Review Roundup: Kanye West – ‘Yeezus’

Yeezus

Yeezy season is officially upon us. Kim Kardashian gave birth to the couple’s daughter over the weekend, and now Kanye West delivers his highly-anticipated sixth album Yeezus.

The new father crafts his most dark, audacious, and brash album yet. The 10 tracks feature production from Rick Rubin, Daft Punk, and Hudson Mohawke, with appearances by Chief Keef, Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson, and even God.

The music mastermind has complained that despite his 21 Grammys, he has never won Album of the Year. Will Yeezus be the album to change that?

Find out what the critics are saying.

Rolling Stone: Yeezus is the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up, an extravagantly abrasive album full of grinding electro, pummeling minimalist hip-hop, drone-y wooz and industrial gear-grind. Every mad genius has to make a record like this at least once in his career. 4.5/5

Los Angeles Times: Yeezus is the most musically adventurous album West has ever released, a wildly experimental work that features tracks produced by Daft Punk, Hudson Mohawke, Rick Rubin, and others. It’s also West’s most narcissistic, defiant, abrasive and unforgiving. 3.5/4

USA Today: Yeezus is as dark and abrasive as the first two songs he put out, “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead,” promised. It’s also as daring and infectious as anything he’s done, and demands to be heard with speakers on blast. 4/4

New York Times: Mr. West has demolished the production style that made him a major commercial force as both producer and rapper. The pop-friendly snippets that Mr. West used to sample and turn into hooks, and the smoothly swelling, richly orchestrated, proudly eclectic productions he often built around them, have been drastically cut back.

The Washington Post: Despite a handful of arresting quirks and kinks, the lyrics on Yeezus are West’s least refined and probably his least compelling. But they don’t feel lazy so much as drunk on bitterness.

Entertainment Weekly: West’s sixth solo effort plunges directly into the darker crevices of his psyche. In some ways it’s a 180 on 808s: Where that album was, on the surface, his softest and most vulnerable, Yeezus comes off as his hardest—designed, as the man himself says on “Black Skinhead,” to “f— up your whole afternoon.” Believe it or not, that’s just ‘Ye being modest: This album has the potential to mess with your whole year. A-

Pitchfork: He trades out smooth soul and anthemic choruses for jarring electro, acid house, and industrial grind while delivering some of his most lewd and heart-crushing tales yet. This is willful provocation that Ice Cube, Madonna, and Trent Reznor could all be proud of. 9.5/10

The Guardian: Noisy, gripping, maddening, potent, audibly the product of, as he put it “giving no fucks at all,” Yeezus is the sound of a man just doing his job properly. 4/5

SPIN: Yeezus ranks as more than a glorified placeholder in West’s catalogue, but one can’t help feeling that parenthood will compel his muse to even more Olympian levels of bombast and grandiosity. 8/10

NPR: Yeezus was meant to be an event, and it’s served that mission quite well. But it also feels like a single chess move—a crafty gambit on Kanye’s part to keep us guessing as to what he’ll do next.

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Black Skinhead,” “New Slaves,” “Blood on the Leaves,” “Bound 2″



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74 Comments

  1. Grant

    It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, that’s for sure. I couldn’t listen to it everyday.

    [Reply]

    iL0vee__ Reply:

    @Grant, Hip-hop is truly dead ….
    I’m very disappointed that the critics gave this album a good review, proving that they didn’t even listen to the album and just because hes a well known rapper they will automatically kiss his ass…
    Rolling Stones is garbage and nothing more
    J.Cole had a way better album (full of message && Storytelling [which is what Hip-Hop is])
    Rate : 3.5/5

    [Reply]

    One Reply:

    @iL0vee__, Kanyes album was full of message & storytelling tho -_-

    [Reply]

    iL0vee__ Reply:

    @One, People are mostly likely to relate to J.Cole’s album than yessus … he takes himself too serious

    [Reply]

    Mr. Fye Reply:

    @iL0vee__, Everybody knows he’s a Jackass tho….. A lot of people can relate to the things Kanye expresses in his album like a painful break-up (Blood on The Leaves), realizing the worlds real agenda (New Slaves), Falling back in love (Bound 2), or that “im the shit” feeling we all get sometimes (I Am A God).

    Both albums are great and are true examples of the growth Hip-Hop has taken through the years. So what your not going to do is give a excuse of how he takes himself too serious. DUHHH he’s Kanye West.

    [Reply]

    T Reply:

    @iL0vee__, Hip-Hop is dead?? -__- the structure of the album is hip hop in regards to sampling, flow, story etc. Hip Hop didnt start in 92 with 808s, b-boys and Tupac.

    Hip Hop (ESPECIALLY CHICAGO BASED) HAS its roots in house, disco, and even some rock. Keep in mind a core aspect of hip hop is sampling and constructing music with other genres sounds.

    GTFOH w that Hip Hop is dead shit. No one artist or album is powerful enough to kill hip hop. Idiots like you always tryna play gatekeeper when hip hop is older then you. CAYOA$$

    [Reply]

  2. Dre

    An for the people that said this album was trash , this album is fuck amazing

    [Reply]

    Frankie Reply:

    @Dre, Your opinion.

    [Reply]

    Abdullah Reply:

    @Dre, Totally agree with u

    [Reply]

    Jackie Rayne Reply:

    @Dre, I wouldn’t say it’s “fuck amazing” but it’s decent. I won’t listen to it everyday, I’m happy he is deep but dude is still too deep for what the world needs to see. People got real bills and their own lives to live at a lower income. Why give a fuck about a grown ass man calling himself “yeezus”? Have several Kanye West

    [Reply]

    One Reply:

    @Jackie Rayne, good point but he has said several times that not everyone has to get what he is trying to do, the people who understand it appreciate the art and believe its amazing.

    [Reply]

  3. King C

    Amazing Album. Well worth it.

    [Reply]

    damien Reply:

    @King C, no its not.

    [Reply]

    Truth Reply:

    @damien, Well according to every single review and critic it is. Therefor your opinion is invalid.

    [Reply]

    Chauncey Reply:

    @Truth, Incorrect. Critics have their opinions as well. Nothing more.

    [Reply]

    T Reply:

    @Chauncey, TRUTH.

    [Reply]

  4. Kanye West's 'Yeezus': What the Critics Are Saying – Hollywood Reporter | Fox Global News

    [...] Leader for a Morally-Ambiguous GenerationHuffington PostKanye West — YeezusOklahoma GazetteReview Roundup: Kanye West – 'Yeezus'Rap-Up.comSan Antonio Current -HitFix (blog) -Slate Magazineall 465 news [...]

  5. James L

    All of these reviewers are pathetic. Its a matter of opinion but they rate an album on the name on the front, trying to overcomplicate how good an album is by a theme or ridiculous language to make them seem good at what they do.

    Everyone knows the album isn’t in Kanye’s top 3 and it wouldn’t sell at all if it wasn’t someone as popular as him.

    [Reply]

    Wow Reply:

    @James L, pretty much. I knew it wouldn’t be that good because leading up to the release, all of the verses he’s done weren’t on par IMO. He was outshined on Cruel Summer and his two tracks he released last summer were just ok. Lyrically this falls flat. The production is impressive at times but for the most part it’s just a bunch of noise. Cole has my vote.

    [Reply]

  6. Kanye West's 'Yeezus': What the Critics Are Saying – Hollywood Reporter | News & Finance

    [...] Leader for a Morally-Ambiguous GenerationHuffington PostKanye West — YeezusOklahoma GazetteReview Roundup: Kanye West – 'Yeezus'Rap-Up.comSan Antonio Current -HitFix (blog) -Slate Magazineall 465 news [...]

  7. x

    crap

    [Reply]

  8. C94B

    Objectively, Yeezus sounded sophisticated & expert. Of course the hype machines like Pitchfork or Rolling Stone will sanction Yeezus and call it “breathtakingly refreshing”, “barrier-breaking”, a “work of art” among others.

    As for me, a simple listener & huge Kanye West fan, I didn’t enjoy listening to it. I’ll be honest, I tried my best to love it. I listened to it at least 30 or 40 times. But the stripped-down, raw, saturated, synth-heavy sound of this project is too much for me. Not smooth enough to me, I guess.

    I can’t say that it’s Kanye’s weakest project because you can definitely tell that it was expertly crafted and I’m sure not everybody would be able to duplicate it. But is it the least enjoyable Kanye album ever ? To me yes. I’ll give it 6/10. It may grow on me later, but though I hate that nostalgic feeling that’s so present in music today, for now I will stick with his past albums.

    Peace

    [Reply]

    ari Reply:

    @C94B, 30-40 times????bless u lol

    [Reply]

    NWTS Reply:

    @C94B, how are you goin to listen to it 30-40 times. You’re an idiot

    [Reply]

    C94B Reply:

    @NWTS,

    An idiot for not relying on a first listen to make up my mind about it, especially in a type of music as rich as is Kanye’s ? Fool.

    [Reply]

    Yeezy Reply:

    @C94B, hit the nail on the head. This is my least favorite kanye album

    [Reply]

  9. BEDSTUYFLY

    IT’S ART.

    [Reply]

  10. yorled

    fart and piss that’s what i think about this album.

    [Reply]

    Wow Reply:

    @yorled, I cackled at this.

    [Reply]

  11. MelissaF

    Ciara’s album is leaking track by track.

    [Reply]

  12. E

    i dig it…Ye’s just being himself

    [Reply]

  13. Miszi

    I knew it would be hard to make something as good as MBDTF but the album sounds like he didn’t even try. The themes on the album are often offensive and the writing is poor for Kanye West standards (there is still some brilliance here and there though). What this album misses the most though is melody. With that being said – I like “Guilt Trip” (could very well have been on 808′s & Heartbreak), “Blood on the leaves” (though the molly theme is stupid and artists should stop talking about it) and “Hold My Liquor”. Hopefully the next album will not be dissapointing. I have enjoyed all of the previous ones. I also understand there are different tastes but I think the critical acclaim is just ridiculous. Different doesn’t always mean genius.

    [Reply]

    One Reply:

    @Miszi, When you listen to a new album, especially a Kanye album i suggest you try not to compare his previous albums because you have had more time to listen to those albums, his last album was 3 years ago and we got to analyze it for those 3 years. I think you should give it atleast 3 months to compare and then you will know how good it is compared to his previous work.

    [Reply]

    Miszi Reply:

    @One, Well sure, I agree with what you have said here. Not only for Kanye but for any artist out there. It’s quite unfair to judge an album right after it comes out however what I wrote in my previous comment is simply how I feel about the album right now. I loved My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on the first listen, liked all other albums by him on the first listen as well. So to all things considered – I highly doubt I will like it in future. I care about the lyrics quite a lot to be honest (That’s why I love Kid Cudi for example) but the lyrics on Yeezus are far worse than on previous albums and not even that – they are offensive.

    [Reply]

  14. Realistically

    Hip-hop is so void of creativity that anything that seems remotely “different” is heralded as “genius.”

    Explain to me how, “… 300 b*tches, where’s the Trojans?” is genius? Rock and hip-hop have crossed paths numerous times before, why is this any different? I listened to the whole album, and didn’t really get anything out of it … with the exception of “New Slaves.” That song had something of a message, exploiting black people and their materialism, leaving them in new shackles – but it’s funny because in the next breath, ‘Ye is bragging about something else again.

    But whatever. Y’all can have this one.

    [Reply]

    Wow Reply:

    @Realistically, at the end of the day I suppose it doesn’t really matter what critics say, it’s what consumers say that matters most. Let’s see if those premature projections actually match up with the actual sales.

    [Reply]

    MonkeyMan Reply:

    @Realistically, Agree with you. The sad reality is Ye isn’t as good as he used to be lyrically. New slaves is a dope track with a message. The rest are nonsense! Cant compete with MBTDF or even Graduation. even 808 had more profound meaning as a whole.

    [Reply]

  15. Wow

    It’s really not that good….these reviews are really reaching. Yeezus isn’t whack by any means but it’s a disappointment for sure. It pales in comparison to his last effort.

    [Reply]

  16. Brasko801

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I can respect that. With that said, I think this album is terrible his last good solo album was graduation, he is slowly getting worse and worse. I’ve never been a huge j cole fan either but after listening to both albums, Coles seems hip hop wests sounds more rock/rap! I hope jays album is better since he also had Rick rubin help with production

    [Reply]

    bigman Reply:

    @Brasko801, no but i love you for saying that you said that exact words what i tell everyone about kanye west

    [Reply]

  17. Glen J

    Just because it’s Kanye these reviews are up his ass. This album isn’t even good, he’s had better albums – College Dropout, Graduation and hell even 808s and Heartbreak – which influenced so many rappers. This is rubbish.

    [Reply]

    One Reply:

    @Glen J, It is not because of the name Pitchfork gave Jay-Z a 4.5 for Blueprint 3, so it has completely nothing to do with the name, these are professional music listeners and reviewers, they studied this shit to get to a high position of reviewing professional music albums. Your assumptions are false.

    [Reply]

    bigman Reply:

    @One, actually you’re wrong the critics doesn’t jack shit even though jay z blueprint 3 was decent still

    [Reply]

  18. Lisa

    I get what The Washington Post was trying to get at, but I’m not sure if I agree with it… Good to read such positive reviews on an album that I like. A lot of people seem to dislike it, which is understandable. It has a sound that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s not the type of music that you would ride to with the top down in the scorching heat with your friends. It sure is an album worth purchasing, though.

    [Reply]

  19. stunna

    This album is honestly trash. The beats are sick but his lyrics suck. The reason it’s not good is because the material he’s rapping about nobody can realte to, becuase no one is that big of a douche bag. If this exact same album came out by someone else instead of Kanye no one would buy it.

    [Reply]

  20. jay

    Album is WACK. 1-2 songs stand out other than that pffffttt i understand push’n the envelope but this wasn’t it kid.

    [Reply]

  21. Rap-Up.com || Review Roundup: J. Cole – ‘Born Sinner’

    [...] « Review Roundup: Kanye West – ‘Yeezus’ [...]

  22. TRA

    I believe that Kanye West’s Yeezus album is one of the best albums of 2013, and arguably the best album of 2013 right now. Before I heard every track on the album, I already knew that the album was going to be completely different from Kanye West’s other great albums like The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, 808s and Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and Watch The Throne. I completely disagree with people saying Kanye West fell off after he made The G.O.O.D. Music-Cruel Summer compilation album. The G.O.O.D. Music-Cruel Summer compilation album was a album for the G.O.O.D. Music artists to show their talents, it wasn’t a Kanye West solo album.

    I will admit that Kanye West’s Yeezus album is not better than The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I believe Kanye West’s Yeezus album is better than 808s and Heartbreak, and the G.O.O.D. Music-Cruel Summer compilation album. Kanye West’s Yeezus album is a alternative rap/hip-hop/industrial rock/electronica/pop/trap/acid house/rock-n-roll album. This album wasn’t meant to only please mainstream hip hop fans and underground hip hop fans. This album was meant to please all music fans of different genres. Kanye West’s Yeezus album currently has a 86 percent on Metacritic which indicates great critical acclaim, and is getting universal acclaim right now. Kanye West’s Yeezus album is projected to sell close to 500,000 copies in its first week out, which means it could go certified gold. Just because the music critics gave Kanye West’s Yeezus album great critical reviews, doesn’t always mean that the music critics are kissing Kanye West’s ass. In order to listen to a album like this, you have to expect the unexpected. There is nothing wrong with music critics disagreeing with hip hop fans about this album. Everybody has a right to have their own opinion. Music will always be both subjective and objective, you have to have a open mind when listening to all music.

    [Reply]

    damien Reply:

    @TRA, just NO! Yelling I’m a God does not make an album

    [Reply]

    TRA Reply:

    @damien, I respect your opinion, but I still believe that Kanye West’s Yeezus album is one of the best albums of 2013.

    [Reply]

  23. joe

    This is just raw Kanye music. He doesn’t give a f*ck what people want to hear. It’s raw and emotional and just basic instincts talking. Definitely the best album of 2013 so far.

    [Reply]

  24. MH

    I’m not gonna lie, I was afraid I wasn’t gonna like this album but it’s really good. Not my favorite by Kanye and I don’t even deem it a classic but I feel like this is another 808s and Heartbreak, meaning we won’t truly know how much influence the album will have over the hip hop industry until a few years from now. This album isn’t for people who only liked the College Dropout and Late Registration. I applaud Kanye for constantly pushing hip hop’s boundaries.

    [Reply]

  25. bigman

    hip hop is going to be totally fucked in a few years

    [Reply]

  26. Righteous

    He owes a debt to Saul Williams,basically appropriated his style …..but that’s nothing new. Black skinhead is a great track rips off the Glitter band nicely. The “hello honey sample on bound 2 does not work…..at all! And how the fcuk can he chastise people for designer materialism when he designs sandals priced at $2,300?

    [Reply]

  27. pete

    Magna Carta Holy Grail

    [Reply]

  28. NWTS

    J Coles album was okay. After power trip I expected more but really?! A song about his teeth and eyebrows and how he let his mentor Nas down. No wonder he’s saying hip hop is dead. Kanye didn’t do that much better. Back to autotune but I liked more song on it.

    Best songs on Born Sinner: power trip and real n***as.

    Best songs on Yeezus: blood on the leaves, bound 2, black skinhead and new slaves

    [Reply]

  29. NWTS

    We have Wale up next along with Jay-z and drake and eminem coming. Jay-Z is going to kill. Not a huge fan but after I saw the Samsung commercial… I’m looking forward to it. All the beats were amazing. Then we have Em. He vented on recovery so I’m expecting a slim shady awakening. Wale’s album is goin to be better than J Coles I feel. I like Wale but we’ll see. So that leave Drake. Already coming off winning a grammy for best Rap Album. Take Care going 2x platinum and SFTB goin platinum Nothing Was The Same just might take care of the competition.

    [Reply]

  30. jimscreechie

    I’m a Yeezy fan but I can’t get with this album, I’ll see him on the next one.

    [Reply]

    dreincharacter Reply:

    @jimscreechie, agreed. Love the passion, But I’m not listening to this everyday.

    Great to experiment and it’s great to see him grow and express himself but this album is missing that soulful vibe that keeps my ears erect for hours.

    [Reply]

  31. Reviews on Yeezus ( Kanye West ) Vs Born Sinner ( J-Cole ) | Fly To Cloud City

    [...] and industrial gear-grind. Every mad genius has to make a record like this at least once in his career. [...]

  32. Yeezy

    I’m a huge kanye fan, but I was disappointed with this album, I felt like it was rushed. Rick rubin said kanye did 5 songs in one day, 2 days before the album was due. Lyrically, this album was Kanye’s worst. He’s lost touch with the people. I blame it on Kim kardashian..lol

    [Reply]

  33. KOBE

    Amazing album. Some people just don’t like it because its not “HIP HOP” enough for them.. But this is what hip hop should be. Innovation. Lets not forget some of the early hip hop artists had a similar rock n roll feel to their music as, which was and still is considered HIP HOP.

    [Reply]

  34. carlos

    i love every track except for the chief keef song i havent got into it yet and not sure he used chief keef in the right way and guilt trip with kid cudi i havent got into that yet either
    I LOVE KING LOUIE ON “SEND IT UP”

    [Reply]

  35. rill

    Some people just won;\’t get it and that’s cool have your opinion, but Mr. West is an artist and not everybody is going to like every picture he paints. For me I love it this is probably the hardest I rocked with Yeezy since Graduation. I’m amazed at some of the sample he used there really clever and nostalgic especially the Brenda Lee lee uh huh honey I freakin love that. if you don’t like the album that’s cool don’t call it trash though who else could do this and pull it off effectively

    [Reply]

  36. JiMmY

    I get the artistic expression, but lets get real. Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, was able to be artistic yet produce one of the best Hip Hop albums in some time. That was a classic, and you knew it right away. Trying to see if an album grows on you is like being with someone and hoping you eventually learn to like them… ain’t going to happen. Again, it’s an interesting experiment, but the radio wont play it and it’s not going to last… and that’s just keeping it real.

    [Reply]

  37. gagorder

    i think the fact that he is “kanye west” makes people become more critical than normal. but i think in a general point of view, this album is still better than the average album. not a classic, but not garbage. Above average maybe. but using kanye’s own standards, this joint’s disappointing. but i get the whole trying to be different. it’s just that it doesnt always pay off. it’s still good. and no way it’s worse than jcole’s.

    and btw, the album title ‘yeezus’ and the album art doesnt really match for me.

    [Reply]

  38. soulwoman

    Sorry Kanye, “You’re just talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing” (James Brown)

    [Reply]

  39. Mau

    I don’t need to listen to J. Cole’s album again, if I want something similar and better I can listen to Kanye’s older albums.

    But if I want something like Yeezus… well, there’s nothing else

    [Reply]

  40. Anonymous

    I feel sorry for the future of rap.. This album just shows how done we are… Lord give me a sign!!

    [Reply]

  41. Rap-Up.com || Album Sales Predictions: Kanye West, J. Cole, Mac Miller, & Kelly Rowland

    [...] biggest showdown is between Kanye and Cole. According to HITS Daily Double, Kanye’s Yeezus is on track to outsell Cole’s Born Sinner with 375-400k, while Cole’s sophomore set is [...]

  42. KayKay

    I cannot respect anyone who thinks that they’re God…that’s God with a big G…
    Kanye has lost his little mind.

    [Reply]

  43. Beyonce

    GLAD I WASN’T ON THE ALBUM

    [Reply]

  44. Yes! Yes! You're The King... or Queen! - Inside Jamari Fox.

    [...] biggest showdown is between Kanye and Cole. According to HITS Daily Double, Kanye’s Yeezus is on track to outsell Cole’s Born Sinner with 375-400k, while Cole’s sophomore set is [...]

  45. NEUTRON

    Amazing album that deserves all the acclaim in the world. It shows artistic creativity and progression.

    This is a stellar set of records that starts on a high and ends on a high.

    [Reply]

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