Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
Jeen-Yuhs is a documentary about the life of Kanye West, chronicling his journey from his early career as a producer to his efforts to be taken seriously as a rapper in his own right, to the massively influential – and often controversial – media powerhouse he is now.
Whatever feelings one might have about the artist as a person today, it’s fascinating to see his rise to fame and witness the genesis of the current Kanye West persona in his early struggles to make a name for himself. It’s a side of the man that the wider public doesn’t see very often, and directors Coodie and Chike make excellent use of over 21 years’ worth of archival footage to create a portrait of West as a person and a creative that is as comprehensive as they can make it, representing his trademark confidence and swagger along with a real sense of vulnerability.
The vulnerability at the heart of this documentary is most apparent in its focus on the celebrity’s relationship with his mother, Donda West. Donda is an essential part of West’s narrative, and by extension Jeen-Yuhs, which devotes much of its runtime to exploring her influence on him as a musician and as a human being. Donda’s passing in 2007 had a massive impact and her absence can be felt through the writing and direction of the production, but Jeen-Yuhs goes out of its way to celebrate her life, rather than indulging in the tragedy of her death.
Overall, Jeen-Yuhs is a thoroughly interesting look at a notorious man, which intelligently and stylishly explores the ways in which West and the industry he works in have changed over the years. There’s a real intimacy, speaking to the close relationship Coodie and Chike have with their subject, which results in a multi-faceted and engaging portrait that is consistently compelling, regardless of what its audience might think about Kanye West.
Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy is released on Netflix on 16th February 2022.
Watch the trailer for Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy here: