Opinion: Kanye’s 'Yeezus' And J. Cole’s 'Born Sinner' Separate The Almighty From The Lesser

Yeezus and Born Sinner address religion in vastly different ways

On June 18, 2013, the music world received the Word.

Fayettnam's rap torchbearer J. Cole and hip-hop’s most boisterous and tortured demigod Kanye West chose the same day to pluck on spiritual heartstrings, yet they have two totally different messages to deliver. In many ways 'Ye and Cole—and their competing albums Yeezus and Born Sinner, respectively—are on opposite sides of the sanctuary.

Kanye West's Yeezus is 10 tracks of wrath, indulgence and retribution. Production help from Daft Punk, Mike Dean, No I.D., Travi$ Scott and others give tracks like “On Sight” and “Bound 2” some bounce, but there’s a struggle to find the common place between the man raging into the mic and the millions of us—some eagerly, some hesitantly—pressing play.

Yeezus’ most blasphemous title, “I Am A God,” finds Kanye spitting orders to his servants over a pulsing, demonized beat, while claiming he's the “only rapper compared to Michael.” It's oxymoronic in that he acknowledges that God's is an all-powerful being, but then there's the King of Pop. “I know He's the most high,” he raps confidently, “but I am a close high.”

It's a drastic difference from the idol worship from the six-foot-some-odd self-proclaimed born sinner kneeling on the other side of the altar. On his sophomore LP, J. Cole, the everlasting voice box for the underdog, uses 16 tracks to ’fess up to his vices, relish in his triumphs, battle demons and pay homage to the greats who’ve lit his path.

“Long live the idols, may they never be your rivals/Pac was like Jesus, Nas wrote the Bible,” he spits on “Let Nas Down,” an apology of sorts for pandering to pressures for a gimmicky single.

Jermaine's latest effort is rooted in moody music; gloomy and sunny instrumentals are stitched together by the sopranos, altos and tenors of a Sunday choir. The beats characterize Born Sinner’s heaven-and-hell aesthetic. Lyrically, he questions the purity of humanity (“Runaway”), admits that even the righteous cave in to temptation (“She Knows”), embraces his imperfections (“Crooked Smile”) and leaves his heart at the altar during the album's benediction (“Born Sinner”). He’s a flawed man recognizing and reconciling with his own faults. He’s still figuring things out.

Stardom has served Cole well and for a hefty portion of the album, he’s trying to find his way out of the Bible's forbidden garden ("LAnd of the Snakes," "Forbidden Fruit") where he “took a lil’ sip” of the "apple juice falling from her lips." In this same grassy oasis—and without a trace of regret—Yeezy is firmly planted on his throne, filling his own goblet with cider. While it may seem that Yeezus has it all—from supernatural sex (“[The] pussy had me floating”) to Maybach keys to his (damn) croissants—his soul has gone M.I.A. You can even hear it in the industrial beats ("Bound 2" is the lone chipmunk sample on here). Save for moments of vulnerability like the relationship-mourning "Guilt Trip" and "Blood On The Leaves," on Yeezus Kanye seems lost in his own smog of omnipotence. Meanwhile for J. Cole, by album's end, he's found himself.

Two gifted wordsmiths. Two varying relationships with the concept of higher power. Born Sinner shows us a man who is "of the people, not above but equal," while Yeezus hammers into our ears all the reasons why he's above us. —Stacy-Ann Ellis

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Dave Chappelle Personally Provides Tickets To Couple Who Were Scammed On Craigslist

One couple's Valentine's Day was made thanks to Dave Chappelle after they were scammed out of $500 dollars on Craigslist trying to buy the tickets to see the comedian.

Diedra and Eddie Dickens story was brought to light by WBTV on Wednesday (Feb. 13) when the couple shared how they were robbed online. In an effort to surprise her husband for Valentine's Day, Diedra attempted to buy tickets to see Chappelle on Valentine's Day after hearing he would perform in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. After she was unable to find tickets on Ticketmaster, she tried Craigslist where she found a perfect match for her and her husband, who would've needed a wheelchair accessible seat.

“They were seats one through four so those would be great because I could put my husband in seat one at the end of an aisle and that kind of good stuff,” she said.

But after sending $500 via Apple Pay to the seller, she never heard back. Diedra filed a police report after she was unable to get in touch with the seller.

“I was having good faith and it cost me $500,” she said. “You have no empathy or goodness, or I don’t know, maybe no soul."

After their story was shared on the local news, Chappelle's team caught wind of what happened and decided to surprise the couple on Thursday (Feb. 14), who decided to have dinner with friends.

Last night we told you this Charlotte couple was scammed out of hundreds of dollars trying to buy @DaveChappelle tickets on Craigslist. Tonight we were there as DAVE HIMSELF hand-delivered the group tickets! Awesome! @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/tHMElvDcZE

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Shocked and amazed, the couple was thrilled to meet the comedy legend who hand-delivered real tickets to his show. He chatted and took pictures with the couple while sharing the importance of buying tickets from credible platforms.

"Someone on my team called me, actually last night, and told me about this situation and we thought it'd be fun to do that for someone for Valentine's Day," he said to WBTV, who helped him find the couple. "I didn't expect to be on the news doing it but I'm glad, that's good. It's good that people know to always get your tickets from reliable sources and take every opportunity that's presented to you to be kind, especially if it's something that's easy to do."

Here’s a portion of our interview with @DaveChappelle. Great quote - “Take any opportunity that’s presented to you to be kind, especially if it’s something easy to do.” @WBTV_News pic.twitter.com/3344hqrQ19

— Alex Giles WBTV (@AlexGilesNews) February 15, 2019

Check out the good deed above.

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Animated Music Video XXXTentacion's "Sauce!" Is Released

A video for XXXTentacion's "Sauce!" has been released with animated flair.

Directed and animated by Tristian Zammit, the video blends various styles of anime with images of the rapper floating in the air. The song stems from the late rapper's latest posthumous release, XXXTentacion Presents: Members Only, Vol. 4. The project features friends and supporters of the rapper like Ski Mask the Slum God and affiliates Flyboy Tarantino, Kid Trunks, Tankhead, Bass Santana and more.

His affiliates are currently on a Members Only vs. The World tour, kicking off last month in California and bowing in Boston March 10.


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A post shared by “Moon” (@yungboitrunks) on Jan 1, 2019 at 5:00pm PST

This is XXXTentacion's second posthumous release since his death in June 2018. Skins was released with fans taking the album to the top of the Billboard charts, moving 132,000 equivalent albums. His tangled history with domestic violence has continued to play a part in the young rapper's legacy. At the Grammys, the 20-year-old's name wasn't included in the "In Memoriam" segment over his history of domestic violence.

Sources confirmed the reason to Variety while Academy president Neil Portnow previously shared thoughts on the possibility that XXXTentacion would or would not be included. The rapper's name was however on the longer list of late musicians on the Grammys website.

“I will tell you it’s a daunting challenge,” said Portnow. “We track those that we lose in our industry in any given year and then we have a process by which we go through it. Our on-air in memoriam — we’re lucky if we wind up [featuring] 10 to 15 percent of those we lose. Because it’s always hard choices. All of that is to say, I don’t have any answers for you now, but obviously, artists who were prominent and well-known by the public are people who are recognized and we’ll just wind up having to see how it plays out.”

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Childish Gambino Announces New European Tour Dates With H.E.R.

Childish Gambino has added a handful of international dates to his "This Is America" tour with fellow Grammy-award-winning singer H.E.R.

Announced through his creative agency and management team wolf + rothstein on Instagram Friday (Feb. 15), the dates will be a delight to fans in Paris and London. Gambino and H.E.R. will perform at the London's O2 Arena March 24 and March 25 and will reach Paris' AccorHotels Arena March 27. The announcement comes fresh off of the artists' big wins at the 2019 Grammys.

Gambino took home four gramophones including Best Music Video for "This Is America" as well as Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Rap/Sung Performance. He also made history as "This Is America" was the first rap record to take home Record of the Year.

H.E.R.'s debut at the Grammys was just as bright as the VIBE cover star took home Best R&B Album for her eponymous double-EP. She also took home an award for Best R&B Performance with Daniel Ceasar for their lovely duet, "Best Part."

Speaking with VIBE, H.E.R. dropped a few hints about an upcoming European tour and plans to release her debut studio album.

“I’m so thankful for all the stuff that happened in 2018 and now 2019 is even crazier,” she said. “There’s so much going on, so many places that I’ll be going to that I haven’t seen, but I’m definitely going to drop an official album, a real album because the projects that I dropped weren’t even official. They were just EPs and it’s about elevation this year.”

Meanwhile, Gambino shared a piece of new music during his new Google Pixel 3 ad titled, "Human Sacrifice." The ad feature's the platform's latest "Playmoji" creation with Gambino dancing off against his.

Check out the tour announcement below and cop tickets here.

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