Writing a review about The Life of Pablo (TLOP) is almost as obligatory as filing your taxes, that having been said, it’s probably just a coincidence that Kanye West released his album during tax season. This new album has been making waves since it changed its name, over and over and over. With that being said, TLOF aka So Help Me God, Waves, Swish, insipid lyrics and misogyny by the kilo. So what gift did Yeezy bring his devoted followers, haters, and spectators?
TLOP starts off on a positive note with “Ultralight Beam,” featuring Chance the Rapper and Kirk Franklin. The whole album echoes gospel and triumph. The track gives off “Heard ‘Em Say” vibes and certainly reminds us of the Kanye we all knew before Yeezus. “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” begins and he raps “Now if I f**k this model/ And she just bleached her a**hole/ And I get bleach on my T-shirt/ I’mma feel like an a**hole.” This catchy line begins to set the tone for the rest of the album as he goes in and out of being Kanye and providing listeners with an unparalleled experience.
Being crass, unapologetic, egotistic and occasionally offensive is West’s modus operandi; and it’s no secret that misogyny and hip-hop go hand in hand. As TLOP continues, so does the bluntness that comes with any Kanye album. In “Highlights” (an auto-tuned track reminiscent of the magic found in the Grammy Award-winning “Good Life”) Kanye cheers, “Yeah, he might have hit it first/ Only problem is I’m rich,”. While this is not a necessarily good come back, Kanye addresses R-Jay credited for being Kim Kardashian in the lime light while also dismissing him in the same breath.
In “Famous” and “30 Hours” West references Taylor Swift and Amber Rose in less than favorable lyrics. These attacks stirred up controversy on social media in the hours after his fashion week show. However, since we first met the pink polo-sporting rapper/producer courtesy of his debut studio album, The College Dropout, he has gone through various artistic stages, and we’ve gone through them with him; not one Kanye album sounds the same. One thing that can be said of Kanye is that you cannot box him in as artist, 808’s and Heartbeats revealed a side to him that Late Registration couldn’t allude to. Up until TLOP, Kanye’s chaos and confusion always managed to make a statement beyond “I’m Kanye, I’m a genius, f**k you and your opinions.”
In “I Love Kanye” he laments about missing the old Kanye and hating the new Kanye, and ends the interlude with a meme reference “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye.” To some, this may sound like a natural step in artistry; after all, art should reflect the times, and we are living in a meme generation.
Overall, Kanye’s new album TLOP will be one for the books. It will join a long list of Classics, hits and maybe even masterpieces. Front beginning to end it a good listen. Vibes are good throughout the whole album and the gospel Stan is a nice touch. West definitely dug deep, used his resources, experience and outspoken mouth to put out a great work of art.
Written By: Annjelica H.