BUZZ BEATS: Family Business by Kanye West


Illustrated by Isabella Balseiro

Kanye "Ye" West, born on June 8, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia, is an American producer, rapper, and fashion designer, rising to fame in the 2000s with his Hip-Hop/Rap music. Currently, he has around 10 Studio Albums and loads of singles. According to the Grammy’s official website, “With 21 GRAMMYs, West is one of the top GRAMMY winners in history, and is tied with Jay Z as the highest-decorated hip-hop artist.”

Family Business, the 20th track off of his 2004 album, "The College Dropout," tells a story, mixing experiences of a family reunion with the help of singer, Tarrey Torae, to encompass the nature of family and its complications. The entire story replicates how each person shares a different personality, allowing the listener to feel as though they know exactly who’s being talked about, and what they are like. The track ties back to Ye's roots of R&B/Soul and Gospel music, with hints of Children's music throughout. 

This song is a very interesting topic too, as back in the early 2000s, many rap songs focused solely on sex, drugs, money, violence, and women. This song combated that entirely, opening the rap game to a softer, simpler side, focusing on the good sides of family, and how nobody can take that away.

According to an interview with "Complex," Tarrey Torae explains how Kanye is telling the story of her experiences. She states, "Kanye was like, 'I need this to be about real-life family,'" recalled Tarrey. "I’m the oldest of 48 grandkids on my mom’s side and I'm in the middle of 36 grandkids on my father’s side. So when he said, 'I need material.' I was like, 'I got plenty of material.'"

Although I'm not a huge fan of Ye, I have to admit that this song is really good. It has great lyrics, a beautiful meaning, and overall just an enjoyable, feel-good feeling to it. Throughout the song, I found myself having to pause, and rewind, since some of the lyrics had such an effect on me, that I immediately needed a re-listen. From my first listen, to listens after, I adore this song and would recommend this to anyone interested.

Here are a few of my favorite lyrics from this track:

  • "As kids, we used to laugh, who knew that life would move this fast?/Who knew I'd have to look at you through a glass?"
  • I can't deny it, I'm a straight rider/But when we get together, be Electric Slidin'
  • You know that one auntie, you don't mean to be rude/But every holiday, nobody eating her food
  • And you don't wanna stay there 'cause them your worst cousins/Got roaches at they crib like them your first cousins
  • A creative way to rhyme without using nines and guns/Keep your nose out the sky, keep your heart to God/And keep your face to the risin' sun
  • I feel like, one day, you'll understand me, dawg/You can still love your man and be manly, dawg
  • Y'all gon' sit down, have a good time this reunion/And drink some wine like Communion/And act like everything fine and if it isn't/We ain't letting everybody in our family business, uh

This week's edition of "Buzz Beats" was recommended by Junior, Isabella Mott. The reason she states that she loves this song is, "I think 'Family Business' represents family in a heart warming way, making you want to go back and listen to it over and over. Kanye talks about family dynamics and how they interact with one another. The song is relatable for most people, making it worth the listen. Not only do I think the lyrics are meaningful to listen to, but the song is catchy and the beat is very fun. I think Kanye has a good style of rapping with some singing involved which makes me like the song even more. Most people I’ve asked have also liked the song,making it worth the listen for everyone. If you’re interesting it’s definitely worth trying out, as well as most of his other songs."

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