By Nick DelVescovo
Just as its name implies, “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” is a three-part documentary following the life and career of recording artist, fashion mogul and record producer, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. Before stealing the microphone from Taylor Swift at the VMA awards, the viral Tweet storms or the ten number one albums, Ye was a young producer in Chicago hustling to make a name for himself as a rapper. Directing duo Coodie & Chike followed Ye throughout his nearly two-decade career and watched his ups and downs in his journey to become the successful icon he is today. The third and final act of “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” released exclusively on Netflix on Mar. 2.
The first act, titled “VISION,” introduces us to a young and hungry Ye as he tries to break away from his producer title and become a rapper. During this act, it is apparent that no one takes Ye seriously. We see him play “All Falls Down” to executives at record label Def Jam just for them to dismiss him and laugh it off. Everyone wanted Ye for his beats but did not want to recognize him as a lyricist. His two biggest fans were himself and his mother Donda, who gave him unconditional love and support for anything he did.
The second act, titled “PURPOSE”, follows Ye’s introduction into the industry as he begins to work on his first album, “The College Dropout.” Seeing someone believe in themselves as much as Ye believes in himself is a contagious confidence. “PURPOSE” follows the first act as another nostalgic look at someone who knows they are the greatest and is waiting for their time in the spotlight. A lyric from “Last Call” off of “The College Dropout” defines this act best: “Now I could let these dream killers kill my self-esteem, or use my arrogance as the steam to power my dreams.”
The third and final act, titled “AWAKENING,” jumps ahead in time nearly a decade to bring us to the more contemporary Ye we see in headlines. Coodie and Ye had a falling out after Donda’s death and didn’t rekindle their friendship until around 2016. The time skip is a bit of a shock for anyone who doesn’t keep up with the headlines. We go from a young and hungry twenty-something trying to create his debut album to a billionaire fashion mogul with a larger than life personality. “AWAKENING” doesn’t hold back. It shows us that larger than life personality, which can sometimes be hard to watch. The third act shows his presidential run, his on-stage rants that lead him to being checked into the hospital and a side of Ye that current fans are more accustomed to. These three acts in tandem show us how Ye became who he is, and whether you like him or not, it is a wild ride.
As a fan of Ye, I loved every minute of “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy.” Coodie & Chike bring two decades of unseen footage to this trilogy. Whether or not you like Yeezy, it is worth watching. Above everything, this documentary is one to inspire. Seeing someone who believes in themself and what they do is really powerful; as corny as it sounds, it tells the audience they can do what they truly believe in. Another interesting thing that “Jeen-yuhs” does is it shows the life of the man behind the camera. We watch Coodie’s life unfold as the story progresses. Seeing Coodie’s humble lifestyle is a gratifying contrast from Ye’s braggadocious artist lifestyle.
My biggest issue with “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” is the fact that it cuts out a huge part of Ye’s life. Because of the fallout between him and Coodie which led to the time skip, we miss some crucial moments in his career. We don’t really see how the Yeezy brand was created, his deals with Nike and Adidas or the creation of some of his best albums, like “808s and Heartbreak.” While I thoroughly enjoyed this documentary, it would have been near perfect if we were able to get a look at his entire career.
Ultimately, “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” does a great job of highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly of one of the biggest names in music and fashion. Even if you aren’t a fan of Ye, there is a lot to take away from this series. “Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy” gives audiences a first hand look at perfectionism in the flesh and how it can simultaneously be a blessing and a curse.