Josh Grissom | Rawr
Hip-hop fans have been patiently waiting two and a half years for a new Kanye West album.
Last week, the self-proclaimed music “god” delivered by dropping an 18-track album exclusive on music streaming site Tidal.
“The Life of Pablo” is the first project release from the artist since “Yeezus” went platinum in June of 2013.
In the weeks leading up to the release, West was involved in a string of highly unusual incidents. This included a brief Twitter feud with Wiz Khalifa and a personal claim that West was $53 million in debt.
If a celebrity employs eccentric behavior and compares himself to a god, he better produce an outstanding project during crunch time. Unfortunately, West completely fails to deliver in his latest release.
The album begins with promise, as the opening track “Ultralight Beam” possesses a powerful guest feature from Chance the Rapper.
However, “The Life of Pablo” quickly begins to fall apart in the second track, as
West’s verse on “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” is incredibly puzzling.
The track also disappoints in that guest artist Kid Cudi is strictly utilized for the hook, instead of being given the opportunity to contribute a verse.
In one of his songs, West even claims he might attempt to sleep with Taylor Swift because he “made that bitch famous.”
This is especially ironic, given the fact that Swift’s album “Fearless” had over 8 million sales worldwide before the VMA’s incident in 2009, compared to 1.7 million for West’s “808s & Heartbreak” that same year.
The artist continues to bring up old vendettas with a reference to Ray J in “Highlights” while discussing his former relationship with Kim Kardashian.
“Freestyle 4” feels eerily reminiscent of West’s previous album “Yeezus,” even adopting the similar screeching interjections and booming beats.
West exhibits his characteristic narcissism in “I Love Kanye,” even using the line “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye.”
Perhaps the most pop-like song of the project is “Waves,” complete with a memorable chorus from Chris Brown. Although the song is catchy and appealing to most listeners, it lacks true substance.
“FML” serves as the most underappreciated track of the album. The Weeknd provides a melancholy and haunting hook as West explores his struggles in staying faithful to his wife.
Perhaps the most compelling song of “The Life of Pablo” is “Real Friends,” complete with a feature from Ty Dolla $ign. The track feels like the old school version of Kanye West, which includes heavy lyrics and a soulful appeal to listeners.
The final punch of West’s album is a gem tucked away near the end of the album. The artist unites with André 3000 to create “30 Hours,” a track that analyzes the motivations behind a relationship with an old flame.
As a whole, the album feels jumbled and perplexing. Despite having two years to create a historic album, “The Life of Pablo” seems as though it was thrown together like a procrastinating college student with a last-minute class project.
With the recent antics from the artist, one has to wonder whether the hip-hop superstar is truly concentrated on his music. Regardless, “The Life of Pablo” is still a solid showing from West and will keep music fans entertained until the summer months.