8th Studio Album From G.O.O.D. MUSIC Founder
Chris Rock said it best in Jackson Hole, Wyoming last Thursday night at the, now notorious, ‘Ye’ listening party. He said, “Hip Hop is the first art form created by free black men… And no black man has taken more advantage of his freedom than Kanye West.”
Kanye West took his fans, and anyone else he could bamboozle, on one hell of a ride over the past few months. From the man that gave us such great show stopping moments as, ‘’I’ma let you finish but…”, and who could forget the classic, “George Bush doesn’t care about…”; he’s back with his new hits, “Slavery was a choice…” and “My ‘MAGA’ hat is signed…”. It takes a certain level of patience and tolerance to be a fan of Kanye West these days. The current climate of social media has granted people a seat at a table they don’t belong, making way for some very frustrating encounters in comment sections web wide. Kanye West absolutely does not support Trump’s politics, a point he makes multiple times on ‘Ye’. A point I feel as a fan of Kanye West, I should take time to acknowledge, but not a whole lot of time, simply because well, “If You Know You Know”.
‘Ye’ is the eighth full length studio album from visionary artist, singer/songwriter, record producer, and fashion designer, Kanye Omari West. Clocking in at a fleeting 7 songs, 23 minutes; ‘Ye’ is significantly shorter than its precursor, ‘The Life of Pablo’, which boasts a whopping, 20 song tracklist with a running time reaching just over an hour. Kanye decides to take a very focused and personal approach with ‘Ye’, using the album as a platform to understand and work through his mental health issues. Recent interviews in support of ‘Ye’, found Kanye referring to being diagnosed with Bipolar disorder at the age of 40. If any album does a solid job of exploring the mental state of a person dealing with a bipolar disorder, it is this one.
Kanye takes listeners on a tour through some familiar territory with ‘Ye’. The first track, “I Thought About Killing You”, opens with Kanye performing an introspective spoken word piece over some out of this world production. Halfway through “I Thought About Killing You”, we get our first taste of the album’s underlying theme; as there is an immediate and abrupt shift in the songs mood and instrumentation.
“Yikes” follows much in the same vein of tracks off ‘TLOP’, in regards to its production and overall lyrical content. It is very grand and surreal, Kanye uses this track to address his recent controversy. Referring to his incredibly polarizing appearance on TMZ, as well as his bipolar disorder diagnosis and prescription drug use. “All Mine” and “Wouldn’t Leave” show two sides of the same coin and are where ‘Ye’ takes its most substantial shift sonically. “All Mine” focuses on the pleasures of indulging in infidelity, while “Wouldn’t Leave” tackles some of the difficult trials a relationship may be subject to facing. Both tracks are ‘Bound 2’gether, as they both feature Jerimih in various degrees.
The album takes a softer turn afterwards as we move into “No Mistakes”, which finds Kanye returning to his ‘College Dropout’ and ‘Late Registration’ days of booming beats and infectious hooks. “Ghost Town” is hands down one of the most potent tracks on ‘Ye’. Featuring very powerful and moving performances from Kid Cudi on the hook, and a recent signee to G.O.O.D. Music, 070 Shake. “Violent Crimes” is the only song off ‘Ye’ that was completely produced by West and is an ode to his daughters, and his new found perspective on and respect for women.
At any point, Kanye West can reach into his bag and give his fans exactly what we want and need to hear from him, he is just that in tune. Hip Hop is supposed to be a young man’s sport – yet ‘Ye’ shows off an artist clearly still in his prime, directing culture like an air traffic controller. Each song on ‘Ye’ is representative in some way of each season and phase Yeezy has ever given us. It’s almost as if all the best moments from all seven of Kanye’s previous albums had been boiled down into one very cohesive and intimate offering. Seamless transitions, razor sharp production, and topical lyrics make this album function. Kanye has another classic and is the best he’s ever been. Change my mind.
Check out our “C R U E L S U M M E R” playlist on Spotify featuring ‘DAYTONA’, ‘YE’, ‘KIDSSEEGHOST’ and any other albums Yeezy and G.O.O.D. Music drop.