Kanye West, ‘The Life of Pablo’ | 3.5
Despite the dilemma in confirming a name, not only has Mr. West completed his seventh studio album but, ladies and gentlemen, it’s been given a title!!
In my typical fashion, here’s a breakdown of the tracks:
- Ultralight Beam: Yeezus is giving you Jesus! A somber song of hope and salvation guided with vocals from a gospel choir, The Dream, Kelly Price, Chance The Rapper and an uplifting message from Kirk Franklin, Ultralight Beam is up first. If there was any doubt, Kanye is letting the people know exactly where he stands as it relates to religion.
- Father Stretch My Hands, Pt 1: Heavy soul samples, synth bass, and Metro Boomin-assisted production reign on the second track. Here, Kanye apologizes for his instigation.
- Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 2: Kanye continues to embrace his trap sound by adding the hottest rapper in the game, Future, to the mix. Hah! Or you think it’s him! The voice actually belongs to an artist by the name of Desiigner.
- Famous: This track goes hard, sampling Sister Nancy’s classic, ‘Bam Bam,’ and Nina Simone’s, ‘Do What You Gotta Do.’ With added vocals by Rihanna and Swizz Beatz, Kanye shares his thoughts on ‘making’ Taylor Swift relevant.
- Feedback: ‘Name one genius that ain’t crazy…’ This party track explains the rapper/producer/creative’s state of mind and borderline ‘craziness,’ over a synth ostinato and slight bounce.
- Low Lights: This testimony of faith serves as a prerequisite for the next track ‘Highlights.’ This track confirms that Kanye is in a good place and is thankful for his career.
- Highlights: With the help of Young Thug, El DeBarge and The Dream, Kanye raps about his greatness over a ‘The Whisper Song-esque’ beat with the progression from ‘Low Lights.’
- Freestyle 4: Over a ‘James Bond-ish’ string sample, Kanye raps about sexual encounters and spiraling out of control due to heavy partying.
- I Love Kanye: This is an acapella ode to the evolution and appreciation of Kanye throughout the years. From pink polo/backpack Kanye to ‘The Mean Kanye,’ this freestyle sheds light on how he’s set trends and influenced others throughout the years.
- Waves: Chris Brown lends his vocals as Kanye raps about life’s ups and down over synth and turned up high hats.
- FML: Kanye is candid about being faithful in his current relationship. Dedicated to keeping what he has earned, the beat builds slowly with a hook from The Weeknd.
- Real Friends: Kanye’s main single, he discusses the perils of being a successful celebrity while maintaining a relationship with his family. He discusses how some family members take advantage and ask for money and other ‘things.’ Added vocals by Ty Dolla $ign on this one.
- Wolves: This somber track gives a look at Kanye’s personal fears and addictions. Frank Ocean provides a verse for the outdo.
- Silver Surfer Interlude: Essentially, this is a phone conversation between an incarcerated Max B and French Montana. ‘Waves’ was one of the potential titles Kanye had for his album and, of course, Max B had to chime in, being the self-proclaimed founder of the Waves Movement.
- 30 Hours: This is the tale of Kanye driving 30 hours to visit an ex-girlfriend who ends up cheating on him. The ad libs at the end of the track are priceless.
- No More Parties In LA: Co-Produced by Madlib, this highlight track featuring Kendrick Lamar explores the ‘party scene’ of Los Angeles. The beat is infectious and both rappers give stellar verses. Definitely a highlight of the album.
- Facts (Charlie Heat version): At first, I really didn’t care for this song but after considering the context of the entire album, it makes more sense. Yeezy shows his allegiance to Adidas and the success of his shoes, the Yeezy boost.
- Fade: This energetic, world dance track features cameos from Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign. The production is reminiscent of a club, set in 1980’s Miami.
Like his other releases, TLOP is another Kanye album that will stand the test of time. It’s not as dark as 808’s and Yeezus, but he gives us that nostalgia that mature fans love. His use of sonics and nuances have improved over the years, giving his production an upper edge. Find the album exclusively on TIDAL.