• Alan Lomax

It’s been a few weeks since Yeezus started popping wheelies on the zeitgeist and I still have yet to see a cogent negative review of it. There are a lot of people who don’t like the record, but most of the attempts at taking it down consist of little more than ad hominem attacks on Kanye for being an unbearable egomaniac, with his own lyrics submitted as evidence.

It’s a reminder that even professional music critics are still capable of making one of the biggest mistakes you can make when analyzing a song, which is ignoring the possibility that the lyrics have a subtext beyond their most apparent interpretation. Part of the problem is rooted in a bias that’s stylistically based at best and racist at worst, which is the widespread perception that everything a rapper (or a black musician in general) says is meant to be taken absolutely at face value—if Kanye raps about wanting his damn croissant it must mean he’s actually a tantrum-throwing diva rather than someone who might be possibly be airing out his own selfish, divalike tendencies with deeply self-lacerating irony, which is actually the entire point of the song in question, “I Am a God.”