jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy directors Coodie & Chike talk music, Kanye, and more

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

In the three-part, four-and-a-half-hour Netflix docuseries jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, music fans can see the rise of Kanye West. The documentary was created by the filmmaking team of Coodie and Chike.

Coodie Simmons was a stand-up comedian and host of a local public access show in Chicago, who met up and coming producer Kanye West in 1998. Coodie was inspired by the legendary documentary Hoop Dreams to start filming Kanye, which turned out to be an essential moment in Coodie and Kanye West’s life.

We were able to see an early viewing of jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy and have the chance to interview Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah about the film.

Coodie & Chike talk jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy

What it was like to hear the earlier versions of “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks”?

Coodie Simmons: It was amazing because of what he was saying, ’cause he was saying more than “I’m going to shoot somebody” or “I got a Bentley.” You had the conscious rappers like Mos Def and Talib Kweli, but Kanye was like that in between, and he was representing a lot of people that weren’t being represented in hip-hop at the moment. So to hear “Jesus Walks,” and I’m a believer of Jesus Christ, to listen to Kanye say “Jesus walks” made us want to make people believe.

Chike Ozah: “Jesus Walks” for sure powerful for me, and I was like, “Wow, he had that Malcolm X energy to me and Martin Luther King energy,” like it could be a movement that could happen when I heard “Jesus Walks.” That’s what got my ear because nobody was rapping like that, and nobody was coming with a message like that. I was sold on his production, and “Jesus Walks” was his first rap that I heard.

Were you guys surprised when Kanye changed his name to Ye after saying he would drop the West part in part 1 of the documentaries?

Coodie Simmons: When you look at the documentary, and even before he said that, we call him Ye. It shows that Kanye manifested that moment, and seeing that footage and seeing him change his name to Ye shows that we are just moving in the right direction. You have to look at all the signs to know that you are moving in your purpose.

Chike Ozah: Yeah, All the homies used to call him Ye, and be like, “What up Ye?”

What it was like to see Kanye’s complete reaction when Dug Infinite dissed him on the radio?

Coodie Simmons: I knew that was going to be special. Dug Infinite is a good friend of mine, and I knew Dug and No I.D. before I knew Kanye because I’m their age. I’m six years older than Kanye. Dug was always an inspiration to all of us. For us to run into Dug earlier that day and show Kanye love, but then to see that diss record ’cause he thought Kanye didn’t shout him out when it was the press’s fault for creating a story. For Kanye to take it in such a mature way that he showed how amazing he is. Kanye told dug that he was going to be his brother regardless. It shows how to overcome adversity, causes us to go straight over to Momma West’s house after that and for her to give all that knowledge/advice to Kanye and even me, and now she’s about to provide the same fantastic advice to the world. It’s just so powerful, man, for us to tell this story.

What did you think of jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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