Netflix’s Kanye West Docuseries ‘Jeen-yuhs’ Ends on a Dark and Disturbing Note

No artist can advertise a project like Kanye Westand buzz around Jen-yuhs, a trove of documents documenting Ye’s rise from the streets of Chicago to a global icon, was scandalous. More than two decades in the making, Clarence “Coodie” and Chike Ozah’s iconic Western portrait of the West has grossed $30 million — just for their subject. , quite boldly, final cut request (or “responsible for my own image”) ahead of its February 16 debut on streamer. Despite his objections, the three-part film premiered Sunday night during the fantasy Sundance 2022 Film Festival, offering viewers an insight into the wild world of the West.

Sadly, a brief glance is all you get during the document’s 4.5-hour runtime.

The story begins in 1998, as Coodie, an aspiring stand-up comic and the host of a Chicago public outreach show. Channel Zero, conducted an interview with a young Westerner at Jermaine Dupri’s 1998 birthday party. Soft-spoken, bespectacled, and hidden in the shadows of rapper Ma$e and his group Harlem World, West is a far cry from the fearless bravado he would soon become. A friendship formed between the filmmaker and the subject, and as West’s star emerged, setting the pace for a slew of artists from Roc-A-Fella and Rawkus Records, he hired Coodie & Chike to record all his actions, so much so that he is convinced he is himself. stars – and they hope to create Hoop Dreams of hip-hop material.

Though it doesn’t come close to those heights, Jen-yuhs does not contain many inspirational and heartfelt moments. We watch West play the beats for Mos Def and Talib Kweli — Black Star — in his car; burst into the offices of random people at Roc-A-Fella to play a demo of “All Falls Down”; repeatedly rejected by brands, including Roc-A-Fella, who tied him for years to exploit his manufacturing capabilities; used $33,000 of his own money to bank the music video for the breakout hit “Through the Wire”, because Roc-A-Fella wouldn’t allocate any resources; and watch Pharrell run away from the set with glee after hearing it for the first time, announcing his next big thing. Coodie, who narrated the story, said: “Even though he was standing so close to his dream, it still felt so far away.

Along the way, West is not only more sensitive than your average rapper, but also yearns for more acceptance. When a former mentor released a rebuttal song about West, he rolled with him in the street and seemed about to burst into tears. He then returned to the arms of his supportive mother, Donda, who healed him by rapping an original song of his that she loved. West’s relationship with his mother is the beating heart of the film; The more popular West became, the harder it became for him to cling to her. “Like the older he got, the more he wanted her around,” Coodie observed, noting how his demeanor seemed to change after her death in 2007.

In an interview with Diversity, Chike description Jen-yuhs as “a faith-based journey divided into three acts: vision, purpose, and awakening,” adding, “[West] have no control over it. He trusts us. We don’t make a biased movie. We’re not trying to advertise for Kanye. ”

That claim is pretty hard to believe after looking at the docs. After the release of West’s Grammy-winning debut album College dropout, Coodie & Chike lost access to their thread for decades, reconnecting with him in 2017. By that time, however, the arrangement had changed. Instead of following West to wherever he went, filming was mostly limited to parties and/or the occasional taping. The Kardashians are not so much as mentioned – or discovered – once in the whole endeavor.

At various points, the filmmakers even chose to stop filming West when he started shooting to preserve the reputation of their friend — like a surreal scene in the Dominican Republic, where, during an encounter Secretly meeting with a pair of shady-looking real estate developers, West continues to bring the conversation back to his 5150 mental asylum. They decided to put the camera down after he randomly compared reflections following the incident where Taylor Swift was dragged by a horse. The very next day, West going through an emotional crisis during his campaign rally in South Carolina, lamenting abortion with tears.

At various points, the filmmakers even chose to stop filming West when he started shooting in order to preserve the reputation of their friends…

The last half hour of Jen-yuhs captures a born Westerner entering a dark space again, with many in his camp worried that he is manic but unwilling to talk to him about it. One of the only scenes where the smile returns to his face occurs in a car, as he watches Fox News’ Tucker Carlson praise his anti-abortion boom in South Carolina. “No lyricist wrote that. And that’s a dangerous point, if you think about it. They can say they love you. They can tell you the problems in your life. But if they mess up your neighborhood with abortion clinics, they’re lying,” Carlson said, prompting West to turn on camera and cheer. “This is the truth, man! He puts it in context! ” he exclaimed. “Boom! Bap-bap-bap! We stand! We don’t kneel anymore! We stand now! ”

One of the scenes that stuck in my mind appeared much earlier in the movie, during his days as a producer. We see West approach a young boy who wanders the lobby of a recording studio. He bragged to the kid – who couldn’t be more than 7 – about the countless hits he had produced for Jay-Z, including “H to the Izzo.” The boy stared blankly at him, mumbling “great,” hopping on his Razor Scooter and gliding away as the camera turned to West, looking confused.

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