Yeezus
6.18.2013

Review Roundup: Kanye West – ‘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″