Everyone’s buzzing over Coodie & Chike’s incredible “Jeen-Yuhs” docuseries that follows ‘the old Kanye‘ from the very beginning of the “College Dropout”-era where we see his beautiful relationship with late mother Donda West, surreal footage of his struggles to be taken seriously as a solo artist, and much more over the course of three must-see parts.
These early events would shape his ascension into a globally-beloved/hated rockstar/billionaire who continues to be the most polarizing figure in pop culture.
To create their sprawling masterpiece that spans over 21 years, filmmakers Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah (who worked with Kanye on the “Through the Wire,” “Two Words” and “Jesus Walks” videos) cut down 400 hours of footage into the 4-hour final product currently trending at #1 on Netflix.
“We have three acts: Act 1 is Vision, Act II is Purpose and Act III is Awakening. I had to have a vision. So when I ran into Kanye in Chicago and I saw how charismatic he was and how energetic and talented he was, I’m like, “That was the vision,” said Coodie ahead of the film’s release.
“When I put the camera on, that was the vision, to document him, not knowing if he wanted me to film him at the time or not. It’s just one of those gradual things that happened. I knew his style somewhat didn’t fit with the rappers back then. It was different. But I knew he was going to do something great.”
Naturally, there will be some who wonder why Coodie paused his career to film Kanye’s ascension into stardom but the answer is simple: God’s plan.
“I just bonded with Kanye like a little brother,” he continued. “I’m a lot older than Kanye. He had a group called The Go Getters. They were performing one night and I’m looking at them. When I saw Kanye, I was like, “He’s the one.” He was producing most of the music, but also his stage presence was like, “Yo, this is crazy.” When I ran into him again I was like, “I got to film the dude.” And he moved to New York and I’m watching the first BET Awards. And I’m like, “That’s the same song I heard at the barber shop. That’s Kanye.”
But I didn’t know how I was going to get to New York. I didn’t have the money. Then one day, I’m driving on the freeway. I get off on North Avenue on the north side of Chicago and all of a sudden, this angel, whom I call angel now, opened my door with a nine millimeter to my head and was like, “Yo, give me the money.” He wound up taking my car. But the reason why I called him the angel is because I had a condo and had insured my condo, anything that was in my car and the car was insured. So I got a lump sum of money. And with that, I moved to New York. Everything happens for a reason, good or bad.”
We caught up with Coodie and Chike who talked ‘Jeen-Yuhs,’ what they wish we could’ve seen in the film, and more in our interview below:
“Jeen-Yuhs” is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.