Sheezus Talks: A Critical Roundtable
Seven badass female culture critics assess and, well, psychoanalyze Kanye West’s bachelor party
On the occasion of Kanye West’s sixth album, released the day before Juneteenth, 2013, Anno Domini, we are gathered here due to the dearth of Yeezus pieces written by women, which is a significant oversight since a) much of this album, and West’s catalog, is about us; and b) it’s 2013, call the freaking doctor. So we’ve amassed an all-star panel that includes frequent SPIN contributors Puja Patel, Jessica Hopper, and Maura Johnston, Stereogum’s Claire Lobenfeld, Toronto-based uber-freelancer Anupa Mistry, and SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning on-air personality and pop-culture writer Tracy Garraud.
JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD: For me, the album is sonically incredible: Producers Hudson Mohawke, Daft Punk, Arca, and Gesaffelstein went jamón, and West should be praised for his openness to bass-centric sounds that most people outside of the dance-music underground haven’t really been exposed to. (Please, for the love of god’s son, stop calling it “EDM.”) These guys flipped some of the trillest Blade Runner dancehall and creepy, peeled-apart minimalism. Lyrically, I’m embarrassed by about 35 percent of it, though – not “I’m in It,” so much as phoned-in lines like, “Mi casa es su casa / That’s that cosa nostra” that are just like, dude, gimme a little more to work with here.
I’m going to be honest: I did not really blanche at the misogyny, because I expected it. He’s been flossing his feelings about women since day one, from the body objectification of “Overnight Celebrity” to um, well, am I the only one who saw the “Monster” video? I don’t think any of his misogyny is unaware, however. He’s too smart to not know he’s wrong for the “Civil Rights sign” lyric (or the racist Asian pussy lyric), but he’s doing it anyway, just to prove fatherhood isn’t going to dampen his loudmouth, even as it’s grounded him.
Photo Credit: Saturday Night Live