Ye or Nay

Six days have passed since the release of Kanye’s Wyoming-based album, Ye. Being a GOOD Music fan, a Summer filled with album releases kicked off by Pusha T’s Daytona sounds like the perfect compilation. After listening to the seven tracks, chewing it over for the past few days, I reluctantly must spit it out. While an abrupt release is no surprise from Yeezy, the album seemed rushed and lacked the enthusiasm typically created by previous projects.

This album is extremely candid about Kanye’s internal struggle with mental illness, the trials and tribulations of a marriage in the spotlight, and hyperbolic political affirmations. Listeners can appreciate the forthrightness of West on this album, but it didn’t resonate the same sense of excitement as The Life of Pablo. By no means was TLOP Kanye’s best project, but it was his most recent before Ye. When TLOP was released, I had low expectations for the album after the disappointment of Yeezus. After hearing “Ultralight Beam,” I instantly resonated with the album. Even with the spiritually melodic tone, Kanye creates something you can’t stop listening to. The first track on Ye, “I Thought About Killing You” was repetitive and mediocre. The dark lyrics shock the listener, but doesn’t come through as a stand out track.

“Yikes” is the biggest song on the album featuring a radio-worthy beat, catchy hook, and a closing ad lib in true Kanye fashion. This track encompasses the focus of the project, while still being captivating enough for the radio stations.

Despite multiple other opinions, “No Mistakes” is one of my favorite songs on the album. While the beat is scattered using samples of Slick Rick’s “Hey Yung World” with vocals by Charlie Wilson and Kid Cudi, the track has an uplifting and playful tone. The track may be short, but displays the creativity we are familiar with from Kanye.

After evaluating numerous reviews about the album, it is apparent that if an individual is a Yeezus fan, they are also a fan of Ye. If they happen to be a Life of Pablo fan like myself, they hate the album. We know Kanye has been working on this album for a while since pictures first surfaced of the rapper/producer/designer in Wyoming. I can’t help but wonder why the album felt thrown together in an effort to release a project for the sake of creating content. Does Kanye feel his following will enjoy anything he releases simply because he’s Kanye? Maybe, or is Kanye capitalizing on the gentrified, lyrically appealing, yet boring syndrome that has plagued hip hop?

The modern day lyricists in the hip hop industry are great. Rappers such as, J. Cole and Childish Gambino are cultivating music that addresses societal issues and biases with sophistication. This is exactly what the industry should be doing, but it doesn’t always have the charisma of trap rap. Kanye has always been keen in finding the sweet spot between “booty, bling, and bitches” hip hop and consciousness-raising rap. Ye was not a depiction of this sweet spot. Even though fans can appreciate the vulnerability of Yeezy throughout the entire album, this project should have been enjoyed as an EP.

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