Remember 2005? Do you remember when what happened after Katrina happened? All the mess it was and the stuff that went down? Do you remember that speech Kanye did where he said his thoughts on Bush and a mortified Mike Myers just didn’t know what to say afterwards, and Chris Tucker looked just as shocked? Point is, this isn’t the first time Kanye has said what he felt. Be it on Bush, be it on his hometown of Chicago, be it on South Park writers, be it on who should win a crappy award, or be it on or with Trump. This is probably not the last time we will hear his thoughts. And when we do, there will always be controversy. Kanye West has been a magnet for attention with whatever words or actions he takes, and the latest incident is no doubt another one. Kanye liking Trump has caused a lot of talk over social media about him, even though it’s not the first time he has actually endorsed Trump because he did during the election. But even so, this has caused everyone to say he is:
- An Uncle Tom
- A traitor
- Not being liberal enough
- Not as good an artist as Donald Glover (That’s for y’all to decide)
- Not being black enough
- Has a mental illness
And all that. To my point, all I can say is, politics are complete shit, and have been even before the 2016 election. Quite frankly, everyone has their own right to say what they want and how they feel, as that is Freedom Of Speech and independent thought, no matter how stupid or thought-provoking you may think it might be.
Now, why did I start all this for a review? Because all of that has tied into Kanye West’s music throughout his career. Be it College Dropout, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Yeezus, and his newest album, Ye. The last one I put on the list above has been talked about for some time, as has his relationship with Kim Kardashian, and both are highlighted throughout this album. It makes for an interesting album for a guy who has a history of storied albums.
Ye, like Pusha T’s album, is all produced by Kanye himself, and like that one, there are only 7 songs and is a very short album (Collected time of 23:41). The starting songs for Kanye are usually always great (“We Don’t Care” from CDO is still one of my favorite songs in any genre.) However, “I Thought About Killing You” is actually one of the weakest ones I have heard, and is the weakest track on the album. The beats for it are amazing, and the 2nd half is okay, but the first half is basically Kanye talking about how he loves himself and how he can kill his loved ones. It’s on there with 808’s as the weakest Kanye opening for me.
A lot of the album is Kanye talking about his mental state and how he is dealing with it. “Yikes” has him tell you about his mental state and how he has heard all the noise everywhere about him, and “Wouldn’t Leave” also addresses this while talking about women being loyal to their man dealing with all these issues and quirks. You can say it’s a shoutout to Kim. Even if everyone has doubts about the marriage to her, he does love his wife. Speaking of family, the last song, “Violent Crimes,” is all about his daughter and how fathers, mostly black fathers, get very protective of them when they start to grow up and wanting them to stay as is for the time being (He hopes that North grows to be a “monster” like Nicki Minaj, as she ends the song with her own message to her.) It is my favorite song on Ye, as these lyrics say it all
“Niggaz are savage/Niggaz is monsters/Niggaz is pimps, niggaz is players/till niggaz have daughters.”
The highlight, like on Daytona, is Kanye’s masterful use of his production and beats. Every song on here is accompanied by a wonderful blend of different beats, and the production value is as good as some of Kanye’s best stuff, two examples being the songs “All Mine” and “Ghost World.” They both aren’t anywhere near his best, as the latter is kinda all over the place in auto-tune and singing, but man, the beats on it make it somehow flow beautifully. I almost want to give it a 100/10 for how good it is.
Overall, the whole album is perfectly fine. Of course, I’m a massive Kanye fan, so reviewing a Kanye album is something I always wanted to do. Is this his best album? No, not by a long shot. Hell, to be completely honest, I’d say this is near the bottom of Kanye albums for me, just ahead of Life of Pablo and 808’s and Heartbreak. But, it’s still a good album. With some amazing production and beats, Ye is definitely something I would give a listen to a few more times. Which I probably will soon enough. Of course, the people who “cancelled” Kanye will be missing out. Then again, this album hit #1 on iTunes, so who knows if you’re actually quitting on him because of a weak, political grudge. I know I certainly am not.
Final verdict: Not his best stuff, but a quality album for sure.
Ye is available from GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings on digital download and streaming services.