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I Miss The Old Kanye: Netflix’s “Jeen-Yuhs’ Documentary Review

“Jeen-Yuhs” is a Kanye trilogy recently released on Netflix that follows Kanye's life and rise to fame. It highlights the blood, sweat, and tears it took Kanye to get to the success he has achieved today, however, it also underlines what fame and fortune can do to someone. This three-part documentary is exciting, as we are able to see Kanye through more of a raw perspective, prior to his fame. It’s filmed and produced by two of his closest childhood friends Coodie and Chike as they follow the rapper's life in action. This documentary felt bittersweet, as it was a joy to see the early years of West and how his music continues to break the boundaries in the music, and fashion industry. It's also heartbreaking to see how fame inevitably took a toll on Kanye's mental health and almost turned the once bright Kanye cold. The three parts which feature the groundbreaking success and experiences throughout his life are entitled Act I: VISION, Act II: PURPOSE, Act III: AWAKENING.

“VISION” shows young West prior to fame, as it explores all the hard work he put in behind the scenes. We witnessed Kanye struggle in being respected as an artist apart from being a producer, and furthermore use those experiences as leverage o push him to work harder and be the best. Act I exposes the unmatched work ethic that Kanye evokes; one recurrent theme this documentary expresses is that anything Kayne dreams of, he will achieve it. His mentality, hard work, and drive are what led him to score a label with Rockefeller and see his vision come into fruition right before his eyes. This younger side of Kanye, is one a lot of fans today aren't able to see quite authentically as we do in this first act of the documentary. As Act I proceeds, viewers are introduced to Donda West, Kanye's mother, and the beautiful relationship the two shared. Donda West was Kanye's biggest supporter from the very beginning, and seeing the hope she had in him, made him want to work harder and be the absolute best. This drive that his close friends and mother instilled in him continued to fuel the drive and successes that are so prevalent in his rise to fame. 

“PURPOSE” Is the second half of Kanye's three-part trilogy following the car accident that perhaps turned Kanye's world around for the best. It could be described as a blessing in disguise because instead of letting this accident set him back, he used it as a creative outlet.

“Belief is the power that fuels your purpose”

Kanye used his pain to create one of the greatest songs to exist, “Through The Wire” where he raps about his accident as his jaw is wired shut. This song is what really opened the eyes of many and got him the immense recognition he needed and deserved at that time in his career. At this point in the documentary, Kanye's career takes off rather quickly as he continues to work on his first album “The College Dropout”.

With all of the recognition Kanye's first album received, it took the world by surprise in all of the best ways possible. However the bigger he got as an artist, the more we began to see how some of his childhood relationships began to drift away in the blink of an eye. The duration of the documentary not only follows Kanye himself but follows the people he influenced by his career, which was an interesting way to go about it. It was sad to see Coodie not embark on some of Kanye's success stories the bigger he got despite being one of his closest friends, yet, it was inspiring to see how Coodie used the influence Kanye had on him to explore the dreams and life he wanted to work towards. 

Following the release of The College Dropout, Kanye was on the path of living the life he so confidently believed he would achieve. As a big big fan of Kanye myself, it was very enjoyable to see the early years of Kanye that the first two acts provided viewers with, because of how eloquently it displays how his hard work granted the greatness he acquires today and the belief that got him here.

“AWAKENING” is the last part of the Trilogy follows the more difficult and controversial side of Kanye that we see so often shown in the media today. After the release of some of his great projects like “The College Dropout”, and “Late Registration” the documentary jumps to the more recent Kanye we've grown to know in the past few years. I feel as though this part of the documentary was the most heartbreaking, as we see how death, fame, and the media affect Kanye's mental stability in various ways. We view Kanye struggle in dealing with the tragic death of his mother Donda West, and ultimately lose his spark in a way. Donda's influence was so evident, she was Kanye's light and muse and to see him lose her was hard to watch. Through the struggles and setbacks, however, one thing always seemed to remain constant with Kanye, and that was his drive to always be the greatest. That theme is what I think was always reiterated throughout the Trilogy. 

Through the struggles and controversy, Kanye has endured throughout his career, the pure talent and ability to make incredible music is what keeps people loving and always wanting more from him. Each album seems to provide fans with another aspect of authenticity that no artist seems to compare it in my opinion. I believe this documentary did a wonderful job in showing all of the sides of Kanye, whether it be him and his best or him at his lowest. Furthermore, one thing I admired is how Coodie never showed Kanye in a negative light, despite how the media would interrupt the things he went through.“Jeen Yuhs” felt personal and I think that's what can make it enjoyable to viewers. In some ways, I think it should have focused more on how his mental health affected some of the experiences he encountered because it's important to highlight things like that especially when it comes to men in the black community. Moreover, coming from a huge Kanye West fan such as myself, I did enjoy watching this and do recommend it!

Zoe Rose

Hampton U '25

Hi everyone I am a first year Journalism major with an emphasis on English & Creative Writing from New Jersey. When I'm not writing I love listening to music, spending time with friends, and doing yoga <3
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