A week ago, I finished watching the jeen-yuhs documentary about Kanye West on Netflix. I absolutely loved it.
For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a three-part documentary following Kanye from nearly 20 years ago to the present.
Footage is all shot by a friend of his named Coodie. Basically, Coodie hosted a local TV show covering hip hop in Chicago in the early 2000s. He became friends with Kanye and was convinced he was special. So he started filming him.
The result is just incredible footage and access from a very early stage in his life.
Anyway these are my thoughts. If you haven’t watched it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Even if you don’t like Kanye or hip hop. It’s still worth it.
The first episode of the jeen-yuhs documentary introduces the main protagonists, which are obviously Kanye but also the filmmaker Coodie, who serves as a nice counterbalance throughout.
This episode was by far my favorite.
Kanye was not some talent discovered that became famous and successful overnight. Instead, he started out as a music producer making beats. His seeming big break came when he produced the beat for Jay-Z’s hit, H to the Izzo.
But his goal was to become a rapper, not just a producer.
Even after his success as a producer, he could not find any support as an artist. Everyone just boxed him in as a beat-maker. He couldn’t get signed anywhere.
At this point, the amount of self-confidence and self-belief that he exhibited is just incredible. This is the best part of the documentary! He made his own success. He looked for every opportunity to show his talents and made life happen for him.
This is the exact mindset that we all need! It’s truly incredible to watch. And it’s his mother who obviously gives him this confidence and support.
Part II of the jeen-yuhs documentary starts with Kanye’s final signing with Roc-a-fella records and the release of his debut album, The College Dropout.
This remains one of my favorite albums ever. It hit when I was a junior in high school. I’m not a music critic or really knowledgable about music beyond my own preferences. But I can tell you that this album was just different. Listening to it today is still so refreshing. He even covers some great FIRE principles in the album!
This sets Kanye off on his trajectory to stardom.
This time period is really interesting. We get so much inside footage. Seeing how he reacted to fame based on the challenges he endured and the attitude and mindset that brought him success. It all starts to make a little more sense.
We also see the struggle after the tragic passing of his mother after having an elective plastic surgery procedure.
As things come to a head, we transition to Part III…
The filmmaker Coodie is the first to admit in the documentary that he and Kanye grew apart in this stage of the documentary.
This hits a low when, for the first time, Kanye asks Coodie to stop filming him. Which makes it all the more heart warming as we eventually see the two reconnect.
But things are definitely different now. Kanye is an icon, for better or worse now. Everyone has an opinion, whether it is love or hate. His George W. Bush and Taylor Swift controversies have all taken place at this point.
In fact, he’s now attempting a run for president.
And then things come to a bit of a head. They are in the Dominican Republic and Coodie is filming a meeting between Kanye and some business partners. It ends up with a bit of a manic monologue which Coodie cuts short and doesn’t feel comfortable filming.
The jeen-yuhs documentary ends with the impending release of his latest album, Donna, named after his late mother.
So what is the conclusion?
There is none. The story is not over. And I don’t think anyone can judge. But for me, it was amazing to see a flawed genius in such genuine and vulnerable moments.
Because we are all flawed. We all deal with hidden issues. We all create self inflicted wound. And we all try to improve. And we never reach perfection. But we also don’t all have a microscope on us with immediate commentary and criticism.
If for nothing else, his path to success was something I found really inspirational.
So again, I highly recommend watching it! You can check it out here.
What do you think? Have you seen the jeen-yuhs documentary? Will you watch it? Let me know in the comments below!