Film / TVMusicOpinion

Jeen-Yuhs : Act 1 (I miss the old Kanye)

February 26, 2022

At 3 AM EST on February 16th, I was in a deeper REM cycle than normal, fist fighting my way through dreams that would probably make no sense if I tried to repeat them out loud. I’d assumed I’d be able to power through and stay up for the premiere of Jeen-Yuhs, on Netflix, the Trilogy documenting the rise of Kanye West but I lost the battle to being too damn tired. 

So, I shook up my regular morning routine – woke my Dalmation up instead of him waking me up, to take him to play on the ice rink that is Boston in the middle of February and rushed back home to make some Bustelo and enjoy a hearty bowl of sour diesel so that I could start my day proper with an 8 AM dose of the first episode before my workday of back to back meetings.  

There are two types of Kanye West fans who exist in this world. Those who are and those who aren’t. If you’re in the aren’t category this is your free pass to spend your time doing something more productive than reading from the opinion of someone who is. One of the toughest parts about being a Kanye West fan is single handedly defending his not so agreeable behavior at times. 

Recently, I’ve made an intentional decision to stop wasting my time scrolling on social media, because I found that it wasn’t adding much value to my life. Funnily enough, I’m still getting text messages from friends of mine who know how much of a Ye fan I am, keeping me up to date about his CAPS LOCKED IG POSTS begging for Kim to take him back, his rants about how disgusted he is with Pete Davidson, his breakup with Julia Fox and most recently, his new post, in which he has decided to stop using CAPS LOCK because it makes people think he screaming and resigning to the fact that maybe it’s time for him to trust a Director of Communications. 

Last night, I spent a solid 45 mins talking to my best friend about why Kanye West is so upset about his divorce with Kim, how being with Pete is probably one of the harshest hits to his ego that’s he’s experienced in a long time and most importantly how the trauma he’s experienced in his life comes out in the form of uncontrollable rants, accompanied with incredibly brilliant music and architectural soul. For me, this documentary is a unique opportunity to embrace the ethereal sometimes arrogant human condition that is Kanye West through the eyes of his close friend Coodie. I’ll explore 3 themes per episode in hopes that you too can see a different side to the man behind the Balenciaga mask as of late.

Giants look in the mirror and see nothing:

I found myself literally crying watching the effortless connection between Donda (Kanye’s Mom) and himself. This could be because I’m still navigating the early grief stages of losing my mom suddenly last summer. The hearty laugh and unconditional support from Donda remind us all that when we have a figure such as her in our lives, at some point regardless of what everyone else says, you truly do believe that the sky’s the limit. In one of their earlier conversations, as she’s rapping with Kanye, she reminds him that “giants look in the mirror and see nothing”. This was one of the strongest moments of the first episode because we’ve all at some point been faced with ourselves in the mirror, questioning if what we see and what others see are aligned. 

Know yourself, know your worth:

That little voice in your head that tells you that you can’t is a bold-faced liar. Kanye West didn’t entertain this voice, and neither should you. From sneaking into panels, to having his name improperly listed as Kanye instead of Kanye West, he always trusted that there was more to life than the life he was currently living. Contentment wasn’t a topic of conversation, and neither was a failure. The trust that he had in his abilities is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Regardless of your position on whether or not Kanye West is one of the most important artists of our time, one must agree that his resilience and visionary brilliance are clearly just a couple of his superpowers. 

As he went from office to office in the Def Jam HQ, playing his demo with people half listening, and some minor head nodding he did not give up. He knew that at some point, the right person would pay attention and he believed this with his entire self. When you fast forward to him signing the deal that Dame Dash called him to confirm, and Memphis Bleek in the hallway of the Rocafella show at the BET Awards on chaining day, you are witnessing the uprising of the birth of a star, a neon blue intergalactic magic, that bursts through the headphones of the world to this day. 

Dust Yourself Off and Try Again:

It’s so easy to hang it all up. There are multiple times a day where things could go wrong, and your path can be diverted. Equally, there are multiple times a day where things could go your way, and your path can be clearly defined. Aaliyah meant it when she said dust yourself off and try again, and Kanye West epitomizes this. From the dis track by Dug and the grace in which he handled that, to the subtle no thank you from Scarface when Kanye West invited him to drop a verse on Family Business or Jesus Walks, he continued to move forward. Beyond that, he found gems in the responses that he wasn’t expecting. Even when Scarface wasn’t able to muster up a verse for him, the takeaway was that he received a compliment from Scarface that gave him the ammo to keep pushing and that he did. 

In Summation:

Maybe there’s something about the “old Kanye” in this first episode that will force us to remember that who we are today is a mosaic of the fragmented pieces of what we’ve experienced yesterday and the day before that. It’s so easy to fall prey to the pressures of the future or the complexities of the present but one thing is for certain…

Nothings Ever Promised Tomorrow Today.

Now that you know that Kanye really went to Jacob to get his iconic angel pendant chain before he bought a house because he knew that the confidence from that necklace would follow him wherever he was, and his mom absolutely LOVED the piece, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched and abstract. At the time of “All Falls Down”, he spoke through all of us. If you listen again I bet you can even hear the younger version of yourself, reminding you that, yes – you are as capable as your mom used to tell you, you were. 

Patiently Awaiting the delivery of my Cobalt Blue Yeezy GAP Hoodie,