Kanye West Leaves Listeners with Mixed Reviews on 8th Solo Album ‘ye’
I think one day we’ll all wake up and understand the inner workings of Kanye West’s mind and realize that all of his antics made sense, but today is not that day. Kanye West has transcended from Hip-Hop’s most influential to most polarizing. There are several events that attribute to this new title, his twitter rants aligning himself with controversial figures like donald trump and candace owens (I didn’t capitalize their names on purpose, for all of you grammar heads.), wearing the ‘make america great again’ hat and the icing on the cake a TMZ rant, where he said “slavery was a choice”. Even though Kanye West has always been a standout individual, this time around his antics tip the scale.
Keeping all of that in mind, now the time has come and as promised Kanye has released his 8th solo studio album. ye the album is the 2nd installment to a 7 track 5 album series produced solely by Kanye West all available exclusively on Def Jam Records.
ye is an impulsive album that finds one of the most brilliant artists of our time struggling with the inner workings of himself. Kanye is candid in every aspect of the 23 minutes and 45 seconds of the project. He dives into his fight with mental illness, marriage, and free thinking. While ye feels like a breath of fresh air for Kanye, it has garnered mixed reviews across the board. My take is that the album is not lyrically captivating, little replay value, the production on it feels like some leftover 808 mixes were thrown in with some fire new material. Not all is lost, ye manages to give listeners, including me several lasting moments.
Track One: “I thought About Killing You”
The title is a moment in its self, but the first 2 minutes are Ye creating a safe space for listener’s and himself to say whatever you want. The feeling of complete freedom is liberating, to say and do as you please without fear of scrutiny and persecution is a luxury felt by children and the elderly. “People say don’t say this don’t say that/ just say it out loud to see how it feels/weigh all the options/nothing’s off the table/ the most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest.”
Track Two: “Yikes”
This record is all about mental illness and the many layers of Ye that we get to peel back. There’s the braggadocios Ye, “See this is why all the b*****s fuck with Ye, f**k what they talk about/ They take me on meds, off meds ask yourself/ Ask your homegirl right now, look you had a shot at Ye/You drop everything.” and then we get the Ye that is fully aware of how dangerous mental illness can be in the chorus, ” Shit could get menacing’, frightenin’, find help/Sometimes I scare myself, myself.” Finally, we reach the acceptance Ye, anyone that suffers from mental illness understands how important this phase is towards recovery, “That’s why I fuck with Ye/ See that was my third person shit n***a what/That’s my bi-polar shit N***a what/ That’s my super power n***a, ain’t no disability/ I’m a superhero.”
Track Three: “All Mine” feat. Valee & Ty Dolla $ign
Valee on the chorus, “Yeah, you supermodel thick, damn that ass bustin’ out the bottom/I’ma lose my mind in it, crazy that medulla oblongata/ Get to rubbing’ on my lamp, get the genie out the bottle” and Ty Dolla $ign sliding in with “F**k it up, f**k it up/ P***y good, go and back it up..” is a major vibe. The two vocalists have different sounds, but they blend well on “All Mine”. Frankly, that’s the only part I enjoy, you can throw the rest of the song away.
Track Four: “Wouldn’t Leave” feat. PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jeremih, & Ty Dolla $ign
Dedicated to his wife Kim Kardashian. Ye takes us into his marriage. Kim is often under severe judgment from everyone, especially Hip-Hop and Black culture, but “Wouldn’t Leave” humanizes her and their relationship. Kanye also takes ownership of how his actions, whether good or bad reflect on his wife. “Now I’m on fifty blogs getting’ fifty calls/ My wife calling’, screamin’, say, “We about to lose it all!”/ Had to calm her down ’cause she couldn’t breathe/ Told her, she could leave me now, but she wouldn’t leave”, referencing the blowback from his slavery is a choice comments on TMZ. The outro with Ty Dolla $ign on vocals is my favorite, we see how appreciative Ye is of Kim, “Now you testing her loyalty/This is what they mean when they say “For better or for worse”, huh?/For every down female that stuck with they dude through the best times, through the worst times this for you.”
Track Five: “No Mistakes” feat Kid Cudi and Charlie Wilson
I nearly passed out when I heard the Slick Rick sample. The mixing of both Charlie Wilson and Kid Cudi’s vocals with the beat and the sample oh my goodness it is phenomenal. Even Ye’s flow on “No Mistakes” makes for a well-rounded record.
Track Six: “Ghost Town” feat. John Legend, 070 Shake & Kid Cudi
070 Shake is my favorite feature, she makes it a moment. Her deep and raspy tone pairs well with the guitar riffs and drums as she sings, “And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free/ We’re still the kids we used to be.” Shake has serious star power and it shows on “Ghost Town”.
Track Seven: “Violent Crimes” feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Dej Loaf, and Nicki Minaj
“Don’t you grow up in a hurry”- Kanye’s last track “Violent Crimes” gives Ye some time to speak on behalf of father’s raising daughters and how quickly your baby girls grow into women. In addition, Kanye speaks on how some men don’t see the error in their ways when courting women until they have daughters, “N****s is savage, n****s is monsters/N****s is pimps, n****s is players/Til n****s have daughters, now they precautions” he also raps, “Father, forgive me, I’m scared of the karma/Cause now I see women as something’ to nurture/Not something’ to conquer”. Personally “Violent Crimes” was deja vu, these are the same conversations my father had with me regarding men.
Leading up to ye’s June 1st release date many fans contemplated on whether or not they wanted to be apart of anything related to Kanye West, I wasn’t one of those people. I’m not ready to write Kanye off, not just yet and while ye wasn’t the album I had in mind for Kanye West I wouldn’t consider it a failure either.