It’s been two weeks since Kanye West’s Yeezus first dropped. Since its release, serious critics from pretty much every corner of the music world have been in a virtual race to see who could give it the laudingest review.
Yet, while the sonic aspects of the album have received the lion’s share of the praise, the actual lyrical content has received quite a bit of (justified) criticism. Particularly, how it deals with women.
One song in particular has seemed to draw the most ire; an especially, almost hilariously dark three minute and forty-five second long genre (and gender) bending track that kinda sounds, to quote a friend, like “…something the antichrist would say while on a date at the Olive Garden.”
Needless to say, it also happens to be my favorite song on the album.
Anyway, after listening to it for perhaps the 32nd time a couple days ago, something dawned on me: What he’s saying here isn’t actually that bad. It’s actually kinda…thoughtful. And…practical. And…romantic.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s go line for line and see.
“Damn your lips very soft”
When dating a Black woman, you can never go wrong with an unsolicited softness, hair, skin, or struggle-related compliment.
“As I turn my Blackberry off”
Some of us are so attached to our phones that we schedule mid-coitus breaks to check Instagram updates, and he’s actually turning it all the way off! How considerate is that?
“And I turn your bath water on”
Who said chivalry was dead? Not Kanye.
“And you turn off your iPhone”
See, men. If you take the lead, she’ll follow. As the homie Paul Brunson says, it’s not complicated.
“Jealous whispers, eye f*cking, biting ass”
As the guy who used to hawk boosted water guns and Progresso soup cans outside of my barbershop used to tell me, “foreplay is the best play.”
“Neck, ears, hands, legs, eating’ ass”
He’s making sure no part gets neglected. I hope you guys out there are taking notes. It’s not always just about nips and lips. Toes, elbows, and the perpetually ashy space between her fingers need love too.
“Your p*ssy’s too good, I need to crash”
Another unsolicited softness and lips-related compliment. Plus, the intentional hyperbole of “too good” instead of just plain “good” will definitely make her smile on the inside.
“Your t*tties, let ‘em out, free at last.”
He obviously listens to his woman—and other women—and knows that wearing a bra all day can be painful and restrictive.
“Thank God almighty, they free at last”
You can never go with with invoking Dr. King in the bedroom. Never. (How am I so sure? Don’t ask.)
“We was up at the party but we was leavin’ fast”
There are some of y’all who’ve been dating the same person for three years and won’t even go to the Wendy’s drive-thru together yet, but he obviously thinks enough of her to be seen with her in public and be seen leaving in a hurry with her.
“Had to stop at 7-Eleven like I needed gas. I’m lyin’, I needed condoms, don’t look through the glass.”
There are so many nuggets of gold here that it’s hard to keep count.
First, realizing she may have had too much to drink, he’s driving. Second, he’s practicing safe sex…something we all know we could be much better at. Third, to add strawberries to bacon, he knows that, despite their need and utility, condoms aren’t necessarily the most romantic object, so he conceals the purchase.
“Chasin’ love, lot of bittersweet hours lost”
A subtle reminder that, even in the throes of passion, it’s wise to step back and assess whether your level of commitment is harming other aspects of your life.
“Eatin’ Asian p*ssy, all I need was sweet and sour sauce”
While awkward, this level of pre-coital cultural sensitivity is rare. I mean, you can be as politically correct as you want, but it helps to know some culturally specific things before jumping into the sack, especially if you’re a Black male.
For instance, you probably shouldn’t pull a Black woman’s hair, you probably shouldn’t sleep with a White woman if her dad is still alive, and, apparently, condiments are key if performing cunnilingus on a Chinese woman. Learn something new every day.
“Tell your boss you need an extra hour off.”
Sensitive enough to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble at work. Plus, this line single-handedly refutes all the data, surveys, stories, and specials about how difficult it is for professional Black women to find men.
“Get you super wet after we turn the shower off.”
Although it looks great in movies, anyone who’s ever had shower sex…or bathtub sex…or jacuzzi sex…or typhoon sex…or Allegheny River after dark when the police boats start floating towards the Ohio sex…knows that water can act as an anti-lubricant. It is, without question, the world’s great paradox.
Yet, Kanye has obviously been paying attention, and knows that it is best to wait until after the shower to start the sexual activity.
I’d break down the second verse as well, but I think we need the weekend break to process everything we learned here so far.
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)