Jeen-Yuhs: Kanye Documentary Personifies a Polarizing Figure



In “jeen-yuhs”, cinematographer Coodie delivers a glimpse into Kanye West’s rising stardom, capturing the release of albums such as “The College Dropout” and “Late Registration”.

Before beginning the new “jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy,” I wasn’t sure what angle the three-episode documentary would take diving into the controversial story of Kanye West. Kanye is one of the most polarizing celebrities in the world, with countless mistakes, tragedies, and successes all in the public eye. I questioned as a Kanye fan if this documentary would introduce anything worthwhile, or simply reinforce the Kanye slander that is brought up whenever his name is mentioned in the media. Shortly into the documentary I would find out; the never before seen footage shed light on a Kanye I had never been introduced to and would soon be fascinated by.

The documentary is shown through the lens of Coodie, a young comedian turned filmmaker, who tasked himself with following a 21 year old Kanye just breaking into the hip hop scene. Kanye at the time of being introduced to Coodie was a widely known producer, but he couldn’t garner respect as the rapper he so greatly desired to be. One of the things so interesting about the documentary was the risk Coodie took to follow Kanye. Coodie dropped everything to move to New York and document a rapper with no hit songs or media recognition. This courage by Coodie led to him capturing some of the coolest moments in Kanye’s rap career.

The overarching theme to take away from “jeen-yuhs” was Kanye’s conviction to success. The transformation into a world renowned rapper from someone who labels would refuse to listen to was seemingly impossible at moments in the show. It seemed every turn Kanye took in the industry he was met by refusal. The amount of times he attempts to play “Jesus Walks” or “All Falls Down”, two of his most famous songs, for people in the industry can’t be counted on one hand. But as Kanye would describe his overconfidence as a strongpoint, he wasn’t exaggerating. Kanye’s refusal to take no for an answer was inspiring to me; that no matter how obstacles you face, or how intimidating they may seem, you’re not done until you give up.

The overarching theme to take away from “jeen-yuhs” was Kanye’s conviction to success. The transformation into a world renowned rapper from someone who labels would refuse to listen to was seemingly impossible at moments in the show.”

A unique, yet important piece of the footage I’m glad was included was Kanye and Coodie’s personal relationship. “jeen-yuhs” isn’t simply the story of Kanye West; it’s the story of Kanye being filmed by Coodie, combining their relationship with the story of Kanye. The story of a famous rapper such as Kanye, is interesting, but has been seen before. But the story of a rapper’s meteoric rise to the top, as told through the lens of a friend, is a decision that made this documentary even more worthwhile. This also includes the third episode that would highlight the disintegration of their friendship as well. Kanye asks Coodie to stop filming him for the first time, and for nearly a decade, their relationship would be torn apart. However, the journey of their friendship is all an important piece of Kanye and Coodie’s story.

While “jeen-yuhs” is only four and a half hours in length, it’s certainly something you have to be dedicated to watch. Displayed on a grainy film camera on a square screen, it’s not always easy to follow and something that requires your full attention to thoroughly enjoy. However, I fully recommend this three part series if you are a fan of music or Kanye. I was filled with emotion while watching this series that I’d never experienced to such an extent while watching any documentary. Whether it be sadness from Kanye’s connection with his mother, Donda, and how he dealt with her loss; or Wonderment at the clips within the studio of Kanye recording some of the most famous rap songs of all time are incredible. I gained a newfound appreciation of all musical artists, especially Kanye’s musical genius. However be forewarned: don’t expect to look at Kanye in the same light ever again, or have a car-ride without Kanye West music for weeks.