Lou Reed on Kanye West: 'No One's Doing What He's Doing, It's Not Even on the Same Planet'

The singer calls West's latest release "majestic and inspiring."

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Rock veteran Lou Reed gave the latest Kanye West release "Yeezus" several listens and summed up his opinions in an exclusive Talkhouse review.

In a nutshell, Reed sang praises of the rapper's new effort, calling it "majestic and inspiring."

"Kanye West is a child of social networking and hip-hop," he kicked off. "And he knows about all kinds of music and popular culture. The guy has a real wide palette to play with. That's all over 'Yeezus.' There are moments of supreme beauty and greatness on this record, and then some of it is the same old sh-t. But the guy really, really, really is talented. He's really trying to raise the bar. No one's near doing what he's doing, it's not even on the same planet."

Reed continued, saying, "People say this album is minimal. And yeah, it's minimal. But the parts are maximal. Take 'Blood on the Leaves.' There's a lot going on there: horns, piano, bass, drums, electronic effects, all rhythmically matched - towards the end of the track, there's now twice as much sonic material. But Kanye stays unmoved while this mountain of sound grows around him. Such an enormous amount of work went into making this album. Each track is like making a movie."

The singer also noted that Kanye is "just begging people to attack him" on several points on the record, calling some of his actions "a dare" or "braggadoccio." However, he ultimately confessed that some of the moments make his "hair stand on end."

"It's all the same sh-t, it's all music - that's what makes him great," Reed concluded. "If you like sound, listen to what he's giving you. Majestic and inspiring."

"Yeezus" dropped on June 18 via Def Jam as the rapper's sixth studio effort. With 327,000 copies sold in the US within the first week, it easily topped the Billboard 200 chart.

77 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Lou Reed on Kanye West: 'No One's Doing What he's Doing, It's Not Even on the Same Planet'..... is he talking about that kardashian girls ass?
    Should we wait for "LuKa"?
    haha, but seriously as far as rap music goes Kanye West is one of the only artists with lyrical substance who has managed to stay relevent
    I think he's the opposite of that. He's arguably the most important hip-hop producer of the last decade--the dude has definitely made some great beats--but his lyrics have always been juvenile and sometimes cringe-worthy.
    I suppose it's relevAnt, but I'd rather agree - I've heard his stuff, it's more eclectical and interesting than the other rappers' one.
    He used to be a good rapper with good messages on his first two albums until he turned into a gayfish with a huge ego.
    Late Registration was brilliant, lyrical wise and musically wise, but other than that he holds a pretty low standard. And that crap he did with Jay-Z was one of the worst collab albums of all time
    Ummm...relevant? More like rip-off. I can name more rappers that not only sound better, but have been doing what he's done years before he was even on the map.
    He has potential but I haven't heard anything compelling from him lately. As for lyrical substance + (commercial) relevance, I'd say Eminem's on top. Obviously Nas as well, but he's not nearly as commercially successful, not that that really matters anyway.
    Agreed, the stuff on 8 Mile is brilliant lyrically. He really nailed that album. He's always been a strong lyricist, even if his later efforts got a bit repetitive
    After reading this, I legitimately gave Blood on the Leaves a listen, unbiased. Needless to say I did not feel the same as Reed here.
    Hard to take Lou serious after the abomination that was Lulu to be honest. He had his share of good music (although his music is not my style) I accept that, but now he's just getting to old to think straight
    Lou Reed was awesome a long time ago but i think just quietly he lost his mind somewhere along the way
    I'm sorry, but he basically didn't write anything on Transformer, but he did Metal Machine Music shortly after. Reed has been a pioneer in drugs and experimental music. West might be an *****, but at least he's taking chances as a popular artist with his albums.
    Well I think his stuff with Aluminium Bikerack in the 60's was excellent, not a huge fan of transformer, except Perfect Day. The AB years are so tragically overlooked.
    Surely this piece of news is here just for the sensation, but many respectable music reviewers have praised Yeezus for being daring and innovative. The most popular newspaper in Finland called Kanye West the new Prince. The record is really something else, but I can see why people dismiss it easily when I take the musical taste of an average UG user into account. And I'm not trying to sound like a musical snob, but just because it's hip-hop doesn't mean it's bad. Hell, even most hip-hop fans won't like the album since it pushes the boundaries so hard. I have tremendous respect for Kanye West for even daring to make a record like this. He could've done something much more commercially acceptable, but he chose to do this - out of passion for music and in fact, for art.
    In a lot of ways Yeezus is an inferior version of Saul Williams' "The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust." Trent Reznor was heavily involved on the album. So if you like Yeezus, check out Niggy Tardust. And if you don't like Yeezus, check out Niggy Tardust.
    Wonder what Lou Reed would say if he listened to a real music album, like Colors.
    He'd probably come to the conclusion that while it is wildly technical, it's also pretty damn boring.
    If Lou Reed says its good, then my music taste says that its probably awful in every way.
    The main base of this website seems to hate both Lou Reed and Kanye West. So I'm not surprised this article has been so down voted. But Yeezus is actually a really good album. And Lou Reed kicks ass.
    Mind Kill
    Hating Kanye is the new cool thing apparently. He's one of the most talented artists in the Hip Hop genre right now.
    That's completely untrue. There's much better talent out there that Kanye couldn't even hold a candle to. He's a decent producer, I'll give him that, but he's went from being an ok lyricist to a god awful lyricist in the span of a few years. He's nothing special at all.
    Mind Kill
    Still better than most other big Hip Hop artists. Kanye isn't my favourite in any way, but he's one of the better newer ones still.
    Yeezus is a great album
    It was ok, but I think the more stripped down Kanye was a hit and miss. At least for me. Second half was a bit forgettable except the final track. I also disagree with Lou Reed. Kanye's a great producer but he's not really doing anything original. It's more like he takes some of the rising underground styles. Nothing wrong with that as I think it's cool for someone in the mainstream to actually be aware of the trends.
    If people disliking the article actually took the time to put the bandwagon hate for Lou Reed and every rapper alive behind, they would see that Reed is actually speaking sense here.
    Stephen Vaughn
    Yeah because we should take Lou Reeds opinion on what good music is....
    no we shouldn't because he was only in one of the most awesome bands that ever existed (aka The Velvet Undergroud) -add sarcasm-
    HURR DURR KONYAY IIZ A GHEYFICH LOLOL AMIRITE GAIZ From the sounds of it, you're all hating Kanye just because of the negative press he's garnered along the years.
    No, actually the hate for Kanye comes from the fact that he's an extremely mediocre rapper. I don't care in the slightest what he says or does in his free time.
    Really Kayne west is my favorite rapper , normally i listen to blues music but dam ! That guy is doing some weird thing with music and i like it ! His new album is awsome but not the best ... Anyway Kayne is always bringing something new to the table
    Kanye's demeanor is so off-putting that I will never check out his music. I think it's a disgrace that my generation made this clown famous.
    Lou Reed actually made some sense! He pretty much hit the nail on the head on why I like Kanye/Yeezus.
    I'm not a fan of rap music at all, but I tried to listen to the record just to see if it was a good record within a rap context. I think it isn't. It's waaaaay overproduced. If your credits feature more producers than actual musicians the thing's gonna sound like crap. Well, at least you could argue that it's a little more listenable than Metal Machine Music.
    "Well, at least you could argue that it's a little more listenable than Metal Machine Music." Not by much, though.
    Lou Reed should heap startled and effusive praise on anything resembling music.
    After hearing some tracks off Yeezus, I'm kind of glad no one else is doing what he's doing. Same old electronic noise stuff that's been popular for the last two or three years, with Kanye's self-possessed lyrics anyways. Meh.
    Ok seriously, I'm listening to yeezus, sure it's different, but it's still shit. Not because it's rap, I like alot of rap. I really don't like it when people do something different and out there just for the reason of being different and out there. First priority should always be making the best music you can, and if this is the best he can he's not that ****ing good.
    I'm sure Kanye is good within the world of hip-hop, but I can't take a "musician" who needs 8-10 other people to write a 3 minute song, along with 4-6 producers.
    Kanye West's lyrics aren't anything special. At all. xD I can think of 10 rappers who have a more developed vocabulary with a capacity to put more complex/impressive flows together.