Confidence is not something Kanye West, arguably today’s most daring and innovative musical artist, has ever lacked.
Call him self-indulgent, call him completely and utterly arrogant — whatever. You’re probably not wrong. But on Yeezus, West’s newest work, narcissism has never looked (or sounded) better.
Throughout his career, West has accumulated the widest and most diverse fan base a hip-hop artist has ever seen. IPod-clad teenagers of all kinds trudge through familiar high school halls jamming out to “Jesus Walks.” Soccer moms and dads sing along with their children to “All of the Lights” on the way to little league games. Grandmothers nestle their grandchildren in their arms, softly singing “Runaway” to lull their kin to sleep.
Okay, maybe not. But regardless, it’s indisputable that Kanye West is a household name just about anywhere you turn. And he didn’t just get that way overnight.
In 2010, reviews of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy labeled West as many impressive things: genius, mastermind — you name it. Yeezus, the 10-track noise fest officially released Tuesday, has done everything to firmly reestablish the labels bestowed upon him.
Yeezus is adventurous, wild and confusing. Compared to the more straightforward picture that Dark Twisted Fantasy painted, it is an abstract, expressionistic piece that requires multiple listens, personal insight and immense imagination for a sufficient understanding.
In “New Slaves,” West hits on familiar issues like race and equality, hinting not-so-nicely that he doesn’t take orders from anyone. In “I Am a God,” an ethereal look into the spiritual world, he tells us why. He is a god, he says, and it’s his world to control. How should we feel knowing now that our fates are in the hands of Yeezus himself? Scared? Excited? It’s too hard to say.
Only one thing is for sure: If Kanye’s got ahold of the reigns, it’s going to be a crazy ride.
MOVE gives Yeezus 4.5 out of 5 stars.