jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy Act 1 (Vision) review

jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy - Photo Courtesy: Netflix
jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy - Photo Courtesy: Netflix /

The first act of jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, a Netflix documentary series about Kanye West directed by Coodie & Chike, hit Netflix on Wednesday, Feb. 16. The second and third parts of the three-part documentary series will release in the following two weeks.

Act I, titled “Vision,” gives an uncut, behind-the-scenes look at Kanye West before becoming a billionaire musician and fashion designer. “I’m trying to get to the point where I could drop the last name off my name,” a young Kanye West told MTV on the show You Hear It First in 2002 archive footage that was used in the first part of jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy. That was in 2002. If we fast forward to 2022, Kanye did precisely what he said he would do because, nowadays, his name is legally Ye.

Nearly all of the footage in “Act 1: Vision” was recorded by co-director Coodie Simmons, filming the Chicago-based producer Kanye West even before he became known worldwide. The idea of Kanye choosing to be filmed from day one was one of the most intelligent decisions because we were able to see his growth from the beginning.

For some people, Kanye wanting to film his musical journey from the start could come off as Kanye feeding his ego, which could prove true because he’s a creative genius and a narcissist. Kanye West’s career and complex personality has always been up in the air because we never know what Kanye West we will get that day, week, and month, and that’s why he’s one of the most entertaining and loved celebrities in the world today.

jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy Act 1 review

It was wise of Kanye to do his own documentary. No one could tell this story except for him and the people there with him. Kanye could have called VH1 and did a Behind the Music documentary, but that would’ve been way too easy, and if we’ve learned anything from Kanye over the years, he’s not going to take the easy route or follow what other celebrities will do.

The documentary is split into three sections, with the first part chronicling the early years of West’s career, from the late ’90s to the early 2000s. Coodie’s footage has an uncut retro feeling because he was able to capture behind-the-scenes material of what would become The College Dropout album.

The Kanye West that we see now in 2022 was always in him, but we could also see another side of him that shows him vulnerable and grounded at times. The confidence was also there for Kanye West. He knew that his music would eventually break through. We were able to see the Kanye West that fans fell in love with on The College Dropout  in this documentary because we were able to see a softer side of him that made him relatable to the everyday person who has dreams of making it big.

This is a forgotten side of Kanye West that has seemed to be swallowed by controversy and media stories. His mega rise to stardom and billionaire fashion designer is a long way away in the first part of the documentary, but not completely absent. We see the young Kanye still focus on making sure he’s dressed the best and making the best beats to get noticed so that he could become a member of Dame Dash and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records.

Kanye West’s determination to make it big is one of the most inspiring stories ever told because he wanted it so bad. However, his relationship with his mother made the documentary one of the best music documentaries ever created. Coodie captured some beautiful moments of Kanye and his mother, Donda.

Donda West was a cheerful, strong woman who would build her son up so that his creativity could be pushed to its limit. In one scene of the documentary, Kanye returns to his childhood home, which makes for a charming setting. You can tell how thankful Kanye was to his mom for giving him the childhood he had.

Coodie narrates the documentary, explaining how he abandoned his own dreams of being a stand-up comedian to document Kanye’s rise from one of the best hip-hop producers in the early 2000s to the mega superstar we see now. The footage dates back to 1998 and follows West as he moved from Chicago to New York City in search of a record deal caught on film by Coodie, who gives us a look into Kanye’s home and the studios he recorded in NYC.

Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy – Photo Courtesy: Netflix /

One of my favorite moments in the film is when we see Kanye fine-tuning “Jesus Walks” in his apartment and freestyling what would become “Two Words” with Mos Def. In another scene, we see Kanye playing beats for legendary rapper Scarface. One of the most humbling moments in Act 1 is when West visits the office of Dame Dash and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records to try and secure a deal. Sadly, the attempt ends with an early version of the song “All Falls Down” being performed and an executive assistant not knowing how to react to the music.

“Hopefully, with God’s blessings, and Chicago on my side, there shouldn’t be any way for me to lose, really,” he tells Coodie. Kanye’s faith and belief in God are shown throughout the first part of the docuseries. Even when he would get turned down, he still kept pushing and never lost confidence in his ability. Donda West is featured in two touching scenes at their old family home in Chicago and her apartment. In these two moments, you can tell that Kanye West appreciated the advice his mom would give him when he was feeling down.

The first part of the documentary showed us a side of Kanye West that we have never seen and the Kanye that we all miss. In the first installment, we were able to see a young and determined Kanye West that rapped and produced like he had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to be the best because of him being from Chicago and being seen only as a producer and not as a rapper at first.

In the following two parts, we should expect to see some very high highs and low lows in Kanye West’s life, including his 2002 car crash, which inspired his legendary debut song “Through The Wire.”

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