Everybody's talking about the EDM but Yeezus is rife with dancehall.
Few albums have been so minutely dissected and analyzed before their release as Yeezus. And while there has been much discussion of the EDM influence and the Daft Punk production and the "Strange Fruit" samples and all the rest, there has been much less discussion of the profound dancehall influence on the album. Not only is the overall sound of the record—stripped-down, hard-edged, digital—very much representative of a dancehall asesthetic, but it's full up of dancehall reggae samples.
First comes "I Am A God" which features a generous chunk of Capleton's "Forward Inna Dem Clothes."
About how wearing a "tall skirt" can show you what life's really worth. A few tracks later Assassin contributes an all-new verse to "I'm In It," bringing some intelligent gangster argument to the mix. The hottest segment of Popcaan's intro to "Blocka" by Pusha T—the part about how "None of them have the guts to buss the AK"—is chopped and screwed into "Guilt Trip."
On "Send It Up," the chorus to Beenie Man's "Memories"
(aka "Stop Live Inna De Pass") runs twice near the end of the song. And finally, on "Bound 2," Kanye gives us a hint as to his choice of holiday retreat. "How you gonna be mad on vacation?/Dutty wine around all these Jamaicans..." No, Yeezus
isn't all the way Major Lazer-ed out, but Kanye's deployment of so much dancehall sonics makes it clear that "Mercy" was no fluke and Jamaican sound system music continues to exert a powerful, if mostly under-the-radar, influence on its American nephew hip-hop. —Rob Kenner (@boomshots