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.
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.
Yeezus: Upper Middle Class
Magna Carta Holy Grail: Upper Middle Class
BEST 3 TRACKS: Magna Carta Holy Grail
This one gets big points just for being that Old Familiar Jigga that built the fanbase from the gravel to the Roc-A-Fella reign.
Timbaland goes black on this album several times. That futuristic-phone-dial synth sound that jumps into the hook like a weird skinny guy who happens to be able to dance and is just high-enough to be entertaining as all hell... it's a nice touch for this one.
Pimp-C on the intro. The bassline. The drums. Rawse. The ad-libs ("Yuuup."). The flows. The phrasing. The bounce. This is just great for crunk's sake, and not worth the effort you'd have to put into fighting or hating it. Might as well use that energy to rotate your shoulders or something. Have a drink or two first and tell me it doesn't make you dance.
BEST 3 TRACKS: Yeezus
Kanye just announced that instead of following his earlier plan of not applying any marketing plan whatsoever to Yeezus, he smartened up and will make a video out of "B.S." Good move. This one has undeniable energy, and I'm a menace when it's playing and I'm driving through morning traffic on the interstate.
"Blood On The Leaves"
A Nina Simone slavery-themed sample on a C-Murder-inspired track (wow), mixed with Auto-Tune and added to what sounds like an storyline about an ex who had an abortion... wow again... there's a lot going on here. But it all comes together to sound like an experience we've all had, even though we probably haven't. Beautiful for its ugliness.
There's a lot of truth spoken on this one. The marketing plan (projecting his face on 66 places around the world at the same time performing the song), and the sudden realization that a new Kanye album was coming may have both worked to overshadow the content of the song, and maybe I like it more because of the time of my life in which it was released, but you've gotta love the brevity and bravado of saying what you want to say in front of everybody, and instead of hiding making it so they can't hide from you; it's basically daring them (us) to disagree. That's art.