There are many people that I consider to be traditionally more intelligent than Kanye West. I couldn’t name a single artist still actively making music that is creatively on par with Kanye. Lou Reed--legendary guitarist and lead vocalist of the Velvet Underground--even said so to Rolling Stone Magazine. “No one's near doing what he's doing, it's not even on the same planet."
By the time Kanye changed his 2016 album’s name for the 4th time, it was obvious this wasn’t going to be a traditional Kanye album. It was messy and cluttered. But one thing it had in common with every other Kanye album after his debut album--nobody could take their eyes off of everything he was doing and saying. Kanye has been as active on twitter as ever. He feuded with Wiz Khalifa, casually tweeted out “BILL COSBY INNOCENT!!!!!!”, and declared his upcoming full length LP to be the greatest album of all time or “out of respect for Q-Tip, Puff, Hov, Lauren, Pharcyde, Mary, Stevie, Michael, Hendrix, James, Pete Rock, Pac, Marvin this new album is ONE of the greatest albums not the greatest just one of.”
The opening track “Ultralight Beam” is a terrifically harmonious gospel track that features Kelly Price with incredible soaring vocals, The Dream, Kirk Franklin, and most importantly Chance the Rapper. Chance delivers the most charismatic verse on the entire album.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the album is how many different Kanye’s we get. “Feedback” sounds exactly like the electronic minimalist tracks from Yeezus--even including hte primal screaming that stood out on Yeezus. Radio Host DJ Ebro from Hot 97 was one of the first to get to listen to the entire album. He tweeted that we get “Samples Kanye, big drums Kanye, heavy bass line Kanye, controversial punchline Kanye, melodic Kanye, all in one project.” I never thought I’d see a jazz head producer like Madlib paired on the same album as a druggy trap producer like Metro Boomin.
Overall, The Life of Pablo is yet another stellar Kanye album to add to his already flawless discography. The Life of Pablo finds a way to combine an incredible variety of sounds and methods clustered together into a truly cohesive masterpiece. TLOP is more than likely his most flawed work to date, but maybe it’s also his most brilliant. Criticize Kanye all you want as an individual, he’s remarkably flawed and unapologetic. I for one, enjoy being entertained by an entertainer.