Kanye’s a dick, but he’s brilliant
The Life of Pablo Kanye West I don’t like Kanye West or whatever version of himself he presents in his music, interviews and social media. He’s a dick and a misogynist, and he gets away with it because of how immensely talented he is. Also because he’s generally degrading Black women and we know how little the world cares about us – otherwise his “my bitch makes your bitch look like Precious” (which was a new level of vile from his Cruel Summer album) would never have passed. Nevertheless, Ye being an insufferable misogynist doesn’t take away from his immense musical awesomeness.
Kanye is brilliant. He gave my favourite rapper, Jay Z, his sound, and made Hova JayHova. That’s indisputable.
Releasing The Life of Pablo (TLOP), Yeezy had the past to contend with. There’s the memory of Yeezus (arguably the weakest link in his discography), along with his brilliance on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTF), Graduation and College Dropout. Ye will forever be judged by his previous albums, which I think is unfair, but such is life. It’s also a part of a fallacy that fans like to tell themselves: “I want the old Kanye” – which, if they got, they would be upset about. (“Why are you giving me the same music?”)
Also, Kanye’s life is fundamentally different from when he made his past albums – most significantly, his beloved mother, Donda, is dead. We all know, because he told us on Clique, a few years ago, that her death almost pushed him to suicide.
So is TLOP any good? Yes. Is it the old Kanye? Not at all. Is it the album of the year, as he tweeted it would be? Not by a long shot. However, TLOP is still a good album. Ultralight Beam, the first of 18 tracks, is very special. I wish there were fewer guest features and more songs of just Ye. To call it a masterpiece would be taking it too far, but also insulting to MBDTF, because that was pretty flawless. Also, Ye shouldn’t be making the same album. He made TLOP. It’s not MBDTF, and that’s just fine.
The Life of Pablo is streaming on tidal.com, the streaming service West co-owns
In the years between making a spectacle of himself, Kanye West made some great music