Who Is a Bigger Ego Maniac? Kanye West or Jay-Z ?
Who Is a Bigger Ego Maniac? Kanye West or Jay-Z ? Perhaps both. EAST COAST/WEST COAST — This summer, hip-hop fans have seen two rap titans break all the rules and shatter the proverbial mold, establishing one rule in place of all the others: No Rules.
Kanye West released his sixth studio album, Yeezus, on June 18, 2013 and JAY-Z followed suit by springing his album on unknowing fans during the NBA Finals. One entire commercial break later and people couldn’t wait for JAY-Z to release his first solo album since Blueprint 3. On the Fourth of July, Magna Carta Holy Grail was released and the world saw a side of JAY-Z that hadn’t been seen in years. As a matter of fact, these albums may be the most honest, recent depiction of two of the rap games greatest pioneers from the last 20 years.
The way in which they set themselves apart from the rest of the industry was not from doing things differently, but by not doing certain things at all. West released his album with no cover art and not even a cover insert or booklet. The focus was on the music, that’s it.
Oh, and JAY-Z? He created an application in partnership with Samsung to give his album away for free five days before its intended release on July 9.
That’s just how they released their albums.
The tone of each album is hard to compare to anything else. Magna Carta Holy Grail is a more calculated style of this high-powered futuristic melody, whereas Yeezus completely shatters expectations of music. West’s record is probably best described by Complex magazine’s editor-in-chief Noah Callahan. After an advanced listening session Callahan said, “I…have no idea how to describe it. It sounds like it’s from the future. Or of the future.”
1) “Black Skinhead”
2) “Blood On The Leaves”
3) “Bound 2”
Magna Carta Holy Grail
1) “Holy Grail” featuring Justin Timberlake
2) “Oceans” featuring Frank Ocean
3) “BBC” featuring NaS, Swizz Beatz, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell and Third World Trill
JAY-Z employs nearly every great musical mind that one could think of, so many that it actually wouldn’t be fair to begin to list them (go buy the album and read the pullout, it’s worth it).
Yeezus is an over the top yet genuine piece of music that seems to jump from one style to another in a manner that you may recall from chemistry class: entropy. Yeezus creates a feeling of disorder that is somehow organic and proper. Not only does West establish a creative style of disarray but he does it all in only 40 minutes; he also brings his personality back to the foreground. The embattled MC is cracking jokes and creating witty punch lines that even have the never-seen-smiling Mr. West showing his pearly whites.
JAY-Z gives a glimpse of what makes Shawn Corey Carter tick (not just expensive watches), a view that fans had been aching for since before he and West released their grandiose joint album, Watch The Throne. What many hip-hop fans dubbed ‘champagne rap’ left a bad taste in some people’s mouths; two phenomenal talents on a boasting spree while they let other pertinent issues sit on the back-burner. This time it’s different, HOV tucks his chain in and gets to work on pressing matters in his life, like being the father that wasn’t there for him.
Some people have made the argument that Yeezus in some way prepared everyone for Magna Carta Holy Grail, which isn’t exactly a stretch, but is demeaning to West’s effort.
What if Yeezus didn’t just prepare us for Magna Carta Holy Grail, but instead gave us a glimpse of what is to come? Now that would be something. You shouldn’t be surprised if two years from now you look back and realize how prospective these albums were. With that being said, don’t expect every song you hear to sound like a time portal just opened up and lasers are flying around.
Regardless of whether this is a trend or an experiment; it is refreshing to see established artists step outside their comfort zone in an effort to change the status quo. Both men were not afraid of the inevitable critique that they would receive, that much is clear. From cover to cover, from the first track to the last, both CD’s offer insight to the life’s of these icons who so many perceive as larger than life.