jeen-yuhs: A Kanye West Trilogy

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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 28: Kanye West performs at the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards at Madison Square Gareden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for MTV.com)
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The first of three films documenting Kanye West rise from a small Chicago producer to a global phenomenon landed on Netflix screens on Wednesday, Feb. 16. Coodie Simmons Jr narrates and directs the three films.

Humble Beginnings before Superstardom

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We are treated to a behind the scenes look at Kanye West before he became a global superstar. The idea Kanye and Coodie had to film his progression was an intelligent decision as it gives us a unique look at the hard work Kanye put in to progress to where he is today.

We are treated to a goosebumps moment early on when Coodie explains how he knew Kanye was unique, so he gave up everything and followed him for the next two decades documenting his rise to global stardom.

Turmoil

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Recently Kanye has been in the media for his continued messy break-up with Kim Kardashian and his dislike for Kim’s new partner Pete Davidson. Seeing Kanye in the media recently -shows what a complex personality he is. We see this in act I, where Kanye reacts to the Doug Infinite diss track – with initial anger followed quickly by sadness.

The truth is, we never know what kind of Kanye will appear today or tomorrow. Kanye has had mental health struggles – but beyond Kanye’s polarizing personality, we see him at his creative best when we see footage of him making songs such as Jesus Walks and Family Business.

One of the saddest moments in act I is seeing Kanye play All Falls Down to the Roca-Fella executive assistants and receiving a non-excited reaction that sees a young Kanye retreat from the office forlornly.

Behind The Scenes with a Hip-hop God

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Kanye West is a creative genius, and we are granted an unprecedented behind the scenes look at him creating beats and rapping in the company of hip hop greats. You can sense the gratitude Kanye has for signing his Roca-Fella recording contract. It is fascinating to see how a global superstar once celebrated signing a deal by going to a fast-food restaurant.

When Donda West appears, we notice immediately the respect he has for his mother. When he’s telling her about when he first played the beat to Jay-Z for the smash hit Izzo – you get a real sense of their close relationship during this scene. You can’t help but imagine how much the loss of his Mum has affected him -she was by far Kanye’s biggest fan.

Yeezy: Through the Years

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The Kanye West that we see now in 2022 was always in him – We see flashes of it in act I – but we also see another more vulnerable side, especially before signing his recording contract with Roca-Fella.

For some people, Kanye wanting to film his musical journey from the start could come off as feeding his ego. Some people may call it egotistical, and maybe they are right. But this is a unique opportunity to see how far he has come from that hungry producer to a global music superstar.

According to many, Kanye and his reputation are in tatters. But Jeen-yuhs act I makes you realize you are in the presence of greatness. 

Act II and III cannot come quickly enough.

Any fan of Kanye should check out our recent look at essential Kanye West tracks.

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