A new album and a critically acclaimed one at that, has Kanye West releasing another single. 'Bound 2' is the title of the second release from Yeezus. While some fans and critics may be irked by the direction Yeezy has taken this time around, this writer believes that the Chicago born rapper is at the peak of his powers.
First of all, the music video for 'Bound 2' can be interpreted however you like. Is he trying to be an 'artist' with some avant garde type take on the industry? Or is he merely taking the piss out of the current crop of music videos on the market? The fact that his significant other is flailed out on a motorbike taking some love from Kanye is merely a bonus. Videos aside, Kanye West draws attention for his quotes and media antics in general. Fighting with paparazzi and calling himself a 'creative genius' are some of these traits. He has your attention, that's for sure, but is he a genius?
Kanye West has done what many other rappers have not and that is create six unique albums of completely different merits. College Dropout was Kanye's debut and it boasted a wealth of clever lyrics and stories about his upbringing, family values and religious views. This was very well received and Late Registration followed it up with a more progressive sound. While some folk will argue this was a case of becoming more 'pop' than 'rap', I believe Kanye's progression to be a sign of evolution in his sound. With features of Jamie Foxx, Lupe Fiasco and Adam Levine, there was certainly more commercial appeal than his debut, but it is a timeless LP in any case.
Graduation was the next step in an evident crescendo of popularity. Daft Punk, Chris Martin and John Mayer were featured on this album, to give an indication of the big named artists he drew in and it's an aspirational piece of art. The lyrics were as clever as ever, however more brash they may be at times. Kanye's ego grew with his success and fame. He knocked 50 Cent off his perch and got a voice in the media. While he didn't always say the right things ('George Bush does not like black people'), his voice was still that of a generation and millions hung on his every word, desperate for new material.
When Kanye's mother passed away after a mishap in surgery, Kanye went down a different road. As he bared his heart and soul with 808s and Heartbreak. While he previously used his success, his stories and his ego to convey his emotions through song, now he was using his sadness and evoking just how vulnerable he was. This album, is in it's own right, another piece of genius.
As time passed on, so did the events of the 808's era. Kanye moved to Hawaii in order to compose My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The album was written at a time when Yeezy looked to avoid confrontation and to stay out of the limelight (around the time of the Taylor Swift VMA fiasco). He hid away, recruited talent from all over America and wrote arguably his best album. Songs often go on longer than they should, more aggressive than they could have been and more imposing than you could imagine. Timeless, full of hits, raw passion, honesty and vunerability, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a masterpiece and will go down in rap folklore as one of the best hip-hop albums of this generation. Unsurprisingly, this effected Kanye's ego as we enter the dawn of Yeezus.
"Yeezus season approaching" introduces Kanye's sixth solo album with a bang on the track 'On Sight'. This album is another contrast to its predecessor. No two albums are alike on this journey and what we witness with Yeezus is quite possibly the beginning of a new avenue for hip-hop. Sampling DJs and boasting grotesque in-your-face lyrics. Kanye is almost a parody of himself on certain tracks. 'I Am A God' is one title which needs no explanation. It's a work of art that will divide opinion, but one way or another will impact the music industry.
While others follow the status quo, Kanye takes the back road. While some artists rest on their laurels and accept their place, Kanye turns the genre on its head and says what you cannot say. He writes honestly, in his own views and twisted mind. He crashes through bricks when he hits a wall and releases material unlike any other. Expect to see others follow this mantra of Yeezus because that's how the hip-hop game goes now. Kanye first, you next.