Kanye and Jay are two rich black men who are dominant in the business of entertainment and culture, and neither is afraid to remind you of their positioning via utterly ridiculous album titles, cover art, production, and lyrics.
This won't be a long post, partially because it's my first on this site, and mostly because neither of these albums are ground-breakingly good. But they're new albums from Kanye West and Jay-Z, and that matters, because whether you think both LPs are subpar, or they're great, or they're both in the #illuminati or whatever, you care.
The reason you care is because Kanye and Jay are two rich black men who are dominant in the business of entertainment and culture, and neither is afraid to remind you of their positioning via utterly ridiculous album titles, cover art, production, and lyrics. Even if/when the result is not-great, both artists are doomed to succeed for the same reason they made an album called Watch The Throne: they know that they are in the position of power and influence simply for carrying on such a ruckus for so long and outlasting obvious competitors, and whatever they make -- as long as it contains a certain flippant attitude and energy directed against America's preconceived notions about them before they arrived -- will be consumed and vigorously devoured as ego food for African-American men of a certain age, such as my own personal self.
I've said before, several times, that Kanye West is the new Miles Davis. What I mean by that is that he's leading without compromising, sometimes even with his back turned, which you can tell because this guy still uses Auto-Tune. Don't blame me for that; y'all let it happen, and y'all sang along to that nonsense. It's to the point that I don't even trip about 808s & Heartbreak anymore, even though I certainly did back in my Underwriter days when it was first released.
Both albums push the envelope. Both are uncomfortable at times ("I'm In It" gets respect just for having a line as bold/wild as that "Civil Rights sign" thing), which is not necessarily bad. Jay's probably going to get the popular vote, because Ye's album is by far riskier. That being said, I give them both high marks for going somewhere that neither artist had been before, even if that place is weird and I'd rather take a rain check at the moment.
I have faith in hip-hop. I believe that it can work miracles upon worldwide culture, and I've seen it happen before. No, it's not going to happen as a direct result of either of these two albums by two of the top names in not only hip-hop but entertainment-at-large. But it will inspire thought, make heads bop, make shoulders roll, and make people cringe at times, while reminding people that all men and women, and especially egotistical super-millionaire rappers, are made in God's image. Let us listen, and then let us pray.
STATUS QUO (Rating):
Yeezus: Upper Middle Class
Magna Carta Holy Grail: Upper Middle Class
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