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‘Jeen-yus: A Kanye Trilogy’ Filmmakers Say Rapper Gave Them Creative Control On Three-Part Doc – Sundance Studio

Kanye West in 'Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy'

The directors of Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy insist they have final cut on the three-part documentary heading soon to Netflix, despite what Kanye West says.

The rap star, who now goes by Ye, posted on Instagram Friday, “I’m going to say this kindly for the last time. I must get final edit and approval on this doc before it releases on Netflix. Open the edit room immediately so I can be in charge of my own image.”

Clarence “Coodie” Simmons and Chike Ozah, who premiered part 1 of their film at the Sundance Film Festival Sunday night, say Kanye was kept in the loop during production. The directors have known West for decades, having worked with him originally on the video for his first single, 2002’s “Through the Wire.” The trilogy is composed of behind-the-scenes footage of West that Coodie began shooting in Chicago in 1998, back when Coodie was a standup comedian and West was a record producer dreaming of a solo career.

“To keep it authentic, [Jeen-yuhs] had to come from a perspective of the filmmaker,” Coodie said as he and Chike stopped by Deadline’s virtual Sundance Studio before the world premiere. “The story is really through the perspective of this journey of me and Kanye. When I showed him the sizzle, Kanye wanted to put the sizzle out, but it wasn’t time. And I just told him, I said, ‘Dude, you have to trust me, like you trusted me for “Through the Wire,” me and Chike. You have to trust us. And he was like, ‘I trust you.’”

The film shows how West encountered doubters when he wanted to move from being a successful producer of other people’s records to a headliner in his own right. But his thematic concerns were out of step with rap in the early 2000s and Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records label, where Kanye was a hitmaker, didn’t support his solo ambitions.

“You got to realize what in that era was really winning,” Coodie explained. “It was like the DMX’s, the Snoop Doggs. It’s more street music… So, you got this kid and the messages that he had, ‘Jesus Walks,’ they’re like, ‘What is this?’”

But West had something going for him, along with talent: self-belief.

“One hundred percent,” Chike said. “From the moment I met him, his passion, his determination was undeniable. You could not tell him he couldn’t achieve something. He knew where he was going, where he was trying to get to. Nothing was going to stop him. And you could feel it, like it was a force.”

Simmons says the trilogy, and its inspirational themes, come with divine endorsement.

“This project is ordained by God and can’t nothing come in between this and the messaging and the impact that this film will create for the dreamers,” Coodie said. “This film is for the dreamers. This film is to show everybody that they have a genius in them. We all have a genius and it’s not just Kanye or me or Chike…  it’s everybody. We all have a genius.”

Watch the full conversation in the video above.

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