Rock musician Lou Reed joins the growing number of artists and critics discussing their opinions on Kanye West and Yeezus, in a review for The Talkhouse.
Herbie Hancock had his say on Kanye West and plenty of other publications have weighed in with their thoughts on Yeezus but one person I didn’t expect to come out with an opinion is Lou Reed. The songwriter/guitarist is probably best known as the main songwriter for cult rock band The Velvet Underground and in an article for The Talkhouse, he spoke on his admiration for Kanye’s talent, saying “No one’s near doing what he’s doing, it’s not even on the same planet” and then dissected each track on Yeezus. I’ll spare you the “I’mma let you finish” joke for this but I wouldn’t go as far as saying “no one’s near doing what he’s doing”. He may be on another planet – his own ego – but if you’ve paid attention to music in the past few decades, you’ll know ‘Ye definitely isn’t the first hip hop musician to incorporate industrial music into his production. Saul Williams also enlisted Rick Rubin’s production prowess, for his debut industrial hip hop album “Amethyst Rock Star”, not to mention trent reznor for the emphatic “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!“. For me personally, the subtext was hypocritical, conflicted and arrogant. Lou doesn’t see an issue with the line “put my fist in her like a civil rights sign”, citing it as Kanye “just having fun”. Without getting into a social debate, this is coming from a privileged background where the civil rights movement didn’t mean nearly enough to him as it did to the millions of black people who fought (and died) for it.
But read it for yourself and see what you think.