First Seen On WeAreWax. Blog
By Thomas Hester II (@thomasahester2)
With boasts of a music video from Oscar winning director Steve McQueen, Puff Daddy announcing he would executive produce, an unlikely pairing of the self professed ‘black Beatle’ & Sir Paul McCartney the anticipation of Kanye West’s new project was at an all time high.
Untimely Twitter rants, G.O.O.D. Friday delays, renewed controversy with Taylor Swift & Wiz Khalifa caused fans to become bitter towards Kanye’s antics. Many fans believed that the album would need to meet musical miracle to excuse his many antics.
The first offerings were varied to say the least. The styles changed seemly as much as the album titles from So Help Me God to SWISH to Waves to finally ‘The Life Of Pablo’. Only One was a touching track that Ye felt his mother & grandmother used to channel through him to talk to his daughter Nori.
At the end of ADIDAS Yeezy Season 1, he debuted ‘Wolves’ – a melodic auto tuned record featuring famed songwriter Sia & fellow Chicagoan Vic Mensa. After partnering with Jay Z for TIDAL hailing exclusively, he found a home on Soundcloud releasing a melodic ‘Real Friends’, as well as, ‘No More Parties In L.A.’.
When ‘No More Parties in L.A.’ debuted, fans were actually arguing who had a better verse on the song; was it Kanye or Kendrick? Hailing that the “writer’s block is over” and that emcees should cancel their plans, to their surprise, critics harshly expressed the lack of lyricism upon TLOP’s release.
Cringe worthy lines like “I know its corny niggas you wish you could un-swallow.” made certain bars hard to digest. Terrible opening lines about getting bleach on t-shirts fans felt Kanye may have lost his progression.
But the question is posed: Is TLOP considered a classic?
Kanye continues the tradition of never having an album sound the same. The soul beats on ‘College Dropout’. The fusion of orchestra in ‘Late Registration’ with Jon Brion promoting interpolation of bands and live instrumentation inspired by artists like Jay Z & Rick Ross. The stadium music on Graduation. The over-emotional sounds of ‘808s And Heartbreak’. the magnum opus ‘MBDTF’. The crashing jolts of ‘Yeezus’ now TLOP described as a gospel-inspired album.
With up and coming artists like Chance The Rapper, Young Thug, Post Malone, and G.O.O.D. Music’s new signee, Desiigner, Kanye has continued the tradition of introducing artists and giving them their rocketed exposure.
A “classic” is subjective but the truth is Kanye West has one of the best discography’s not only in hip-hop but all of music. The college trilogy (‘College Dropout’, ‘Late Registration’, ‘Graduation’) then with the death of Donda West & a breakup with a fiancee gave way to ‘808s & Heartbreak’, answering critics with ‘MBDTF’, handling frustration with ‘Yeezus’. As a self described “futurist”, his music has been universally praised even after some initially skepticism. This no exception.
The question promoted from this album was ‘Which One?’ which many took from if its Pablo Escobar, Pablo Picasso then Rapzilla asked if it was about the biblical character, Paul. Kanye himself has described “the story idea of Mary Magdalene becoming Mary” and the progress can be seen in his verse in Wolves, asking what would’ve happened I’d Mary was in a nightclub before finding Joseph.
The same qualities fans have praised this album can be criticized for. Like him, ‘TLOP’ can definitely be chaotic but where some may not like the lack of continuity it can be said that every type of Kanye fan can find something to enjoy about this project.
Mr. West is always innovating and this album is no different. He’s learned how to balance his mediums while taking from each successful album with samples in various genres blending them together. Kanye was able to share his faults and failures along with what makes him Kanye. We get a deeper understanding on this album as the things he’s dealt with outside of the braggadocio and luxury bars. TLOP is dark, thoughtful, optimistic and reflective all at the same time.
We will find out soon if Pablo can be considered a classic, hopefully, through its influential continuance.