Monday, August 29th, 2016

Kanye West. The Life of Pablo. Def Jam Records

Posted on February 23, 2016 in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

Online

By Bradford Spurr

The self proclaimed gospel album begins with “Ultralight Beam” and a small child is yelling “We don’t want no devils in the house God, we want the lord,” and our lord and savior Mr. Kanye “Yeezus” West delivers the defining sermon of his career thus far. A thunderous choir bears their soul under hypnotic and plunging bass punches, followed by the one and the only Chance, The Rapper dropping in with the best feature of the year (sorry Drake). “Tubman of the underground, come and follow the trail.

I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell. I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail. He said let’s do a good a** job with Chance three.” Chancelor Bennett, a fellow rapper from the Windy City has made news as the paragon of positive influence for the embattled city of Chicago. His lines also make reference to the young artists long awaited third mixtape, which would mark the conclusion to his trilogy featuring 10 Day and Acidrap.

Halfway through the album Yeezy’s ego has inserted a public commentary entitled “I Love Kanye,” he rants about how “I used to love Kanye, I used to love Kanye, I even had the pink polo, I thought I was Kanye. What if Kanye made a song about Kanye? Called ‘I Miss the Old Kanye,’ man that would be so Kanye,” and that is exactly what he did. For 44 seconds Kanye yells at America that he is better than the College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation producer. He is an artist, a designer, and a father. Kanye West has transcended his trendsetting and Earth shattering roots into new and uncharted territory. Without Kanye West popular hip/hop and rap music would be frighteningly different. Imagine if the other Chicago rapper Chief Keef was the end-all-be-all of music? I’d rather hear Donald Trump mumble Hotline Bling again (see SNL video).

Kanye also did the world a favor and gave us a sign that the most unique member of Tyler, The Creator’s rap/skate/riot-spurring group Odd Future was alive. Frank Ocean teased an album release to his Grammy winning 2012 album Channel Orange. On a revamped “Wolves,” sans Vic Mensa and Sia, Kanye talks about an alternate universe where “What if Mary was in the club when she met Joseph around hella thugs? Cover Nori [his daughter North] in lambs’ wool.” Followed by Frank Ocean crooning “There’s light with no heat, we cooled out, it’s cool out. Life is precious, we found out, we found out.”

Near the end of the album you will find the powerhouse combo of Kanye and Kendrick Lamar who is currently riding the high off of his album To Pimp A Butterfly and his eight Grammy nominations. “No More Parties in LA.” West and Lamar trade lines for two verses that are flurry and combination after left-right like a Rocky Balboa montage. “What I’m supposed to do? Ride around with a bulletproof car and some tints? Every agent I know, know I hate agents. I’m too black, I’m too vocal, I’m too flagrant,” Kanye has shed his insecure and shy beginning of shopping his mixtape to uninterested labels (see “Last Call” on his The College Dropout) and is now all Kanye, all the time and unapologetically so.

The last song on the album “Fade” is the ambient noise club banger that lends itself readily to remixes by Jamie xx, Diplo, Skrillex, etc. “Roll up, roll up. Hold up, hold up. Po’ up, po’ up,” and with that Kanye ends his magnum opus in grand style. The long awaited album from the king of self indulgence and braggadocio is here, so open your ears and enjoy. Praise Yeezus. Hopefully internationally despised pharmaceutical deposed CEO Martin Shkreli doesn’t get his greedy mitts on this piece of art, or Kanye should sell it for 500% more than 15 million dollars.