“You can’t let your imagination get in the way of God’s manifestation,” says Clarence “Coodie” Simmons. “First putting the camera on Kanye in Chicago, I seen Grammys. I didn’t know that we would be running for President in 2020.”
Coodie and Chike’s Ozah’s triumphant Netflix doc, jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy trace’s the journey of an ambitious Hip-Hop upstart named Kanye West to a global phenomenon. There couldn’t have been a better duo to bring Ye’s story to the documentary screen, and make the lessons applicable to everyone with “shoot for the stars” ambition.
Adds Coodie, “You gotta go with the flow of life and know that God is leading you.”
Yeezus seemed like he wanted to put his hands on the scale of jeen-yuhs shortly before its release, publicly demanding final edit approval. But despite the noise, it was always going to be a Coodie and Chike, aka Creative Control, production, period.
“There was no back and forth,” says Chike with a laugh about any negotiations with Ye about what made it into the documentary, which spans three 90-minutes episodes. “We just cut the project that we knew we were trying to make. Obviously we shared it with his team and [were] open to input. But initially, we just had to get the idea out. He saw the sizzle and he’s also received the treatment years ago when we were going to embark on this so he’s always had an idea, overarching, of what we were going to do.”
What Coodie and Chike have done is create an already critically acclaimed window into the psyche of Ye, and why so many people have been rooting for guy, flaws and all, throughout his career. The film brings back nostalgia to when Ye was telling anybody who would listen—and many than will admit now couldn’t be bothered—that he had bars to go with his breakneck beats.
In the time since, Ye has reaped in so many awards for his music, and just as much fame for his persona life, that it’s hard to fathom how many times he got curved at the start of his career. In the same span, and while keeping the camera rolling on their subject, Coodie and Chike became critically acclaimed filmmakers, helming docs like ESPN 30 for 30 film Benji about murder Chicago prop basketball star Benji Wilson and A Kid From Coney Island about NBA great Stephon Marbury, and more.
“Everything we did was a rehearsal for this moment,” says Coodie about cutting down the hours upon hours of footage into three episodes. “Every [documentary] that we did we learned something, and we became students of film so we understand that we had to move [the] story forward.”
That tale is a testament to making your dreams come to fruition. Particularly whenever we’re blessed with the presence of the late Donda West on the screen. No matter what you may think personally of the subject, a story like that resonates across all spectrums. So in hindsight, Ye didn’t have anything to worry about when it comes to telling his story, accurately.
“I told him he had to trust me,” says Coodie. “Like he trusted us with ‘Through The Wire.’ It’s no different, we’re filmmakers. The story we was telling was about everybody unlocking their dreams—it wasn’t about a definitive doc about Kanye. God used us as a tool to tell the story to impact culture and impact the dreams. Let them know that no matter what if you can conceive and believe you can achieve, so that’s what this story is about.”
Watch Hip-Hop Wired’s interview with Coodie & Chike above. Watch jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy right here.