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Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ tour cancellation makes sense

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Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ tour cancellation makes sense

Rapper Kanye West postpones his Chicago “Yeezus” tour dates.

Rapper Kanye West postpones his Chicago “Yeezus” tour dates.

Source: MCTdirect

Rapper Kanye West postpones his Chicago “Yeezus” tour dates.

Source: MCTdirect

Source: MCTdirect

Rapper Kanye West postpones his Chicago “Yeezus” tour dates.

Alex Burnham, Columnist

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Thousands of dismayed fans will have to wait for Kanye West’s “Yeezus” tour due to cancellations. The Chicago rapper postponed shows in his hometown because a 60-foot LED screen was damaged beyond repair on a truck. West explained the screen was essential and a lack of its presence would detract from his artistic vision.

Fans may bemoan a delay in the tour; however, West has a certain amount of validity in his actions as an artist. “Yeezus” is musical illustration, the confluence of sound, lyricism and production. The tour for such an album should be no different.

The 40-minute compilation, released June 18, combines acid house, Chicago drill, dancehall and industrial music. Sonically experimental, “Yeezus” employs a plethora of samples, notably the vocal refrain from Nina Simone’s cover of “Strange Fruit.” “New Slaves” contains samples of “Gyöngyhajú lány”; “I’m in It” has samples of “Lately”; “Guilt Trip” contains interpolations of “Chief Rocka”; and “Bound 2″ has samples of “Aeroplane.”

Songs like “I Am a God” and “I’m In It” incorporate dancehall and reggae music, using the Jamaican voices of Capleton and Assassin, respectively. “Yeezus” amalgamates many individual elements into one vigorous entity.

And perhaps West’s larger-than-life ego distracts listeners from the sincerity of certain songs. His complaining on “I Am A God” seems arrogant, yet it reveals an unorthodox lifestyle.

The song “New Slaves” similarly shifts between forthright description of a privileged lifestyle and the habitual outlook of a minority. An acid house beat looms underneath West’s slurred rapping, which eventually evolves into a symphony reminiscent of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

Another racially charged song, “Blood On The Leaves,” employs a Hudson Mohawke beat to assist an auto-tuned vocal that resembles “808s & Heartbreak.” And at the same time, West alludes to former relationships and love lost. He oscillates between referencing expensive handbags and some unknown paramour.

This is not to say that “Yeezus” focuses on affection and personal attachment, but rather that critics should not dismiss “Yeezus” for West’s eccentricities. The Association of French Bakers sent West a letter complaining about his lyric, “Hurry up with my damn croissant.” And the album may indeed be iconoclastic in some regards, but its sonic experimentalism and apparent veracity should reduce a certain amount of critical eye-rolling.

In the same way, it is perhaps justified that West postponed his tour because the artistic significance may surpass comprehension of the critics.

Email: afburnham@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @afburnham

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