It was only a matter of time before we would be blessed with the children of the Kanye West’s sound.
One of the greatest joys in music is not only witnessing our favorite artists evolve into legacy acts, but seeing the amount of influence they cultivate late into their career. While many legends are no longer actively releasing music, there are still a handful of seasoned creatives still operating at their peak — and Kanye West is undoubtedly the greatest example of this.
Time and time again, we have seen Kanye leave no stone unturned. Since the beginning of his career, he has laid a foundation and blueprint behind his creative processes, how he attacks song structures and, most importantly, how he is constantly pushing music forward. Normalcy has never been keen to Kanye, and in belated celebration of his 45th birthday this week (June 8), we reflect on how much he’s given — and will continue to contribute — to the culture.
Ye has become known for utilizing more ethereal, euphoric, gospel-influenced sounds in his work as of late. Touting uplifting piano chords, soul-striking synths and auto-tuned vocals used as instruments, Ye is one of the artists who are leading the pack when it comes to experimenting with his creative style. While Kid Cudi can mentioned in the same vein, the YZY school of music came in full force with new sounds last weekend (June 3), as Ye’s disciples showcased their ascension as the new wave of YZY Sound.
YZY’s genre-defying talents all boast different skillsets, strengths and sounds, as 070 Shake released her sophomore album You Can’t Kill Me, KayCyy released his mixtape Get Used To It and Vory released his new project Lost Souls.
070 Shake is signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music label, and earned her big break in 2018 when she appeared on Pusha T’s “Santeria” off Daytona, as well as her appearances on Ye album cuts “Violent Crimes” and “Ghost Town.” Shake has been very vocal about just how much Kanye inspired her musical style and how much she looks up to him.
“All my life I grew up listening to Kanye West and Kid Cudi. I’ve cried to their music. They’ve definitely changed my life, and saved me from a lot of stuff.”070 Shake via Pigeons & Planes
On her new album You Can’t Kill Me, the Kanye inspiration and influence is noticed instantly on the opening track “Web.” The synth-heavy intro brings listeners into her world and captures the soul, making one feel as if they are in an alternate universe. The entire project sports chilling cinematic elements filled with highs and lows. You never know what direction Shake will go in, and she is nurturing into her own artistry, all while supporting the Kanye brand directly.
KayCyy first appeared alongside Ye last year on “Keep My Spirit Alive” off his grandiose Donda record. The ever-evolving album was, well, changed, as KayCyy’s chorus was removed from the album replaced by Kanye himself. Not long after, the Minnesota-native’s vocals were added back on on Donda’s deluxe edition — proving that KayCyy’s greatness is undeniable, and his contributions will never go unnoticed.
On Get Used To It, KayCyy opens perfectly with a choir sample and chilling keys that makes listeners want to close their eyes and imagine the world KayCyy is creating. Touting a feature from Lancey Foux, the beat then switches entirely halfway through as the tempo then picks up and chaos commences.
With an album that’s hard to place a label on. KayCyy showcases just how diverse his ear for music is — taking listeners on a rollercoaster-like musical adventure of many flows, sounds and instrumentations. This album is unpredictable, and that’s what makes it immensely interesting. The unknown being discovered for the first time is giving that feeling that listeners first experienced when Kanye dropped his 2013 Yeezus album, which was initially met with mixed reviews, but soon formed into a cult classic for its risk-taking aesthetic and direction.
Vory, who’s signed to Meek Mill’s Dreamchasers imprint, has spent a lot of time around Kanye over the past year or so. His knack for songwriting initially earned him the opportunity and honor of winning his first-ever GRAMMY for his work on Jay Z & Beyonce’s Everything Is Love (2019) — also earning a nomination on Drake’s Scorpion. On 2021’s Donda, Vory stole the spotlight with his transcending vocal prowess on tracks like “Jonah,” No Child Left Behind” and “God Breathed.”
“Daylight,” which was the second track off Lost Souls, features Kanye himself, as Vory croons over production from Kanye and 88 Keys. Vory is still keeping the Donda momentum high, continuing to utilize all he’s learned from Ye and implementing it into his own music. From the get-go, emotions and tensions run high, with tracks like “Lesson Learned” and “Happy Bday 2 U” sees Vory toxically lamenting over muffled piano chords, deep bass and pitched-up vocals.
After sitting with all three albums this past week, it’s been amazing to hear the impact that Ye has on some of the new wave’s fastest-rising stars. Most of the time, we don’t get to witness the full inspiration of an artist until he or she has stepped aside for a long period of time. With that said, the fact that Kanye is still here — continually breaking barriers sonically and culturally — is a blessing. Knowing that his sound will continue to live on, even when he is no longer creating, is a testament to his legacy as not only a musician, but a generational all-encompassing creative.
Ultimately, KayCyy, Shake and Vory are here to stay — crafting compelling, thought-provoking music that will most certainly stand the test of time. Immersing listeners into their respective worlds, Ye’s eventual passing of the torch is in great hands with the new YZY Sound.