Kanye West – Street Lights [Fan Video, 2008]

Let me know
Do I still got time to grow
Things ain’t always set in stone
That be known let me know…

Frequenting some of the hip hop-related blog sites, I find myself intrigued with many of the comments regarding Kanye West’s latest album Yeezus. Certainly, there are mixed reactions, some favoring this minimalistic, alternative form of hip hop while others blasting the lame, psuedo-experimentalism portrayed in the short 40 minute album. I hope those who label this album as refreshingly new or label Kanye as some kind of pioneer of the sound are the same people who are simply not aware of this brand of alternative hip hop that already exists. Most notably, the group Death Grips come to mind. If Kanye deserves any props, it is solely the fact that he was brave enough to release this type of material to a mainstream audience. The reactions have been less than stellar, unless you’re some Pitchfork groupie, I guess.

Digressing from my thoughts of his most recent album, I chose to revisit his 3rd album 808s and Heartbreaks, which was also regarded as an experimental album. He flirts with the use of autotune, attempts to sing, instead of rap, many of the lyrics, and places a large emphasis on the usage of the TR-808 drum machine. From what I remember 5 years ago, many of my peers and a large portion of the hip hop Internutz, were displeased with this album. I, too, questioned the direction Kanye’s musical tastes were heading, but I feel this album was a great accomplishment and aged much better than College Dropout. Yes, this album is definitely mood music, but do remember that this album was released during Kanye’s mourning over his deceased mother and the fallout with his fiance. The raw honesty and vulnerability highlighted throughout the album makes it one of my top 3 Kanye records (I’d say third behind Late Registration and College Dropout).

His latest album may not share much similarity with 808s, other than the supposed experimental nature both albums share. I’m not sure if Yeezus will age as well as 808s. Only time can decide that for us.

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