A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kanye West's album Yeezus is an explicit, self-indulgent, and negative compilation of jarring beats, rhymes, and Auto-Tuned choruses. While the music is unquestionably unique and provocative, it's often in poor taste and therefore loses much of its potential artistic merit. Expect lots of profanity (including the "N" word, "p---y," "f--k," and "bitch") as well as many graphic references to sex (such as "Your p---y's too good, I need to crash/ Your t-tties let 'em out, free at last"). Drugs, drinking, and violent references are also present, as well as lots of brand names.
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What's the story?
Hastily assembled by a team of super-producers, including studio wizard Rick Rubin, YEEZUS is Kanye West's sixth album, though it features so many guests that it hardly even feels like a solo effort. As opposed to most of his radio-ready pop hits, most of these songs are dark and politically charged tirades that are bound to rub plenty of people the wrong way. While Yeezy addresses big issues like interracial relationships, the prison industrial complex, and racial profiling, he muddles the messages with hyper-masculinity and base humor.
Is it any good?
Unquestionably unique and often interesting, Yeesus falls into the trap of tying to mesh too many clashing sounds and feelings. Most of the beats are pounding and filled with harsh electronic noises, and though some of the beats will likely appeal to fans of modern rap, this could hardly be considered a "hip-hop" album in the traditional sense. The lyrics are thought-provoking at times, but many of the tracks are spoiled by unintelligent or annoying hooks and Auto-Tuned choruses that seem as if they don't belong. Some West fans will love it, some will hate it, and some will be thoroughly confused.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about West's sound here. He was originally known as a hip-hop producer capable of making pleasantly melodic songs from soul samples. Why do you think he has departed so radically with these harsh, pounding, electro sounds?
Yeezus features a number of high-profile guests and collaborators, including Daft Punk, Justin Vernon (of indie darlings Bon Iver), up-and-coming Chicago rapper Chief Keef, and Odd Future crooner Frank Ocean. Why do you think he assembled such an eclectic group of musicians and producers?
How has West changed throughout his career, both as a celebrity and as an artist?