Kanye’s new album has been shrouded in mystery up until its release.
3 years since the drop of the critically-acclaimed Yeezus, Kanye’s new album, The Life of Pablo, has garnered the attention of the entire media world.
Perhaps the most changes to an album name in recent memory, “The Life of Pablo” was formerly known as “Waves” which was formerly known as “SWISH” which, in turn, was formerly known as “So Help Me God.”
“The Life of Pablo” was premiered on the 11th of February in Madison Square Garden as part of Yeezy Season 3. A fashion show where Kanye premieres his latest in clothing, Yeezy Season is something that is looked forward to by all, not only for the clothes, but for the songs that are usually premiered along with them. Yeezy Season 1 premiered “Wolves” featuring Vic Mensa and Sia while Yeezy Season 2 premiered “Fade”. But Yeezy Season 3 had a lot more in store as the entirety of the album was to be premiered.
But the real eating came when the download link for The Life of Pablo came at around midnight of February 13/14, on nothing other than Tidal. Yes, Tidal. Kanye’s looking out for his big brother Jay and decided to release The Life of Pablo on his streaming service.
Ultralight Beam – 10/10
“The Life of Pablo” begins with Ultralight Beam, one of the strongest tracks on the album, bringing in the elements of soul and gospel with a choir and the stirring Kelly Price. These elements were familiar with Kanye at the beginning of the 21st century.
This first track appears to revolve around West’s relationship with God. Whenever he is down or feels he can not continue anymore, he searches for the light and knows in God’s hands, everything will be alright. This intro track establishes one of the purposes of TLOP: drawing parallels to the life of Paul the Apostle. While you may not expect a religious aspect from TLOP, considering the egotistical Yeezus, but it looks like Kanye is settling down again, becoming more down to earth.
STH-favorite Chance the Rapper also makes an appearance on the track and he absolutely destroys it with his deep lyricism and flow, you have to hear it to believe it.
Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1 – 8/10
Another great track, “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” includes the mash-up of Kid Cudi and Kanye West. “Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” looks to Kanye’s past relationships, particularly that one with Amber Rose, and Kanye is not sweet about it. The song is great, up to the point that Kanye begins his verse. The song is not the best display of Kanye’s lyricism. It would have been interesting if Cudi had provided a verse instead of just the hook.
Pt. 2 – 8/10
One of the bangers of TLOP, “Pt. 2” details Kanye’s most personal moments: from not having time to call his wife due to work, to talking about his mother’s death. Kanye also talks about his father, who divorced his mother due to his overwhelming work and how he does not want to follow in his footsteps.
Famous – 7.5/10
Kanye referencing and addressing the Taylor Swift incident after 7 whole years is daring, considering that this incident defined his fame to this day. Rihanna on the hook was also a welcome addition, considering that the last time she was on a Kanye album was 6 years ago. The outro is reminiscent of the samples used on West’s “Graduation” and is arguably the best part of the track.
Feedback – 4/10
One of the weaker tracks on TLOP, Feedback is probably the track most reminiscent of the polarizing Yeezus. Feedback features a barebones beat that features literal feedback changed to different pitches. After nearly 3 years since the release of “Yeezus”, Kanye announces his return to the rap arena. He flaunts his money, trashes his haters, and reps his humble beginnings with a rant here and there about Oprah.
Highlights – 4/10
Arguable the weakest track on TLOP, Highlights does not really get much out of me. From the unnecessary use of auto-tune and the not-so-decent feature by Young Thug, I do not really think that Kanye meant to put this track on the TLOP.
Freestyle 4 – 6/10
Here the beat is feels eerie and makes you feel uneasy. Another weak verse from Kanye, but Desiigner does bring it back a little
WAVES – 7.5/10
Kanye would have taken this song off of the album if it were not for Chance. Chris Brown on the hook was great. We all have to thank Chance for this song. The more the merrier.
FML – 7/10
The title does not mean what you think it means. FML stands for “For My Lady”. Another personal track, FML looks to Kanye’s life and how needs to change some things or else he risks losing “half of what he owns”, referring to his marriage with Kim Kardashian. FML also features The Weeknd who has an alright hook, not the best. The outro seems kind of unnecessary.
Real Friends – 9/10
Love is the subject matter in this song and I think it stands as one of the best songs on the album. Production reminds me of “Runaway” from “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” with the repetitive piano notes. “Real Friends” looks to how difficult it is to have real friends, even in your own family, that like you for who you are instead of your fame. The track is sort of the opposite of “Family Business” from The College Dropout.
Wolves – 8/10
Production makes the track great, but what really brings it down is the fact that Kanye removed the Vic Mensa and Sia’s verses from the actual release version. You can see the original version in the dark corners of the internet and you can see that it is far superior. But we trade those two out for a little outro from Frank Ocean. Since Kanye is currently working on the album at the time of the writing, then there is no certainty that this is the final version. If Kanye does bring the original back then the track would be a 10/10. But as of right now, it stands as an 8/10.
30 Hours – 8/10
The production on this track feels melancholy and really picks up quickly. “30 Hours” includes a really extensive outro to the effect of “Last Call” from Kanye’s first album The College Dropout which I thought was pretty neat. Nice inclusion and reference to André 3000 from Kanye.
No More Parties in LA – 9.5/10
One of the best tracks on the album without a question. Kanye and Kendrick Lamar trade bars on a track produced by Kanye and Madlib. What more can you ask for? The holy trifecta if you ask me. Kanye’s lyricism really steps up in this track, probably so that he does not get overshadowed by Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick kills his verse, probably one of my favorite verses of his. Kanye spits his raw talent through this track.
Facts (Charlie Heat Version) – 8/10
If you did not like the old version of “Facts”, then try this one. The Charlie Heat version will definitely make you think twice about the track. This track is definitely one of the bangers of TLOP. The beat is simply buggin’. Facts talks about Kanye’s financial success. Primarily, Kanye’s success in the fashion world with his infamous Yeezy Boost 350’s as he boastfully states that he “jumped over Jumpman,” a jab at the rather successful Air Jordans.
This is perhaps my most anticipated track from TLOP. Really great production on this one. The repetitive and infectious beat really gets your head to nod along. All in all, the track did deliver, but not as much as I thought it would