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3.9 out of 5 stars107
3.9 out of 5 stars
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He is as mad as a box of frogs, has an ego the size of Antartica and unites people in complimentary levels of mutual love and hatred. Not that Kanye West really cares any about this. He attracts more press than Kate Middleton and artists buzz around him to collaborate on his albums like moths to flame. West is one of the biggest "minds" in music and fundamentally the best thing to happen to rap since the Sugarhill Gang had a bright idea all those years ago to popularize an approach to music of spoken and chanted rhyming that broke the top 40 for the first time. Granted we do not need to reflect too long on his severe misfire with Jay Z on the horrible "Watch the throne". But anyone who releases an album quite as brilliant as 2010's "My dark twisted fantasy" should be cut some slack.

"Yezzus" is West again pushing the boundaries out there so far that he is the musical equivalent of Star Trek. There are more ideas in the Daft Punk assisted opening track "On sight" than most artists have in a lifetime. It is all about "attack' and its almost Prodigy like thundering ascetic makes for a storming start. Unfortunately bearing in mind the history of its lead singer the song "Black Skinhead" doesnt half sound like the Glitter Bands "Rock n Roll". Let us forgive Mr West for this and just enjoy an excellent rap with an almost Eminem assertion that "Baby, we livin' in the moment/I've been a menace for the longest/But I ain't finished, I'm devoted/And you know it, and you know it". Truth be told is pretty dark stuff and leads into a slice of pure West that will irritate, anger and annoy some of his core constituency namely the song "I am god". Frankly who knows what West is talking about here but its is hard brutal rap of mint quality with overtones so black it could appear on a Marilyn Manson album. The intensity continues on "New Slaves" a song so menacing it should be issued with an ASBO. It concludes with West and Frank Ocean's freestyle falsetto which offers respite from its brooding first minutes. Much more soulful is "Hold my liquor" a Bon Iver supported solidly wasted house ballad that would have been destined for repeated airplays if it wasn't so populated with graphic imagery. Indeed throughout West makes precious few concessions to FM radio and his previous fan base. It is clearly the case that Executive co-producer Rick Rubin has gone for an harder edge which will not appeal to some. West even has the audacity to sample the great Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" which may for some be almost sacrilegious, but "Blood on the Leaves" dealing with the pernicious impact of racism is clearly an high emotion album standout. If "Guilt Trip" sounds like the nearest thing to a single on the album the final two songs are a let down. The genuinely awful spoken rap "Send it up" registers the albums low point, its just too bare and uninteresting. While things improve slightly for the concluding "Bound 2" a bubble pop rap with a assertive Kayne West vocal, you can be assured that this will never make his Greatest Hits album.

"Yezzus" with its choppy and industrial tracks is going to try the patience of many brought up on the pure pop of "All falls down" and the sheer commercially impacting sounds of "Through the wire". In a show of pure Kanye West bravado he has given interviews about this album that almost writes off the importance of "My dark twisted fantasy" and proclaims his passion for another musical form stating that "I knew that I wanted to have a deep Chicago influence on this album, and I would listen to like, old Chicago house". Does this make "Yessus" yet another attempt by West to deconstruct previous work and release a broadly anti-commercial gambit. The answer is probably and as we know he is not short of a shilling if it doesn't sell. The point however is that it is a challenging work with depth and darkness. It shows West at his intriguing best and if it does lend itself to the accusation of being inwardly focused and introspective as one critic stated recently "his navel-gazing remains the best and most fascinating navel-gazing around"
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on 10 February 2014
The CD brings back kanye for me..really good to listen to..all tracks are brilliant...would recommend to anyone , up and onwards
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on 21 May 2014
Probably my favourite out of all of Kanye's album. Very raw and so much originality and variety in his tracks.
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on 15 July 2014
YEEZUS IS F*CKING AMAZIN!
When I first started listening to it, I felt like I was getting possessed by it, the music has such an strong dark power, it feels perfect to listen with headphones, earphones or even with an stereo(what did) and I shook my house! loud and perfect, this album is great like all of Kanye's
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on 20 December 2013
...and it works. To be fair, with the production talent employed on this album, it'd be harder to create something truly awful, but credit to Kanye for acquiring all their talents and channeling them into a mostly cohesive whole. Arca, Gesaffelstein, Daft Punk, Hudson Mohawke, Evian Christ, Brodisnki, and list goes on.

The way some people react to this music you'd expect it to be some harsh, impenetrable Death Grips-cum-Einsturzende Neubauten meets Merzbow. Instead it's more of a slightly industrial sounding stripped back electro, interspersed with some great samples, a few emotional crescendos and layered with West's quite basic and almost naive (as if adhering to the mantra of the first idea is the always best) rapping. Although in some ways underproduced, it is clearly very well produced in terms of achieving a set goal. Hi-fidelity and crisp sounding with enough roughness and heaviness to maintain the dark tone to the album. When I first heard 'Send It Up' on the radio that surreal synth that sounds somewhere between a police siren and a balloon being deflated, all coming from the far end of a long, high rise hallway, that's really what made me check out the album.

The use of samples though is so deliberately heavy-handed and awkward it only serves to make them more powerful. The Omega sample at the end of 'New Slaves' slaps you right in the face after 3 minutes of static, repetitive beats. The strained, up-pitched Nina Simone vocals on 'Blood on the Leaves' provide the focal point to the track. Bound 2 being a great example of unbelievably effective ultra-simplicity. It's just that refrain of the Ponderosa Twins Plus One looped ad nauseum with bursts of Charlie Wilson and co's soul warbling over a sub bass sawtooth, and that 'Uh-huh, honey'. 3 components (minus the rapping) and it's probably my favourite track on here. I'd like to hear that Charlie Wilson tidbit extrapolated into a full song though.

People will notice I've hardly mentioned a major thing for most hip hop fans. The rapping. That's likely because I'm not a proper hip hop fan. In general, no matter what the genre, I don't take much notice of the lyrics. I'm a music fan, not a poetry aficionado. Normally, it's the vocal delivery that really matters to me. With rapping, that delivery is clearly more monotonous and therefore less interesting. That (as well as the fact I prefer dancier beats) is what keeps from enjoying more hip hop. However, on this album, the rapping isn't overbearing enough to annoy me (I like autotune when used as an effect as well), and when it does catch my attention it can be quite funny in it's naffness ('eating Asian p****, all I need is sweet and sour sauce').

So as someone who has never before been intrigued by anything I've heard from Kanye West, I can say that this album is very successful in progressing his sound to a territory that's more concerned with the sound in toto, than just the rhymes/lyrics.

I certainly wouldn't pick it as a highlight of the year, but I think it deserves the plaudits it's gotten in the music press, just for the sheer fact that a highly commercially successful artist has took a chance and done something a bit different, at the risk of alienating his existing fan base. It isn't exactly as antagonistic as Metal Machine Music but it's enough to get it's critics saying similar things about it.

If you want to hear some truly abstract beats check out Arca's &&&&& mixtape.
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on 30 December 2015
First Kanye CD I ever bought. Some - a lot of - utterly brilliant tracks on this. Then tried a bunch of his other CDs and found a lot of utterly dead loss tracks on too many of them. If you want an introduction to Kanye West - try this - ideally on your own in the car. Loud.
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on 13 September 2014
rough raw minimal kanye at his best!!!!!
a step in a new direction but refreshes the parts other beers don't reach as we used to say
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on 19 January 2016
I have managed to stay largely unaware of KW apart from the Glastonbury debacle, thinking he was some sort of media darling with no talent.
Listened to this after being told by my teenage son this was not the case and was totally blown away by it. imho there is only one track on the album that in't exceptionally strong (New Slaves) - the musicianship and power is astonishing.
I have since tried the more recommended 'try this first' albums by Kanye, and found them far more of a slow burn.
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on 9 August 2014
It arrived on time and was what my granddaughter wanted. Thank you. (First one got mysteriously lost in transit!)
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on 1 August 2014
Say what you like about the man but he still knows how to make a damn good album
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