When Kanye West reactivated his Twitter account, that was a sign something was coming. Without keeping fans in suspense, he tweeted about the new projects from G.O.O.D. Music. This list included his own album — this album — which was only given the title ye the night before its release. However, his tweets about his album aren’t all that built up the anticipation for this project. Rather, his culturally disturbing posts on Twitter, which he later topped with his outrageous words during an interview on TMZ, created a negative hype and suspense prior to release. Certainly, every listener would pay attention to his lyrics before any other ingredient on ye. Right now, his lyrics act as the thin thread between him and the audience.
He begins the 24-minute album with “I Thought About Killing You.” His message tends to suggest thinking about killing people is a sign that you love them. As he continues, it becomes clearer that “killing” is his metaphor for love. Thus, if you replace it in the title, it means I thought about loving you. Kanye West shows his prowess as a producer and rapper with the blend of elements within this track. The first track is a reassurance that Kanye can still create good music while addressing the drama he has surrounded himself with. His simple, yet hard-hitting rhymes adds some class to this song.
The sample used on “Yikes” adds a spice of fun to the beat. He sounds confident on this track as he calls himself a superhero while rapping: “They been strategizin’ to harm me/They don’t know they dealin’ with a zombie.” With bipolar disorder, the highs are high and the lows are low. On this song, Kanye is embracing this high and filled with self-confidence.
Opening with church-like organ music, “All Mine” ironically deals with the infidelity of others. Ye goes on to list a few famous celebrities who have been caught cheating and speculates about their motives. The hook by Valee suits the rhythm set by the simple beat pattern. His rhymes are hilarious but contain some truth.
The arrangement of “Wouldn’t Leave” makes it a tour de force. From PARTYNEXTDOOR’s chorus to Kanye’s verses, the bridge by Jeremih, and the sonically pleasant harmony by the choir and Ty Dolla Sign, this track is special to this album. The whole world was shocked after his interview on TMZ when he said: “Slavery was a choice.” However, not many knew what was going on back home. He uses this track to appreciate his wife, Kim, who stood by him during the peak of that drama. In the outro of this track, he says:“For every down female that stuck with they dude/Through the best times, through the worst times, this for you.” He sounds like a man who finally understands the meaning of “for better or for worse.”
As Kid Cudi’s baritone echoes underneath Charlie Wilson’s vocals on “No Mistake,” a modest yet classic hook is created. Kanye seems to shed a dim light on the ups and downs of his relationship while he sends some shots at Drake.
“Ghost Town” begins with an intro by John Legend that takes you to church. Kanye hasn’t been doing a lot of singing lately, but this track is definitely worth having on repeat as Kanye surfs on a calm wave. Similar to “Wouldn’t Leave,” this is another song with an impeccable arrangement. Listening to every artist on this song gives the same pleasure as watching a group of break dancers do the chain wave.
070 Shake’s smooth, calm, and soulful vocals on “Violent Crimes,” sets a warm rhythm for Kanye’s energy. On this song, Kanye speaks like a man who just gained the perspective of what it means to have a female child and treat females with respect. He describes men with his lines: “Niggas is pimps, niggas is players, ’til niggas have daughters.” This song ends up featuring some of the the more clear and understandable lyrics on ye.
With the combination of his perplexing tweets and heartbreaking interviews, the focus on Kanye’s album was seemingly tossed aside. But somehow, all that drama built up anticipation as well. Would he preach more of the “Make America Great Again” gospel? Would he address the issues surrounding his comments on social media? No one could predict the theme of the album. I was one of those people. Although shocked by some of his comments, Kanye West’s legacy as one of the greatest rappers can’t be easily erased. Kanye hasn’t really failed as a producer either and his touch on Pusha T’s DAYTONA made ye an album I was looking forward to.
Love him or hate him, Kanye West has shown himself to be a musical genius over his career. This isn’t his best album, but a reaffirmation that Kanye still has the ability to create songs worth listening to and sometimes even hint at the masterpieces of his early work. ye is ends up being a 24-minute boat cruise with a bipolar artist who struggles to paint a picture of his mind for the audience. In the midst of this, he creates a wave of tunes that are appealing, thought-provoking, confusing, impressive and satisfying. “I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome,” which is the typography on the album art, is a fair depiction of many lyrics on ye.
On this album, the selection of features end up being a highlight. The arrangement on songs like “Wouldn’t Leave,” and “Ghost Town” have multiple features and with artists like 070 Shake, John Legend, Kid Cudi, and Ty Dolla $ign all contributing to this album, it’s like Kanye knew the perfect team for his project. The production of this album, specifically the selection of samples and instruments help in the generation of memorable tunes. After spending some time with this album, I don’t think Kanye West is crazy. However, he’s someone who outside of his outrageous statements, takes music, and creativity, seriously. Nothing on this album is that far removed from his previous material. In the end, Kanye has always been a complex artist who creates dark, thought-provoking music — whether he’s talking about politics, Jesus, or himself. This album lives up to that bar and finds itself fitting within a discography of great music.