Kanye West Netflix Documentary Series: Jeen Yuhs
Episode i: VISION – Review
Presented in the classic style of documentaries, Jeen Yuhs tells the story of Kanye West’s rise to fame through the eyes of people who “knew him when”. When I say the “classic style of documentaries”, I’m referring to the editing and compiling of “home videos” – non-artistic videos taken in the moment to preserve it for posterity – with added captions and voice-over narration. This is not at all a criticism. Nowadays, with all the Photoshop-ed Supermodel ads and glossy Snapchat filters, it’s nice to see something so obviously real, despite “poorer” video quality.
Episode 1 (or i) is actually quite the eye-opener into Kanye’s personality. For people who only see him in TV interviews or at awards shows, he’s been known to have an arrogant attitude and has often been criticized for remarks he’s made. This documentary brings us back – all the way back – to Kanye at home. We meet his mother and get to see how he interacts with people outside of the limelight. He’s confident, playful, generous to strangers, respectful to his mom.
It’s also fascinating as a lover of music to see how he came up in the Rap and Hip-Hop Industry in such a grass-roots kind of way. He went through struggles to get to where he is now and that has informed certain career choices. It’s also surprising to me to know that so few people made it in that business from the city of Chicago before him. I also enjoyed learning that his lyrics, at least when he started, came from the life he’d lived, rather than jumping on the bandwagon of endorsing a life of crime and violence. (I can’t speak to his current sound or lyrics, but I’m hoping that the third piece of the series will get into that).
As I’m not really a Rap or Hip-Hop fan, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this documentary – or the opening piece of it – as much as I did. I’m looking forward to seeing what Episodes ii & iii bring.