The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

    RocNation’s Hov vs. Yeezus: Genius or Gimmick

    With this being the biggest summer for Hip-Hop in a long time, two of the most talked about albums come from Roc Nation/Roc-a-Fella headliners Kanye West and Jay Z. There is no doubt that the marketing behind both albums was nothing short of epic.

    Kanye got everyone into a frenzy when he released the title of his album “Yeezus” a play on his nickname Yeezy and Jesus. Whenever religion is brought into play, the spotlight is sure to follow.

    Not to mention the fact that both Mac Miller and J. Cole had albums dropping around the same time Kanye’s “Yeezus” was expected to release. Jay-Z, on the other hand, showed how great of a businessman he is.

    Jay-Z made a deal with Samsung that caused his album to go platinum before anyone even heard it. The business move generated so much hype that CNN did a story on it.

    All there was left for the artists to do was release the projects and hear what listeners had to say.

    Kanye always does something new, but for most, “Yeezus “ was a tad left field.

    Kanye presented his fans with a sound that caught many of them off guard. With production from Daft Punk, Travis Scott and Mike Dean, there is no doubt that each song brings a rave like feel.

    The transitions of the songs were random to say the least.On the intro “On Sight,” Kanye presents listeners his new sound.

    As the intro progresses, the song turns into to a soulful interlude and immediately goes back into heavy rave like sounds. “New Slaves,” the song in which Yeezy proclaims to have the greatest verse of all time, was full of brash, ambition and cockiness.

    Although “Yeezus” offered sounds no previous Kanye West album had, he still managed to stay true to the Yeezy fans grew to adore through the samples he chose to incorporate on certain tracks. “Blood on the Leaves,” one of the album’s more controversial songs, samples the great Nina Simone’s cover of Billie Holiday’s, “Strange Fruit.”

    Billboard critics called the album “narcissistic” and “misogynistic.” According to Rolling Stone Magazine, “Yeezus is the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up.”

    To me, the album was dark and egotistical. It is Kanye, that is his theme. When it comes to his music, it either comes highly regarded or criticized to no avail. “808s & Heartbreak” was heavily criticized, but it gave way for artists like Kid Cudi and Drake.

    So, only time will tell if “Yeezus” has an impact on new artists.

    “Magna Carta Holy Grail” starts with what Jay-Z believes is “the best vocal performance Justin Timberlake has ever given” on “Holy Grail.” Timberlake provides soulful vocals at the beginning of the song and as the beat drops, Jay comes out of nowhere and brings it home like a Lob City alley-oop.

    His concept for the album comes from the pressures and luxuries of fame.  All the while, Jay continuously references art and its connection to Hip-Hop.

    Jay’s albums always have the best production from Hip Hop’s most prominent producers. This album lives up to that tradition with songs like “Tom Ford,” “Crown,” which was produced by 16-year-old hit maker Wondagurl, “Somewhere in America” and “Beach is Better.”

    From the beat selection to the concepts, Jay-Z certainly delivered and had notable gems in most songs. The most notable gem came from “Somewhere in America” where Jay addresses what goes on in America, racism, and the impact Hip Hop culture has on society.

    Hov summed up all of those points in the line, “Somewhere in America/ Miley Cyrus is still twerkin’.”

    Rolling Stone says, “he [Jay-Z] doesn’t sound creatively enthused anymore.” Pitchfork critics stated, “Jay-Z rapping about the incomprehensible awesomeness of his life is nothing new.”

    With that being said, it might take years for listeners to appreciate the body of work Jay-Z put together. After all, Jay is the master of the double and triple entendre.

    Republican congressman Trey Radel tweeted his reactions and seemed to enjoy “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” Overall, this album was another solid album that was enjoyable to listen to.

    When good lyrics meet great beats albums tend to remain relevant in the world of Hip Hop. Where “Yeezus” and “Magna Carta Holy Grail” contrast in sound, they make up for in creativity.

    Many artists will attempt to duplicate the work Jay and Kanye have put together. Nevertheless, these two albums highlight a summer that could go down as the best Hip-Hop has seen in years.

    — Email Kourtney at  [email protected]  and follow her on Twitter @KPOP_OfColour

    • jerrell leeper Register Contributor