One of my favorite talents that I posses is the ability to interpret, understand and deduce music very quickly. In 2008 told my best friend that 808’s was groundbreaking after the first listen, and in 2013 told my ex that Yeezus was a middle finger to the music industry after 2 listens. In addition to that particular talent, I have an addictive, indulgent personality. When I love something, I love it and I want it all the time, almost to a fault. That may explain some of my issues, especially with women. Anywho, for those who don’t know, I am a huge Kanye West fan. “The College Dropout” was the second album that I ever bought with my own money, second only to “Country Grammar”. I have been able to relate, understand and identify with Kanye’s music since the first time I heard “Through the Wire” crackle across the speakers of my mother’s Toyota Corolla back in 2004.
I went to see the Glow in the Dark tour here in Atlanta. I was front row at Coachella in 2011. I saw Watch the Throne not once, but three times (Atlanta, Los Angeles, Paris). At the Yeezus concert, I was in the front row and screamed out “YOU AINT GOT THE ANSWERS, YE!” and he chuckled and replied “Who ain’t got the answers?” No bullshit, you can watch the footage here yourself. At 2:30 you can hear Ye talk to Me. Kanye West spoke to me out of thousands of people. You know I’m special.
Now that the preliminary introduction is complete and the reader knows that if anyone is qualified to analyze Kanye West’s music, it’s me.. I can get started.
The Life of Pablo is fucking amazing.
The musicianship of this album is so gigantic and astrological that it’s kind of hard to fathom. The transitions and subtle delays. The fact that even that the album sounds incomplete and pieced together that it somehow flows cohesively and appeases one’s musical desires. It almost sounds like a greatest hits album. Every track rides, and had I never listened to Kanye before in my life and someone handed me a jump drive or emailed me the .zip of this album I would think that it was several other works of music pieced together. Every track on this album goes, without a doubt. Listening to it is similar to taking a road trip through the mountains, city and countryside. You see, hear and feel so many things, but you’re still on the road driving, regardless of what you’ve experienced during the ride.
For any music junkie, the features alone are enough to intrigue you. Before we’re even 10 minutes into the album we have The Dream on lead vocals backed by a church choir, a Kelly Price solo, a monster verse by Chance the Rapper, a Prayer by Kirk Franklin and vintage Kid Cudi crooning over a classic Yeezy sample flip produced by Metro Boomin. The first ten minutes. The combinations are utterly amazing! Post Malone and Ty$ going back and forth on a sample heavy, euro step, midwest house music hip hop combination. Young thug high out of his mind on auto tune singing a hook layered on top of The Dream and El Debarge? WHAT? Who even thinks of that? Who says “Man, this hook with Thug is dope. How awesome would it be if we had El Debarge come and sing too?” Fucking Kanye. In addition to all of that, the man has verses and features from people who are seemingly under a rock. Andre 3000? Frank Ocean? I didn’t even know that those niggas knew where a studio was considering we haven’t heard anything from them in months to years. But of course, Kanye gets them to come out.
This album has everything for every type of Kanye fan out there. The opulence and lyricism of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (I be Puerto Rican day Parade float in’/That Benz Marina Del Rey coastin’.) The bravado and fanfare of “Late Registration” (Awesome/Steve Jobs mixed with Steve Austin/Rich slave in the Hermes store picking cotton.) Emotional turmoil and auto-tune reminiscent of “808’s and Heartbreak” (If Mama/knew how/you turned out/you too wild/ you too wild/and I need you now.) Soul samples, happiness and playful antics that mirror “The College Dropout” (Gotdamn!/got a bald fade/I might SLAM!/Pink fur got Nori dressing like Cam/THANK GOD FOR ME!) Colossal sound and synthesizers that bring back the shutter shade and neon lights of “Graduation” (WE ONLY MAKING THE HIGHLIGHTS!) Minimalism, grit, bass and noise that display the shining points of “Yeezus” (Please go listen to “Feedback”.)
It’s a beautiful work of art filled with self awareness, personal and political issues, and ridiculous features on some of the most high quality music that I’ve heard in quite some time. The bars are crisp, the beats passed the “car test,” the concept is awesome and the title is dope. I got everything I was expecting tenfold, some surprises and a bunch of shit-talking, loud mouthed, black emotion. As of Today TLOP is a top 3 Kanye album to me, coming only second to MBDTF and Late Registration (I cleverly ranked the albums in order as I described the latex album in the paragraph above.)
I know that Kanye is an arrogant, elitist asshole who consistently contradicts himself, but aren’t we all human? Whether he’s claiming that Bill Cosby is innocent, flying off the handle at his ex’s baby daddy on twitter, attacking the grammy committee or breaking TMZ’s cameras, theres no denying the fact that the man can make some damn good music.
“I can’t let these people play me! name one genius that ain’t crazy.”
Until next wave!