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Sunday, March 3
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices perspectives

Black Voices: Kanye West drops a three-part documentary


The three-part Kanye West documentary “Jeen-Yuhs” shows West’s path to greatness: starting as a talented music producer struggling to be taken seriously as a rapper to becoming one of the biggest musical artists of the 21st century.

The documentary — filmed and directed by West’s long-time friend and videographer Coodie — contains almost 20 years of footage. In the footage, viewers see Kanye's work ethic and drive, as well as how he deals with fame.

Filming a documentary as a no-name producer in the early 2000s shows how far ahead of his time West was. 

During this time, it wasn’t normal to go around with a camera filming for no reason. Now everyone with a phone wants to vlog every moment of their life. West knew what he was filming would one day be history.

The first part of the documentary follows a man who knew he was destined to be great. West was trying to get everyone to just give him a chance. The theme of the first episode was “no matter what, don't give up,” and to even get a chance to reach your dreams, you have to be almost obsessed with success.

For the first episode, West was working on his first album, “The College Dropout,” which would go on to win the Grammy award for Best Rap Album of 2004. However, not everyone saw the greatness in his album early on. 

West’s situation at that time of his life can be summed up from a single scene in the first episode. In the scene, he plays the song “All Falls Down,” in front of the label Roc-A-Fella executives while trying to get signed.

The executives stared at West while he rapped the song, and the scene ended with West walking out of the studio looking disappointed.

Today, the song is still one of his most popular records, and it won the Grammy for best rap song of 2004. It’s almost impossible to think about hearing that song and sitting still. It’s hard not to be inspired by how far he has come.

West was taken for granted, and every time he never seemed close to giving up. He was always motivated and ready to figure out what he was going to do next.

By the second part, he had a record deal with Roc-A-Fella records but was still fighting to get a release date for his album. By the end of the episode, “The College Dropout,” was released and West started to receive the fruits from his labor. 

Watching West go from fighting to get his music out there to winning at the Grammys giving his acceptance speech is heartwarming for any creator. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

In the final episode, viewers see the biggest space of time, showing Kanye from the early success of his first album to the megastar and household name we know today. We see West dealing with the death of his mom and dealing with the fame and fortune he worked so hard for in the first two episodes.

At the end of the episode and series, we see a man who has gotten to the top of the world but is still dealing with the problems of being human. West openly talked about his problems with mental health and thoughts of suicide.

This docuseries humanizes one of the biggest artists of the last two decades and shows even once you get to the top, the people closest to you will keep you grounded.

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