Becoming a captain of the music industry

Road Kanye West took to become a global icon

By Matt O'Connell

Kanye West is a global icon who has been in the music industry for well over 20 years with over 25 million sales on his dozens of albums and mixtapes. He has collaborated with the best of the best and has influenced countless artists to pursue music, and he has changed the way music is listened to forever. But it was not always this way.  As many fans of Kanye West may know, the first part of his trilogy, “jeen-yuhs,” aired on January 23. 

It began with an introduction to Kanye’s desire to be more than a producer, those who doubted him, and those who stuck with him throughout his journey to the top. The entire series comes from the camera of Coodie Simmons, a former comedian who saw the best in Kanye and made sure to film every move the rising star made. Simmons gives viewers an inside look at the trials and tribulations that Kanye had to face in the early days of his rap career. I really enjoyed watching the first episode, as it unconventionally depicted the struggles of an artist in the rap game and just how talented Kanye really is. I also enjoyed the comforting feel of the series, as it felt like I was watching a home video with my friends. The grind to the top was portrayed amazingly, and as a viewer, it marvels me to see how many people doubted Kanye in the beginning, knowing that he is an icon today. 

The most important thing that I got from the first episode was the importance of speaking life into my family and friends. Even after Kanye had gotten turned down and talked down on, his late mother, Donda, spoke life into him and gave him the unbreakable will that got everyone to start saying the name “Kanye West.”

Part two unraveled the uphill battle that Kanye and his team had to face to get to the top of the industry. Day after day, month after month, Kanye was seen in the studio sampling, writing, producing, or rapping. The insight that episode two provided me regarding the heart, dedication, and love for his people that Kanye possesses left me awestruck. Throughout his early days at “Rock-a-fella Records,” Kanye was seen as a producer first, rapper second. 

Because of this, the effort that it took to get noticed by his lyrical ability was second to none. After being shunned away and left with no help from the label, Kanye took matters into his own hands and ignited the spark that would later become one of the most successful rap careers of all time. Episode two masterfully put Kanye’s musical genius on full display by showing the process from track to track and video to video that was taken in order for him to get noticed. 

The aftermath of his debut album, “The College Dropout,” made me feel both relieved and overjoyed that I could see Kanye’s hard work paying off. As I watched, I noticed that this series effortlessly took control of my emotions and allowed me to envelop myself into the story in a way that I would have never have otherwise had the pleasure of viewing. Seeing Kanye, his mother, and the rest of his crew come from the ground to Grammy award winners satisfies the viewer immensely, which is why this episode proved to be the launching point for the series. 

The episode finishes with a preview of what was to come for Kanye’s career and just how quickly his voice, music, and influence came to the heights at which they stand today. 

After both episodes, what became evident was just how many people doubted Kanye along the way. 

Because of his production, his lyrics were overlooked. Because of his image, he was not accurately represented. Because of his actions, no one took a chance on him. 

All the while, a global superstar was just beneath the surface, waiting to be given his chance to shine.  “Jeen-yuhs” is a masterpiece that connects the man to the myth, the lyrics to the music, and the hard work to the success of Kanye West.