“Father, this prayer is for everyone that feels they’re not good enough. This prayer’s for everybody that feels like they’re too messed up. For everyone that feels they’ve said “I’m sorry” too many times. You can never go too far when you can’t come back home again”
I’ve been in a different type of mood these days. I’ve been practising meditation techniques, fucking techniques, growing closer with a Higher Power of my understanding; all of this, just so I can feel happier. I’ve created this vision of myself, and for the most part, I have grown into him. But some where along the journey, I became lost in the fantasy of being someone else. I’m desperate for detachment from my desires. Friends have been worried about me. They’ve been sending me their favourite Jazz pieces. Thank you to the god or goddess who suggested Miles Davis. Bitches Brew and To Pimp a Butterfly are a dangerous mix on an empty stomach; the hunger becomes unbearable. The truth is, I haven’t been #DickStrong for quite some time. There’s a possibility I never was. But my brain knows the feeling; in that case, I still believe it to be true. Faith wins and ego takes the “L.” I was introduced to Kanye’s latest album in between meditations and bumping Bitches Brew. I believe I was also sipping tea. I refused to go through the hassle of downloading the new Ye’ off the internet, so being the loyal Jigga fan I am, I paid for a subscription to Tidal. It’s a shitty streaming site. Fuck. But, mentally, physically, and spiritually, I was in the zone to give the The Life Of Pablo a fair and unbiased listen.
First of all, leave it to Yeezus to create more entertaining press and promotion for the album than the actual music itself. Hip-Hop has become a circus of Twitter bangers and “street-punks” fighting for the public’s attention. I will admit, it broke my heart to see Mr. West take to social media and air out his grievances and frustrations with the music industry. I just wanted to hear the music, because especially in Yeezy’s case, the music always speaks for itself. It feels like I’ve spent half a decade defending his artistry to a bunch of dummies who delusionally wish he was still all about pink polo’s and backpacks. I understand College Dropout is one of the greatest albums of all time but there’s more than that, putos. 808’s & Heartbreaks is far from backpack rap but it’s still a classic which gave birth to the sound in Hip-Hop we hear today. Yeezus is an unapologetic distortion of sound, but regardless, it remains a classic like Illmatic and all of them. I stand by this defence until the death of me, but even for a Yeezy Head like me, Kanye’s antics, especially this year, make defending him impossible. Whether defending his anus from Amber Rose, arguing about”waviness” with a garbage rapper like Whiz Khalifa, claiming Bill Cosby is innocent, or running for fucking president, the past few years have been a constant headache when defending Yeezy. Here’s the problem, though. Kanye West doesn’t need my fucking help. I’m pretty sure he’s good. So I trashed my defence and patiently waited for the album to bring justice to his career. Even with the absence and broken promises of G.O.O.D. Fridays, the constant and ridiculous title changes, I patiently waited for the word of Kanye. And now, with a bullshit subscription to Tidal, it has arrived.
The album’s cover is like a scene from one of my dreams: pictures of my family, words scattered everywhere, the color orange and big booty White women. I’m trying to change my life: forgive me. There’s no denial Kanye West is infatuated by the idea of God and the pursuit of higher learning. Despite his admitted faults and defects, there’s always room for God in the madness of his music. The album kicks off with a breathtaking tone of Hard Core Gospel meeting the grittiness of South Side Chicago;”Ultralight Beam” is a sigh of relief for every die hard fan who has been wondering what the fuck happened to their favourite artist who shot to super-stardom in 2004. The theme of faith is undeniable in the album’s opening track and is heard throughout the entire album. In a time when Kanye’s sanity is constantly in question, I often wonder how Kanye the person, not the rich ass rapper, copes with the pressures of fame, outrageous success, and public scrutiny. I know I would have crumbled by my first Jesus piece; that’s why I’ve always admired him. But throughout the years, we’ve seen the rapper self destruct countless times to the point where it’s difficult to differentiate the rapper from the person. On The Life of Pablo, the person we know as Kanye West attempts to make amends with the mortals he once walked with, and of course, with God. And although Yeezus yearns to reconnect with planet Earth, it would be a goddamn lie if Kanye’s demons failed to make an appearance on his road to redemption. The album is a constant battle between faith and ego and it’s no surprise the album’s highlights are phenomenal but it’s defects are relentlessly but purposely annoying. It’s aright though, because like a Picasso painting, even the parts which are uneasy for the eye make sense to the entirety of the work’s beauty.
I am programmed to vibe the fuck out to the soulful “Father Stretch My Hands PT. 1,” mostly because I’m happy to hear Kid Cudi back on his shit. The whole album, production is a strength but beats reign supreme on tracks like”Feedback” and the Rihanna assisted “Famous.” The Madlib orchestrated “Real Friends” is the album’s stand out track, which mixes the spirit of teddy bear Ye’ with the power of the decapitated King from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. And although I’ve always considered Mr. West a poor lyricist, it’s hard to deny he beat out the incredible King Kendrick for best verse on “No More Parties in L.A.” The Drake assisted “30 Hours” is riding the beat out and a portrait of ad-libbing at it’s finest, and with The Weeknd’s help on “FML,” the song literally makes me want to fuck my life up for real, though! Even a goof rapper like Young Thug shines on “Highlights,” which is proof Kanye is the greatest casting director Hip-Hop has ever known. Having said all that, there is major defects to the Gospel character the albums begs to create: “I Love Kanye West,” “Facts,” and the drunken “Freestyle 4” are brutal reminders Kanye is losing it mentally and spiritually, but, somehow, it still makes sense for them to exist on the album.
Pablo is a metaphor to the life of the troubled artist. On one hand, Kanye is a loved and admired artist like Picasso; but on the other, he is a dangerous, even poisonous to our culture like Escobar. It’s up to us to decide which Ye’ we choose to admire. I have faith most Hip-Hop heads will have the wisdom to know the difference.
RATING: 4/5 An Incredible Display of Beats, Ryhmes, and Hip-Hop. Definite Satisfaction.
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