On February 14th, 2016 rapper Kanye West released his highly anticipated brand new album “The Life Of Pablo“. The album was launched through the streaming service Tidal, following a series of delays in its recording, including changes to its track listing and title in the weeks leading up to its release. “The Life Of Pablo” had praise from music critics with all the attention drawn to its kaleidoscope musical production.
This album went through many name changes from So Help Me God, SWISH, and Waves, which was all announced over Kanye’s twitter account. Finally on February 9th, West settled on the album’s title “The Life Of Pablo” and announced in a tweet “The album is being mastered and will be out today… added on a couple of tracks…”.
The album received a general amount of positive reviews but some including Rolling Stone magazine’s Rob Sheffield called it “A mess and a masterpiece”, with Metacritic rating it a 79 out of 100. Kanye urged the public to download Tidal so they could purchase his album, which eventuated in the App hitting the number 1 spot on the App charts. On the downside, this album also resulted in it being pirated over 500,000 times online.
My attention was first brought to this work when I heard samples of this album at New York fashion week, and I was pleasantly surprised. The album is a collection of different vibes, tapping into his discography of signature samples. The album contains a spectrum of instrumentals from the 1960’s to a present hip hop sound. I’m not a major fan of West, but this album amongst its confusion in sound production and it’s almost incomplete instrumentals it somehow manages to work like only Kanye can make it work. The sound is very cluttered, and has a lot going on, but yet with the vocals laced over the track it all blends to a workable art.
“The Life Of Pablo” contains a lot of features from hip-hop heavyweights like Kanye albums always do, and although it has a different vibe from his earlier work and has more of his present YEEZY sound, I still think it headed in the right direction. Although sometimes Kanye seems a little insane this album showcases maybe there is a method to his madness. The start of the album I thought was weak in value, but from track 8 onwards to the final track, you’d be presently surprised just how good it is. This album could have been a masterpiece if it wasn’t for Kanye’s ego.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
“The Life Of Pablo” tracklisting and credits:
- Ultralight Beam (feat. Chance The Rapper and Kirk Franklin) (West/Swizz Beats/Kelly Price/The Dream)
- Father Stretch My Hands pt. 1 (feat. Kid Cudi) (West/Scott Mescudi/Rick Rubin)
- Pt. 2 (feat. Desiinger) (West/Cydel Young/Sidney Shelby)
- Famous (feat. Rihanna) West/Havoc/Noah Goldstein/Jimmy Webb)
- Feedback (West/Young/Darius Jenkins/Marcus Byrd)
- Low Lights (West/M. Dean/Potter)
- Highlights (feat. Young Thug) (West/Nash/Young/Goldstein)
- Freestyle 4 (feat. Desiinger) (West/M. Dean/Young/Goldstein)
- I Love Kanye (West)
- Waves (feat. Chris Brown) (West/Brown/Nash/MoHawke)
- FML (feat. The Weekend) (West/Abel Tesfaye/Young/M. Dean/Travis Scott/Metro Boomin)
- Real Friends (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) (West/Matthew Samuels/Adam Feeney/Boi-1da/Havoc)
- Wolves (feat. Frank Ocean and Caroline Shaw) (West/Marcus Hoiberg/Christopher Breaux/Cashmere Cat)
- Silver Surfer Intermission (West/Charly Wingate)
- 30Hours (West/Aubrey Graham/Arthur Russell/Cornell Hayes/Goldstein)
- No More Parties In LA (feat. Kendrick Lamar) (West/Otis Jackson Jr/Kendrick Duckworth/Madlib)
- Facts (West/Young/Ernst Brown/Graham/Southside)
- Fade (feat. Post Mallone and Ty Dolla $ign) (West/Griffin Jr/Potter/M. Dean/DJ Dodger)