is vintage Kanye. In it, he raps through Charlie Wilson’s soul-tinged hooks, garnished with samples from the Ponderosa Twins Plus One’s “Bound,” Wee’s “Aeroplane” and Brenda Lee’s “Sweet Nothin’s.”


For the most part, however, “Yeezus” is a 40-minute musical experiment that is driven by polarizing tweaks on West’s hip-hop sensibility: Its dark tone is a hybrid of Auto-tune-fueled electronica, industrial rock, rap, punk—and gorgeous interpolations of judiciously chosen samples, including Kenny Lattimore’s “Lately” (“I’m In It”),  Beenie Man’s “Memories” (“Send It Up”), and the Hungarian rock band Omega’s “Gyöngyhajú lány” (“New Slaves”).


The local band scene is getting an invigorating burst of energy from the country’s premier rock band, Wolfgang.

The quartet behind “Halik Ni Hudas,” “Sanctified,” “Natutulog Kong Mundo” and “Atomica” is as exciting as ever as it adds four riveting tunes to its discography via its latest EP, “Ang Bagong Dugo Sa Lumang Ugat: Unang Kabanata”—the first of a planned trilogy.

The followers of vocalist Basti Artadi, guitarist Manuel Legarda, bass guitarist Mon Legaspi and drummer Francis Aquino can sing along and groove to “Kandila,” “Sandata,” “Bulag” and the irresistible title track.

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Artadi rocks each tune as he growls and howls over their edgy and sludgy smolder: “Gamit ang iyong isip at diwa/ (Pati) bisig at kaluluwa/ Buhay mo man ang himig natin/ Nakangiti mong ihahain!”

TAGS: Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Music, Wolfgang

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