This was a comment placed on our site under the Kanye West Yeezus Album Review:
Prok says: I think you should start to put more intellectual effort in your reviews. Saying that an album is good or bad, or just comparing it to other artists (in this case Death Grips) is not enough. It also seems that you have not listened to Yeezus enough to really be able to express an informed opinion. I don’t get any perspective from you on samples used (e.g. Nina Simone’s strange fruit) or sudden shifts of some song’s message and vibe (e.g. I am a god) and what these things might mean, considering they were done on purpose. For instance, in the song black skinhead, Kanye is gasping himself after saying “you are not breathing, you are gasping”. As if he is often talking to himself in the mirror. Or take the “blood on the leaves” citations, which are clearly linked to the Abel Meerpol poem about lynching. I miss these types of analyses that are clearly needed if you want to discuss works from calibres like Kanye West. So, I must say, whilst being a fan of your reviews, recently I am a bit disappointed by the mediocre-ness of your analyses. Please step your game up.
Apparently, you didn’t watch or listen to the review very closely. We didn’t only say it was good or bad and then compare it to other artists. This is the issue I have with a lot of our viewers. When we, collectively, say we like an album (regardless of details) you praise us. When we, collectively, don’t like an album (again, regardless of details) we get a bunch of complaints and insults. It’s almost sad how fickle and see-through some of you are. If we all said “man, this Yeezus album is the truth” and went on throughout the video talking about just how much we loved it (again, regardless of details), your mouth would remain shut aside from, maybe, a “Great review, fellas! I agree!” But the fact that most of us disliked it, you felt the need to tell us to “step our game up.” Hahaha! So, if we’d mentioned all of the things you mentioned, but we still didn’t like it, I assume you expect me to believe that you’d be totally fine with the review? Or, be honest, would you just find something else that we said that you disagreed with so you’d have an excuse to complain about, what really boils down to, the fact that we just didn’t agree with your opinion? But you’re disappointed in us. OK.
The majority of us didn’t enjoy the album and we said why (the beats were poorly done, the content/lyrics were lackluster, the delivery was lame, the idea was weak). The comparison to DG was based on the fact that the overall idea of making this type of album didn’t come off sincere to me. It came off contrived and sounded (to me, mostly) that he took the idea from DG (as well as Saul Williams). I don’t remember one single time saying that the album actually sounded like Death Grips (and I challenge you send me a time on the video that contradicts that statement). I’m not a psychic and I wasn’t there when he made this album, but I’d be willing to bet that what went through his mind was “These guys are doing something different and it’s not that popular in my circle yet, so lemme put out something along those same lines. It’ll look like I started this shit. Kanye changes the game again!” But y’all really think he is just so genius that he came up with all this on his own…coincidentally around the same time that that particular sound was expanding and blowing up. And, coincidentally, after he put out an album that would have been almost impossible to follow up (production, lyrically and creatively). But you’re disappointed in us. OK.
I don’t know you, but, when I was talking about Stans…you are the type of person I was talking about. Comments like “calibres like Kanye West” just enforce my assumption that you are a standard Kanye fanatic who would accept a steaming corn-filled turd if Kanye handed it to you wrapped in canvas paper and told you it was this new thing he came up with called “shart.” (I just realized how genius “shart” is and copyrighted it, by the way, so don’t try to use it as your own or I’ll sue.) People like you totally skim over the points we made in favor of attempting to pretend that you’re in Kanye’s head, because, if you can convince someone that you get the depth of his genius, then you sound deep yourself. In reality, that’s the exact opposite of the case. I’m fine with you disagreeing with our assessment of the album, but your reply simply sounds like a Kanye super-fan bothered because we didn’t reinforce your opinion in our review. Just because we didn’t mention something during a 20 minute long (edited) video doesn’t mean we didn’t hear or get it. Your attempt to show that you grasped these incredibly basic elements that you think we missed is pretentious and presumptuous…and, needless to say, incorrect. But you’re disappointed in us. OK.
“I think you should start to put more intellectual effort in your reviews.” That’s hilarious that you think that because you knew a Nina Simone sample (because, God, Nina Simone references aren’t totally popular with pseudo-intellectual hip hop heads) or noticed a shift in the song’s “message and vibe” (so obvious it wasn’t worth mentioning) or because you know a hugely famous Abel “Meerpol” poem (which is about as basic as namedropping Langston Hughes nowadays) makes you sound intelligent. The references to “Strange Fruit” were painfully obvious and I, personally, saw no need to bring that up because understanding that poem isn’t going to make the song any better. That’s just that surface level deepness that we were talking about…but apparently it worked on some people. By the way, you spelled Meeropol wrong, Mr. Intellectual. But you’re disappointed in us. OK.
Sure, sometimes it totally helps you to understand an album once you get where the context of the album is coming from. But what it does not do is make an album good. It makes no difference where the samples came from, nor does it matter which poem certain lyrics/ideas were taken from (like this is the first time Kanye has reinterpreted or recited other’s poems). What matters is, at the end of the day, is it a good listen? The answer for us is “not really.” Everyone on this show is a Kanye West fan. The difference is we’re not going to let our fandom blind us to the point of accepting what we see as second-rate work as, instead, a work a genius. But you’re disappointed in us. OK.
I understand that people’s opinions rarely mirror each other so I enjoy it when people disagree with me. I especially enjoy it when they give detailed reasons that outline things that we may have overlooked. However, this whole thing from you comes across as one big “look how smart I am.” Shit like this is so transparent to me that it’s laughable. Had you presented these facts and ideas as “Hey, guys, did you know this?” versus “You guys are so dumb you didn’t know this, but I did because I’m smarter than you!” you would have actually accomplished something here aside from eliciting this long response from me…but, shit, I’m at work and bored so I figured…why not? Telling us to be more intellectual in a music review is, not only pompous, but totally ridiculous given the framework of the show. We don’t present ourselves as music historians. We are five average guys who happen to love music. Nothing more. We could sit around and talk about BPMs, note pitch or any musical misstep that a technical music nerd would notice, but none of those things matter and they’re not relevant to our show. We have a short period of time to keep you guys’ attention so we choose to simply discuss whether we liked an album and the basics of why or why not. But you’re disappointed in us. OK.
Like I’ve said, if you enjoy an album, that’s great. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. Especially dudes you don’t even know except through a computer screen. Be the biggest fan you can be and support that artist to the fullest. I feel that praise is totally necessary when you genuinely feel that the artist deserves your accolades. But when an artist puts out work that you feel doesn’t meet their potential, call them on it. The result is they don’t care, they progress or they quit. And looking at it from a music fan standpoint, I’d rather see an artist quit than diminish their catalog by putting out bullshit or remaining stagnant and not progressing the culture. So, regardless of the artist, what you’ll always get from us is an honest opinion. It may not be as detailed as you want it. It may not be as cohesive as you want it. It may not be as researched as you want it. Lastly, and most importantly, it may not be as imitative of your own opinion as you want it. But it will be honest. I hope you continue to watch, but if the aspects of our videos that I just laid out truly disappoint you, then, honestly, I have to say I’m happy to disappoint.