Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Lou Reed Reviews Kanye West's "Yeezus"

posted Tuesday July 02 ,2013 at 09:00PM CDT | 53 comments

Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer Lou Reed Reviews Kanye West's

The Velvet Underground founding member praises "moments of supreme beauty and greatness" on Kanye West's latest, but points out that some of it's "the same old shit."

Lou Reed, whose single "Walk On The Wild Side" served as the recognizable bass sample featured on A Tribe Called Quest's "Can I Kick It," has written a review of Kanye West's Yeezus.

The write-up, available on, praises Kanye's artistry for the most part, but calls out some predictable moments. "The guy has a real wide palette to play with," writes Reed. "That's all over Yeezus. There are moments of supreme beauty and greatness on this record, and then some of it is the same old shit. But the guy really, really, really is talented. He's really trying to raise the bar. No one's near doing what he's doing, it's not even on the same planet."

Reed assessed the sonic makeup of the project, believing that describing the project as "minimal" isn't entirely accurate. "People say this album is minimal. And yeah, it's minimal. But the parts are maximal. Take 'Blood on the Leaves.' There's a lot going on there: horns, piano, bass, drums, electronic effects, all rhythmically matched — towards the end of the track, there's now twice as much sonic material. But Kanye stays unmoved while this mountain of sound grows around him. Such an enormous amount of work went into making this album. Each track is like making a movie."

"Actually, the whole album is like a movie, or a novel — each track segues into the next. This is not individual tracks sitting on their own island, all alone."

Claiming that the album is something of a "dare" to fans to dislike his music, Reed observed that even the lyricism on the album, a point of criticism for some, hits home—even if Ye is treading familiar territory. "Many lyrics seem like the same old b.s. Maybe because he made up so much of it at the last minute," he wrote. "But it's the energy behind it, the aggression. Usually the Kanye lyrics I like are funny, and he's very funny here. Although he thinks that getting head from nuns and eating Asian pussy with sweet and sour sauce is funny, and it might be, to a 14-year-old — but it has nothing to do with me. Then there's the obligatory endless blowjobs and menages-a-trois."

"But it's just ridiculous that people are getting upset about 'Put my fist in her like a civil rights sign?' C'mon, he's just having fun. That's no more serious than if he said he's going to drop a bomb on the Vatican. How can you take that seriously?"

Reed had high praise for one track in particular. "The juxtaposition of vocal tones on 'Blood on the Leaves' is incredible — that pitched-up sample of Nina Simone singing 'Strange Fruit' doing a call-and-response with Kanye's very relaxed Autotuned voice. That is fascinating, aurally, nothing short of spectacular. And holy shit, it's so gorgeous rhythmically, where sometimes the vocal parts are matched and sometimes they clash. He's so sad in this song. He's surrounded by everyone except the one he wants — he had this love ripped away from him, before he even knew it. 'I know there ain't nothing wrong with me… something strange is happening.' Well, surprise, surprise — welcome to the real world, Kanye."

Ultimately, Reed concludes that Kanye's latest project is another example of West making connections where others have failed to. "[S]ometimes it's like a synth orchestra. I've never heard anything like it — I've heard people try to do it but no way, it just comes out tacky. Kanye is there. It's like his video for 'Runaway,' with the ballet dancers — it was like, look out, this guy is making connections. You could bring one into the other — ballet into Hip Hop — they're not actually contradictory, and he knew that, he could see it immediately. He obviously can hear that all styles are the same, somewhere deep in their heart, there's a connection. It's all the same shit, it's all music — that's what makes him great. If you like sound, listen to what he's giving you. Majestic and inspiring."

Lou Reed was also known as the frontman for The Velvet Underground, which was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He contributed to Gorillaz' third album Plastic Beach. Other artists to have sampled The Velvet Underground include RZA, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Jean Grae.

RELATED: Kanye West - Yeezus [Album Review]

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Comments 53 Posts

  • xx009
  • Hiroko S. Hill
    as Gloria replied I didnt even know that a student able to make ($)5882 in a few weeks on the internet. did you see this web page... can99.c.o.m.
  • 666
  • xx009
  • xx004
  • zxsss9
  • alex
    hey, did he just found that rap is the same shit repeat on every album!!
  • kanye
    rebel without a cause- complain about anything to make himself look like a victim. ohh pity me pity me. im a rich millionaire who wifes trap bags and strippers and they hurt me now feel sorry for me. clown
  • szz5
    son of a bitch came out the mother fucker throw em in the mother fucker
  • TrollHunter
    YEEZUS IS A MASTERPIECE...POINT BLANK. You so called Hip-Hop heads who's still stuck on a Nelly comeback, need to get your taste buds in order
    • Anonymous
      do you really think a "Hip-Hop Head" would be checking for Nelly??? Really???
  • PATHH88
    not a fan of Kanye in so far as being an MC (cos he has ghostwriters)but he has produced some classic beats for others and himself. i respect Lou Reed as an artist and for his contribution to music, he has imo 2 classic albums, and being a real head i will BUY the physical copy asap as i am all for moving forward and i love sound - everything from classical to hip hop to metal to "electronica" etc etc Great review, and based on that I will buy the album...
    • Anonymous
      Album is dope
    • Yoson
      everyone uses ghostwriters from time to time. Just the nature of the business
  • Come On
    Take that Haters like I said: "The ppl who hate is because the album is ahead of it's time and ahead of all of you, you ppl like too much of the same old same old thats why y'all think J.cole's album is better, so there you have another Rock 'n'Roll legend saying the album is great and the haters are behind.
    • Ja Rule
  • zxsss4
  • Anonymous
    watch the art of 16 bars this album has no essence
  • Anonymous
    jay-z album gona be whack to
    • Anonymous
      yeah, well.. maybe cuz jay-z is wack anyways. but what does that have to do with Kanye West or his album? SON, ARE YOU FUCKING STUPID?
  • crazy chainsaws
  • Anonymous
    • Anonymous
      your review is garbage NEXT
  • jus10
    People seem to be ashamed to even care about lyrics nowdays, that's why people like this album, it has none.
    • Anonymous
      slaughterhouse made a better album than this and thats not saying much
  • Anonymous
    album is garbage
  • Anonymous
    lou reed - brown bag allstars that album sucks yo
  • mbongeni
    this album went over alot of average traditional hiphop heads...its really infortunate..
    • Anonymous
      i think its crap real heads don't even need kanye
    • Anonymous
      well good for you!
  • 666
  • 666
  • Fuck Chicago
    Great, now I'm supposed to love this album just because some 73 year old rock n roll nigga cosigned it.
    • Anonymous
      no you're supposed to hate this album cuz ur a sheep.
  • Anonymous
    WHO'S THE BEST RAPPER OF ALL TIME? Is it Eminem, Tupac, Biggie, Jay-z, Nas, or Other?? VOTE NOW @ ALSO: FREE Downloads on the hottest songs of the week! By the hottest artist in the Game! Send in your songs to be on undiscovered talent.
    • Anonymous
      pac old em nas biggie jay-z
    • Anonymous
      TECH N9NE
    • Anonymous
  • jesus shuttlesworth
    great review. love lou reed. i still don't like yeezus. that is all.
  • yeaaahh
    Real artists/musicians appreciate this album - unlike you annoying hip hop heads who are stuck in the same loop and hate progression. Kanye wasn't afraid to take a big risk and it paid off, in my opinion.
    • mbongeni
      cosign bruh
    • Anonymous
      do u like hip hop ?
    • worst beat ever
      on sight bitch
  • Anonymous
    makes more sense than most reviews.
  • Anonymous
    GIVE ME A CHANCE Youtube is all about finding new artist, & though I been rapping for a while im still consider a new artist. I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support