Photo credits: “Kanye West” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Diego Quintana
Kanye West’s 21-year-old documentary has finally dropped and it couldn’t have been at a more ironic time. This documentary has been in the making since the late 90s and even in the first episode alone you can tell how ambitious and driven Kanye was about being more than “just a producer.”
“Jeen-yuhs” is a three-part netflix documentary that is filmed and directed by Coodie & Chike, documenting rapper and producer Kanye West, also known as Ye, as of October 2022, that highlights Kanye’s professional and personal life showing raw footage of Ye and his friends and family. This documentary includes his unfortunate car accident from 2002, highlights of his late mother, Donda, his presidential campaign in 2020 and more iconic moments from his life. The three-part series is perfectly named after how Ye acts in each part; the three titles are named VISION, PURPOSE and AWAKENING. This documentary shows that Ye truly did manifest his life into existence and his success.
The first part of the docuseries, VISION, begins with Kanye in ‘98 as a producer. The whole first part begins with his background, telling everyone that he is gonna be a star and how he’s gonna be the next Jay-Z. Mostly everyone around him didn’t believe him, but Coodie saw something in him, which led to the docuseries being born. Kanye even said that he wants to be famous enough to be able to drop his last name and people would still know who he is talking about. And that he “has something in his heart that people need to hear.” Ye began working on beats for his own songs and rapping to them and pitching his beats to different agencies. But no one would say “yes” because he was a producer. After many pitches he finally got an offer from Roc A Fella Records as an artist and would be releasing his first single.
PURPOSE starts off with Ye finally starting his career as a rapper and insists on being known as a rapper first and producer second. The second part of this docuseries highlights Kanye’s car accident where his jaw was broken in three places causing his mouth to be wired shut. Coodie thought that he would never be able to rap again, until he received a call from Kanye rapping with his mouth wired shut. Even after five months, Kanye still needed surgery, but he skipped it to be able to get his songs out faster, he wasn’t willing to miss a beat. Kanye had finally been able to produce his first music video, “Through the Wire.” Roc A Fella Records had finally given him the ability to produce his first album, “The College Dropout.” His new album had even earned him ten Grammy nominations including best song, new artist, and album of the year.
Lastly, the final part of the docuseries, AWAKENING, shows Ye’s upbringing from grammy nominees to his next album “Graduation” and the death of Ye’s mother, Donda West. After Donda’s death, it was obvious that Kanye was grieving, but he still kept working. Years later, Kanye had been hospitalized again, on a psychiatric evaluation. Coodie didn’t even know that he was struggling with his mental health after not filming for over six years. Coodie had thought for years that the documentary was over, but he realized that there was even more of his story that he could tell.
There were many times that Coodie had believed that the documentary was done, but Kanye insisted that they keep filming because “he wasn’t ready for the world to see the real him.” Although he was able to tell them to keep filming for more years, he was not in the final say on his documentary. He didn’t have a final edit although he demanded one, and had even publicly posted on instagram to the producers, “I’m going to say this kindly for the last time. I must get [the] final edit and approval on this doc before it releases on Netflix,” and, “Open the edit room immediately so I can be in charge of my own image. Thank you in advance.”
Even after these posts, Coodie spoke out saying that if Kanye had final edit over the documentary that it wouldn’t have been “good for the filmmaking,” especially since his documentary isn’t an autobiography.
After watching this docuseries, it’s honestly so cool to see Ye’s come-up from being just a random producer from Newark to the famous rapper he is today. It shows how Kanye has been working for what he has all his life and didn’t stop until the world knew who he was. Even having his jaw wired shut, he still was in the hospital room working not letting anything stop him. This series really showed how much Kanye believed that he would be the greatest rapper and how much his manifestations were able to come true. Honestly, seeing his drive and passion is so moving and inspiring to see what can be done with enough motivation.
Lauren Flynn-Miller is a second-year Interdisciplinary Studies major with minors in American Sign Language and Journalism. LF954013@wcupa.edu