Yeezus is not Jesus

Original and uncensored album art for Yes critically acclaimed 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

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Original and uncensored album art for Ye’s critically acclaimed 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

“You might think you’ve peeped the scene. You haven’t; the real one’s far too mean. The watered down one, the one you know, was made up centuries ago. They made it sound all wack and corny. Yes, it’s awful, blasted boring. Twisted fictions. Sick addiction. Well, gather ’round, children, zip it, listen.” – Kanye West

In the last few weeks, the producer turned rapper, formerly known as Kanye West, seems to have been… well let’s just say giving Twitter fodder, and gleefully pissing everyone off in the process. Antisemitism. “Slavery was a choice.” You know the deal. In other words, Ye is doing Ye things.

But while the Chicago rapper descends deeper into the manic episode he is clearly going through, there may be some value in understanding the beauty behind the madness. Although it’s been more than a decade since its release, Ye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy does just that. Perhaps it’s an explanation, or more likely in hindsight, a warning of self to the public.

From maniacal precision in production and composition to melodious percussion instruments, Ye accomplishes the goal he evidently set out to do, compose a masterpiece that yet again transcends the genre.

Forget the star studded features, ranging from R&B artists like John Legend, to staples of hip-hop Jay-Z and the Wu-Tang Clan’s very own RZA, Ye throws music’s adherence to the restrictive boxes of genre conventions out the window.

On the album, Ye covers everything. Anthems. Rock. Soul. Even kindly bridging the gap between Hip-hop and Indie genres with his Bon Iver collaboration on “Lost In the World.”

But the crescendo of the album lies on track nine. The coarse, self-aware, and perfect “Runaway” explores the depths of Ye’s lust, love, and his split personality that often fluctuates greatly between genius and insanity.

On “Runaway” he raps, “Let’s have a toast to the scumbags…Every one of them that I know…Let’s have toast for the jerk offs…That’ll never take work off…Baby I got a plan. Runaway as fast as you can.” In a vacuum, Ye both plays the villain and the hero.

In the initial verses, Ye is self-deprecating and introspective. As he takes a subtle jab at himself because he “is one of the jerk offs…That would never take work off,” he quickly switches from a toxic lover to the savior he wants to be.

“Baby I got a plan…Runaway as fast as you can” he repeats and begs his lover before he ushers in the chorus, noting the looming catastrophe of crazy that soon follows the rapper everywhere.

“Lost In The World” of his twisted fantasies of sex, addiction, and piercing love, Ye lets you into his strange yet sonically beautiful realm over the course of 12 distinct but synchronous songs.

And that is the true remarkability of this project. It is a risk. I mean the man’s cover depicts an albeit censored, naked sphinx straddling Ye himself as he alcoholically holds what can only be assumed to be a bottle of Heineken.

Lately, it increasingly feels that maybe Ye is the “Monster” he claims to be on track six as the album’s thematic element of the feedback from an electric guitar rings subtly over the snare beat.

Maybe he’s just Yeezus the artist, but no matter what his god complex tells you in the brief stints he has on Twitter, before he’s quickly banned, he is definitely not Jesus.