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Album review: Breaking down Kanye West’s ‘Ye’

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By Noah Alvarez

You can call Kanye West many things, but one thing you can definitely not call him…is boring.

On June 1st, West dropped his highly anticipated eighth studio album, titled Ye. Unlike his previous albums, Ye was highly anticipated different reasons than before. Kanye decided to shake the pop culture media by returning to Twitter during mid-April.

He started off by tweeting very inspirational messages and stated that he would be working on a few different projects that would be released this summer. However, things began to take an unusual turn even for Kanye, as he started sharing his political views and his support of president Donald Trump. Kanye was later interviewed by TMZ to talk about his latest political ideas and in the interview, Kanye offended many members of the African-American community by saying things like “slavery was a choice.”

Kanye faced plenty of backlash on Twitter for the interview but according to him, that negative energy inspired him to scratch the tracks he previously recorded for the album. On an interview with popular radio host Big Boy, Kanye mentioned that he “completely made a new album using the energy that the universe was giving him.”

The title of his album, Ye, he explained was chosen because ‘ye’ is very commonly used in the bible as a meaning of ‘you.’ Kanye stated that he feels like this album is a reflection of who we all are.

The very first song in the album is titled “I Thought About Killing You” and as the title suggests, dips into the sensitive subject of suicide. The first two minutes of the song, Kanye uses spoken word to depict the variety of emotions he or anyone could feel when contemplating suicide. The lines, “Today I thought about killing you” and “the most beautiful thoughts are always besides the darkest” appear multiple times.

Then, the energy of the song changes to a lighter mood as Kanye begins to start flowing with the same instrumental. At 3:10, the beat changes to a harder, trap-like beat and it could represent the bipolar nature of Kanye.

The second song on the album is titled “Yikes”, and dives into the topic of opioid abuse, something that Kanye himself has lived through. The chorus of the song contains the lines “shit could get menacing, frightening, find help”, and “sometimes I scare myself” to portray the up and down nature of opioids.

In his verses, Kanye uses the lines “tweaking of that 2CB huh,” “I done died and live again on DMT,” and “I think Prince and Mike was tryna warn me” to paint us a picture of his drug abuse. He refers to Prince and Michael Jackson because both pop stars have recently died due to drug overdose. In the outro of the song, Kanye proclaims that his bipolar state is his third person and that his disorder is a superpower, not a disability.

The third song of the album is titled “All Mine”, and features both Ty Dolla $ign and Jeremih. This song talks about infidelity and Kanye mentions a few celebrities who have been caught having affairs. Jeremih sings the line “get to rubbin on my lamp, get the genie out of the bottle” multiple times in the chorus, with the genie representing a person’s sexual desires.

In the second verse, Kanye uses the line “all these thots on Christian Mingle/ almost what got Tristan single/ if you don’t ball like him or Kobe/ guarantee that b***h gonna leave you” to take shots at both Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson and retird NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Both NBA players were caught cheating on their spouses but both spouses decided not to leave, most likely because of their players’ income.

The fourth song is titled “Wouldn’t Leave” and features Jeremih and PARTYNEXTDOOR. Kanye made this track to praise all the women that stuck by their man’s side during rough times, including his own wife Kim Kardashian West.

Kanye uses the line “Now I’m on fifty blogs gettin fifty calls/ my wife calling, screaming say “We about to lose it all”/ had to calm her down cause she couldn’t breathe/ told her that she could leave me now, but she wouldn’t leave” to display his wife’s loyalty during the wild backlash he was receiving for his TMZ interview this year. The line “And I know you wouldn’t leave…” gets repeated by Jeremih seven different times during the song and emphasizes that no matter what a man may go through in life, a good woman will always stick by his side.

Kanye’s fifth track on the album is titled “No Mistakes”, and runs just over two minutes. The song features Charlie Wilson, Kid Cudi and samples Slick Rick repeatedly through the song. In the song’s only verse, Kanye reflects on his financial issues and the stress that he faced with the lines “Oh, I got dirt on my name, I got white on my beard/ I had debt on my books, it’s been a shaky ass year.”

In the ladder part of the verse, Kanye West responds to Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle,” a single that takes shots at both Pusha T and Yeezy. Kanye uses the lines “Too close to snipe you/ truth told I like you/ too bold to type you/ too rich to fight you/ calm down, you light skin!” to tell Drake that for a multitude of reasons, he is not worth responding to, which is more of a diss than making a diss track.

The sixth track of the album is titled “Ghost Town”, and features Kid Cudi and G.O.O.D Music’s newest artist, 070 Shake. Kanye has only one short verse on the track but in his verse, he reflects on his past mishaps and his moments of greatness using the lines “Sometimes I take all the shine/ talk like I drank all the wine/ years ahead but way behind.”

The outro, sung by 070 Shake, repeats the lines “We’re still the kids we used to be” and “and nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free.” These lines follow the same theme of a tweet released by Kanye in April when he tweeted, “We’re all kids, or at least dying to be kids. Or we’re dying because we have lost our inner child and we are dying to be ourselves.”

The final track of the album is titled “Violent Crimes”, and this could be the deepest track on the album. In Kanye’s lone verse he opens up with, “N*ggas is savage, n*ggas is monsters/ N*ggas is pimps, n*ggas is players/ until n*ggas have daughters, now they precautions/ father, forgive me, I’m scared of the karma.” Kanye, who now has two daughters, speaks on how men have a changed perception of women once they have daughters.

Kanye uses the lines “I answer the door like Will Smith and Martin” and “I’ll beat his ass, pray I’ll beat the charges” to portray the protective nature men have on their daughters. Kanye then goes on to rap, “I pray your body’s draped more like mine, and not like your mommy’s” and “She can’t comprehend the danger she’s in/ if you whoop her ass, she move in with him/ then he whoop her ass, you go through it again.”

Plenty of young men in today’s society sexualize women. But, according to Kanye, when these same men have daughters, they hope that their daughters aren’t attractive enough to be sexualized by the males in society.

Final Thoughts

Ye is nothing similar to any of Kanye’s previous albums and if you expect it to be, it will disappoint you. But much like J Cole’s album KOD that released earlier this year, Kanye talks about very real problems that plenty of people deal with on a day-to-day basis. He also opens up about his bipolar nature for the first time and talks about the battles he has faced because of it.

This is not they type of album you play at the gym or at a party, but it is an eye-opening album nonetheless. I give it a B- and suggest you listen to it one time through with an open mind.

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