Fresh off the release of his comprehensive REcstatic remix of Yasiin Bey’s (f/k/a Mos Def) 2009 album The Ecstatic, deejay/producer Preservation took some time to speak with HipHopDX about his thoughts on Kanye West’s upcoming album, Yeezus, the motivation behind the now-infamously bare CD packaging and its similarity to Mos Def's late 2006 sneak-attack True Magic, which also lacked inserts and promotional roll-out.
Comparing The Packaging Of True Magic To Yeezus
“I feel like I’ve seen it also even before [Mos Def's True Magic], like from a Punk Rock or Rock band or whatever, it seems like it was just paper and they had kind of scribbled on it or something like that," said the producer who made five tracks on Mos' final album with Geffen Records. He continued, "Even like Metallica’s Black Album, those things are kind of these statements of ‘it’s about what’s inside.’ It’s not about the lights and the fame, it’s about a statement on the music and nothing else kind of matters. So I think, Mos had his [CD] black and he had his face on it and I would imagine Kanye [West] saw that and really felt the urge to do it in his own way at this time."
Mos Def, as Yasiin Bey, is now believed to be signed to West's G.O.O.D. Music. The pair has collaborated extenisvely, dating back to West's debut, The College Dropout in early 2004. Preservation deduced, "I don’t know what [Kanye West is] going through but I feel like he’s probably in a certain point where he’s always been about the music, he’s a leader in the music and I think people are losing sight of that. So for him to do that I feel like it might be this departure where he’s trying to get out of the other bullshit and just be like ‘I make music, and, if you didn’t notice, all this music is really important to the culture.’ And I’m full-heartedly in that [belief that] he’s holding the torch for a lot of different things, you know, as far as keeping the integrity correct. I don’t know, in my opinion, how I’m seeing it face value, maybe it’s this kind of thing where he’s trying to clear this stuff left and right and just be like ‘whatever’s on this, that’s what counts.’"
The Potential Rick Rubin Factor In Kanye West's Yeezus Packaging
The other Rock album that Preservation referenced is most likely California-based band System Of A Down’s 2002 release Steal This Album! which also featured a liner notes absent jewel case and handwritten font. That album, which peaked at the #15 spot on Billboard’s Top 200, was also quite noticeably produced by Rick Rubin, who is co-executive producer on Yeezus. Whether or not the shared approach to packaging is a function of Rubin’s influence on West’s more minimalist leanings is unclear; nonetheless, West has been very public in his crediting the co-founder of Def Jam Records with a new approach to making music.
Pres' added, “Whatever he needs to do to continue his art and his work, by all means, do what you do. I try not to cast any kind of judgement or anything. I think it’s a good thing, I’m eager to hear what’s on the record, you know? [Laughs] And what he’s been doing, with the projections and stuff, I like that shit. It works for the statements that he’s making in the songs.”
Kanye West’s Yeezus will be released next week on June 18. Preservation’s remix album, The REcstatic, released this week (June 12) is available for download now.
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