By: Kyle Daniels ~Guest Writer~
Taylor Swift is raging on the Grammy stage, West is claiming $53 million dollars of debt, and “The Life of Pablo” has been pirated over 500,000 times. Ye- politics aside, “The Life of Pablo” reminds us why this man is liked by so many, and seen as an artistic inspiration to others.
The album brings in a number of outside artists; old favorites like Kid Cudi and new artists, Desiinger and fellow Chicago artist, Chance the Rapper. West takes this album in a new direction.
It feels like a compendium of the lessons West has learned about music and life over his 15 year career. Instead of pushing the boundaries of what music and hip-hop can do, West takes popular styles, like the Atlanta style of ‘Pt. 2’, and puts the Yeezy spin on it.
Though “The Life of Pablo” is not the best album produced by West, it seems like the crowning jewel in his discography. The lessons learned from “Yeezus” can clearly be seen in the industrial beats that back up this album. We also glimpse the introspective West that was so prevalent in “808’s & Heartbreaks” in songs ‘Real Friends’ and ‘FML.’ The hardhitting, honest and cocky West from “Graduation” comes through in songs ‘Famous’ and ‘I Love Kanye.’
“The Life of Pablo” examines the career West has had in a new way, giving his audience the honest answers about the mistakes he’s made, the people he’s trusted and the way fame has changed his life. ‘Real Friends’ and ‘Wolves’ are heartbreaking tracks that examine the dirty life of fame and the extortion it can bring. The biggest problem with the album is the emotional through line.
Unlike albums in the past, “Pablo” does not contain an overt central line to guide the listener; it is much more fragmented.
“The Life of Pablo” has a unique gospel aspect that sets it apart from other recent hip-hop and West albums. The title draws allusions to both the apostle Paul and Pablo Picasso. The soulful vocals and religious imagery that litter the album bring in a new layer to many of the songs and West’s work. It brings an almost top down perspective to the album. The all-knowing West of today looks back at the mistakes made and the path he’s taken, judging as God would judge him.
The honesty and form of “The Life of Pablo” will continue to intrigue and bring in listeners through its rolling release.
It is definitely a must listen for any hip-hop heads. “The Life of Pablo” is currently only available to stream on Tidal, but a deluxe edition CD will be announced in the coming weeks. As with anything West related, all of this could change in a second. For continued updates look to West’s Twitter feed @kanyewest.