Review: "Jeen-Yuhs"

Review: "Jeen-Yuhs"
Posted on 04/01/2022
Review: Kanye West Documentary "Jeen-Yuhs"
Meredith Seeber
Staff Writer

Given a lot of publicity by the Internet, Netflix released the Kanye West trilogy docu-series on January 23 titled Jeen-Yuhs. This three episode series was filmed and directed by filmmakers Coodie and Chike over the duration of 20 years, following West’s journey when he was a young up and coming artist in Chicago, to his height of success and controversy now.

Each episode lasted about an hour and a half, and provided an incredible perspective from someone at Kanye’s side 24/7, Coodie. Through this insight, the audience was able to see a more personal view of a stubborn struggling artist, as well as someone clearly struggling and going through a crisis.

Episode 1: The first episode focused mostly on West’s drive to be taken seriously as a rapper. He was gaining success as producer, for his beats were used in famous songs such as Jay-Z’s song “Izzo (HOVA)”; however, the audience is given the clear impression that he is not satisfied with simply being a producer. A large period of this episode illustrates the struggle West is having by trying to be signed by a record company since he is solely seen as a producer. Personally, I appreciate this episode's honesty because it helps viewers to see this billionaire, A-list rapper as extremely human. West struggled and worked hard to get where he is now-- which I believe is the intention of this episode-- West wanted us to understand his hard work and, subsequently, his genius.

Episode 2: After being signed by Roc-A-Fella Records, West struggles to shine due to his record company once again not taking him seriously; however, he has more obstacles to overcome: West is the victim of a near fatal car crash. This crash leaves the rapper with a broken jaw needing to be wired shut. My personal favorite aspect of this episode was its smooth characteristics in terms of transitioning plot lines. The audience is given insight on one of West’s most famous songs from his debut album The College Dropout, the song being “Through the Wire.” West, in his condition with a wired shut jaw after his accident, wrote, produced, and performed this specific song, further displaying the commitment to his craft. I would say that this episode especially was very effective in conveying West’s perseverance under conflicts. He didn’t let any of his circumstances be setbacks, rather he turned them into building blocks, which is incredibly admirable. As the episode progresses, we see West gain more success, but with that comes a growing ego through each grammy win.

Episode 3: In the context of a plot line, episode 2 acted as the climax of his fame whereas episode 3 focuses on his downfall as a person who is respected. No one can deny West’s brilliance with music and lyrics; unfortunately, his mental health is drastically affected from the fame, family problems, and his actions. The strong relationship between West and his mother Donda West cannot be denied throughout this series. She is constantly at his side through the good times and bad times, and he is repeatedly relying on her for support, comfort, and advice. As a result, Donda West’s unexpected death in 2007 drastically affected West and his well-being. The media consistently portrayed him as arrogant and self-absorbed, while Coodie instead showed that his controversial moments like the notorious Taylor Swift VMA awards incident and his running for president were all cries for help as a man with bipolar disorder. As an episode with many heavy topics, it is much more emotional than the others. Despite this, it was once again informative and personal, especially by helping the audience understand that what the media portrays is not always the case. My only criticism is that this episode felt very rushed because it covered a much larger span of time than the previous episodes.

Overall, this docu-series was extremely fun to watch if you are someone who listens to Kanye West, like myself, because it provides so much information as to how his career began, how his music was created, and how events in his life affected him in later years.

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