Can we forgive Kanye West after a first listen of ‘The Life of Pablo’?
February 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm
During the promotion of his album, now titled The Life of Pablo, Kanye West started Twitter wars over misunderstandings, and told us that he thinks Bill Cosby is innocent. So by the time the Yeezy Season 3 show was ready to stream on Tidal, the general consensus on the timeline was that we were done. Then Kanye West reminded the world what he does best – make music.
Around 5pm, Yeezy plugged in the Aux cord at Madison Square Garden and took us on a journey. He debuted his new clothing line to the soundtrack of his new album. There’s a mix of fans and celebrities filling the seats in MSG, and of course Kanye was surrounded by the squad.
The Life of Pablo, on first listen, is a refined mash up of styles used on his previous albums. There are abrupt sonic changes and layers of samples interacting with each other like many tracks on Yeezus. There is a strong spirit of soul and gospel embedded on some songs like the first two albums West released. You can hear vocal effects he’s kept in his toolbox since 808’s & Heartbreak. There’s even some hook melodies that are reminiscent of the stadium anthems on Graduation. All of this comes with the customary off the wall, never-see-them-coming one line zingers that Kanye has been good for his entire career. The most surprising thing about all these moving parts we heard on the Tidal live-stream is that it was all cohesive. Nothing on this project seems out of place.
The next most surprising thing was the features Mr. West pulled together for The Life of Pablo. Kanye has become known for assembling dream team “We Are the World”-like casts of players to do their thing on his albums, but it’s still a sight to see all those names in one track list. Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, Swizz Beatz, The Dream, Rihanna, ex-protégé Kid Cudi, Young Thug, Desiigner, Teyana Taylor, Kelly Price, El DeBarge, The Weekend, Post Malone, Ty Dolla $ign, and even the elusive Frank Ocean make appearances on the project. The entire time, Kanye’s Yeezy Season models are standing relatively still in various poses on two separate platforms.
We also got new tracks from Young Thug, Vic Mensa, and Travis Scott, as well as a look at a video game Kanye has development featuring his mother riding on a white winged Pegasus through the clouds to the gates of heaven. And obviously no Kanye West event is complete without a rant to cap things off. After his visionary stream of consciousness ended and he said his thank you’s, Ye went to chill with his family and his boy Virgil Abloh gave the people a DJ set while the models were finally let loose to dance around a bit.
Whether Kanye is forgiven or not is a debate that the timeline will be having for weeks. One thing that can’t be disputed is that Kanye West is still making music and it’s still making an impact.