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Album Review – Ye

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There aren’t many people alive who had to deal with the burden of not being allowed to disappoint with his or her gift to the world. For not only exceeding expectations that a fellow peer could never grasp but cause us from the outside to look down at them for not being as impactful with their work. Kanye West is one of those individuals yet with his latest project Ye; there is sense a disappoint of what the album could have been.

After his meltdown on TMZ, everyone wanted to hear from the man himself. To explain further on the “new ideas,” he claimed he was being crucified for, to expand on his statement that slavery was a choice. Instead “I Thought About Killing Myself” goes inside the psyche of Mr. West, who nonchalantly expresses thoughts of suicide. It was strange to hear from a man who has believed in himself more than anyone else, that he was close to his limit. He loved himself more than he loved anyone, yet he still felt the angst to end it all.

The idea that those who gallop in the darkness of depression aren’t always suffering from their flaws was new to me. As the drums kick in, Kanye switches from spoken word and start rapping with clarity, introspection, the personal connection that made Kanye special was evident. The production continued to evolve as the sound of a water droplet hitting the floor suddenly came in and next thing you know, an immediate beat change turns somber to joy. The mood of the track change, as Ye went from introspective to braggadocios.

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On the second track “Yikes,” Kanye continues the album strong opening with an infectious banger. The water droplet somehow has made its way over, and it accented every punchline. There are no limitations of the number of quotes you could pull from here, but two of my favorite lines come in the song first verse.

“Turn TMZ to Smack DVD ha.”

“Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too/ I’ma pray for him ’cause he got #MeToo’d”

The energy and passion Kanye was putting on display were noticeable. The conviction in his voice was similar to the way he rapped on My Dark Twisted Fantasy. However, that passion did muddy the message of the song. How when drugs and alcohol are involved, fear arises from those around him and himself sometimes. He ends the song with a screeching yell, proclaiming that him being bi-polar is his superpower.

The superpower was shown throughout the album, however, and it wasn’t utilized as well consistently. Each showing glimpse of the greatness yet being held back by something each time.

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“No mistakes” is another highlight of the album. From Charlie Wilson beautiful vocals to the sweet melody of the piano and Kanye’s effortless flow. Everything from beginning to end was perfect; just the ending came way too fast.

On “All Mine,” you get the sense that Kanye can’t seem to resist unnecessary and downright embarrassing struggle bars. The production nor the flow isn’t good enough to make up for the fact I hear bars such as

“Find yourself up in the food court/You might have to enjoy your sample.”

“I love your titties ’cause they prove/ I can focus on two things at once.”

“Let me hit it raw like fuck the outcome /Ayy, none of us’d be here without cum.”

The track is not an automatic skip, but it does highlight the overall flaw of this album. Three tracks with no sense of direction of what this album is supposed to be. The record is everywhere musically, lyrically and content wise. The elegant disarray continues in the remainder of the album.

“Wouldn’t leave” paints the aftermath of his TMZ incident and the best explanation we got on his idea that slavery was a choice is that we’re lucky we didn’t catch him on a wild day? Is this man serious? The soulful voice of Jeremih, beautiful piano melody throughout the song, the image of his wife afraid that they will lose all they have built together is not enough for me to overcome that. He became an open book by pouring out the pain he brought to his wife yet couldn’t expand on that statement? He can’t think freely and explain that outrageous comment? The dominant message, the clarity that was put on displayed at the beginning of the album was ignored in its most crucial part.

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“Ghost Town” is nothing short of beautiful. The electric guitar sways you from to side to side, and Kid Cudi vocals will make even the toughest dude on the court melt. The angst for freedom, to need to be love. The standout portion of the track is 070 Shake two-minute solo, showcasing her vocal range and displaying the liberty that Cudi and Kanye yearn for.

In its totality, this is an imperfect body of work. The clarity Kanye failed to offer in his lyrics, the production more than made up for. The music emphasized every punchline, soothed every dry spot, and played an essential role in setting the mood when Kanye does become an open book. What draws it back is lack of direction, never genuinely deciding on the course it should take. It is confusing as it is beautiful, like a firework. Exciting yet makes you yearn for more. Is this the redemption Kanye needed? Maybe, maybe not. Just as so many of his projects, time will be the jury.

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Stevenson Altidor
Broke ass college student. 305 till i die (Or until i get that J. Cole & Kendrick collab album). Haitian-American.

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