“A monster about to come alive again,” Kanye West declares in “On Sight,” an opening track on his sixth studio release Yeezus. Over the heavily distorted synthesizer produced by Daft Punk, Kanye charges on, “Black dick all in your spouse again / And I know she like chocolate men / She got more niggas off than Cochran.” The monster is back and he’s darker, angrier, fouler and hornier than a motherfucker.
The lasciviousness is understandable as Kanye is about to become a father for the first time. To cope with his meltdown during Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy, he lets out all the sexual fantasies in “I’m In It”: “Eating Asian pussy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce” and “Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign.” He pushes further, “I’m a rap-lick priest / getting head by the nuns.”
If you could get past the ill rhymes, Yeezus is quite striking in term of musical direction. “Black Skinhead” reduces to a hard-hitting bass and powerful marching drums. In fact, the entire album takes on a minimalist approach. Gone are the complex palettes of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the lush orchestration of Late Registration. The stripped-down beats allow more attention to the lyrics and that could be a curse as well, especially with lazy, Cam’ron-like punchlines: “Hey, you remember where we first met? / Okay, I don’t remember where we first met.”
Unlike his previous records, Yeezus is pared down to just ten tracks. In the hand of Rick Rubin, the album is coherently crafted to be experienced as a whole. With the less-is-more productions backing up in-your-fucking-face lyricisms, Kanye once again proves to be one of the most compelling artists who is not afraid to push his music to the next level.