And then there was ‘Ye’. On a Wyoming ranch Kanye West’s media whirlwind had seemed to come to a calming point as he and friends surrounded a bonfire hours before the release of his eight studio album entitled ‘Ye’. An album that was almost lost in the controversial antics of Kanye’s self-described “free thinking”. But to many the events had taken place were a direct reflection of an even more lost Kanye, as mental health had began to become the topic of the many events surrounding Kanye. This night in Wyoming was to be Kanye’s explanation for everything. And a new day forward from it all.
Kanye’s last studio album “The Life of Pablo” was Kanye’s attempt to bring back the old ‘Ye’, but the album ‘Ye’ seems to fail at even attempting. The album cover is our first glance into what is ‘Ye’, a polarizing figure in the background of an artist that has lost his signature. What is the most surprising about this album is that it is only 7 tracks. Which is what Pusha T. alluded to in his interview with The Breakfast Club, where he went on to state that all of the albums released by G.O.O.D Music this June would all only be 7 tracks long. The 24-minute album is long enough for Grammy consideration, but falls short of the Kanye West bar that was set so high with the release of his earlier projects.
From the very first track “I Thought About Killing You” Kanye shows his battle with mental health as he uses different recording techniques to create the appearance of him having conversations where he is both speaker and audience. And it’s not until 2:20 of the track that he starts to rap. An initial excitement is quickly deflated by sub-par bars whose highlight is, “Don’t get your tooth chipped like Frito-Lay“. Which becomes norm of the album, sub-par bars surrounded by Kanye’s greatness as a production genius. The production on this album shows glimpses of the old Kanye. With tracks like “Ghost Town” that uses the soulful sample voice of Shirley Ann Lee’s on “Someday” and also samples “Take Me For A Little While” by Vanilla Fudge. A glimpse that passes almost as soon as it is remembered.
Writing credits and sample credits have been another form of controversy surrounding this album. There has been numerous occasions where artists have come out citing that Kanye had failed to give them proper credits on the album. One of the biggest being Drake who wrote on “Yikes”. The irony of this is that leading up to the album the Drake and Pusha T‘s beef had spilled over into Drake posting an invoice of ghostwriting for Kanye, something Pusha T had recently accused Drake of. Kanye said that he had forgotten. Was this all bad timing? Seems all too convenient and common as other artists have complained about not getting credited for samples used on the album.
All these thots on Christian Mingle
Almost what got Tristan single
If you don’t ball like him or Kobe
Guarantee that bitch gonna leave you
“All Mines” is another highlight of the album. On the track Kanye speaks on infidelity and throws a little shade when he throws Tristan Thompson under the bus for cheating on his pregnant girlfriend Khloe Kardashian. Kanye is accompanied by a high-pitched singing Jeremih and a harmonizing Ty Dolla $ign to create one of the best features of the album. Switching to the next track Kanye proves that even though he is able to place blame he is also able to accept it on the 4th track entitled “Wouldn’t Leave”. The track is dedicated to his wife Kim Kardashian as an open apology to her for this whole media fiasco. His apology is vocalized over a soulful church sample as to cleanse his conscience from the pain he has caused.
The last track on the album “Violent Crimes” is one of the most interesting tracks of the album. As it goes further into the conversation that was had with Jay-Z on the song “New Day”. This song similar to “New Day” is a sort of premonition that Kanye West has about his daughter’s future. The song touches on his fear of his daughter growing up to fast and inheriting her mother’s features. Because from first hand experience he knows how men think.
“Don’t do no yoga, don’t do pilates, Just play piano and stick to karate
I pray your body’s draped more like mine, And not like your mommy’s”
In the current fast-past world of steams this album fits. Because for many listeners albums last as fast as their downloaded. As seen on the track “No Mistakes” which is a quick listen that is lost among the craziness and unclear direction of the album. It’s this unclear direction that makes you question the albums arrangement and track selection. There are tracks that can stand on their own as singles. But as a collective they don’t fit into the crazy puzzle that is Kanye’s catalog. And if going by the old expectations of a full body of work the album falls short of a classic album. Many would even argue a Kanye album. But what is clear is that as the years go bye generations may never know of the old ‘Ye’ that once boasted the line,“Killin y’all niggas on that lyrical shit. Mayonnaise-colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips”. Simply put. In a catalog of classic albums such as “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. “And then there was ‘Ye’“.
Listen to ‘Ye’ and let us know what you think. Classic or not?