Art & Cultures Editor
The Life of Pablo was no exception. It has been three years since his last album dropped, Yeezus, which was a highly divisive album because of its industrial sound, and he has been very secretive about his music leading people to assume he had just completely switched to the fashion world. He dropped a few songs and featured on a few other artists song mostly to mixed reviews. Pablo was delayed numerous times and kept changing form only days before release. Even Kanye fans were worried, but the Life of Pablo delivered. The moment you turn it on and hear the beginning of Ultralight Beam, you know you are in for an experience
This album sounds like an expressionist portrait. Instead long, maximal songs as featured on the classic My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Pablo features many different song fragments and concepts within a song that change abruptly without notice. The changes on the blend contrast each other creating this beautiful modern cacophony.
The chaos on the album sonically as well the insane album cover which is bright orange shows a picture of a beautiful model as well as a traditional family photo and asks us “Which one?” will we choose. This scattered aesthetic all feels like an attempt from Kanye to show his full self, grabbing elements from all his previous material to come up with this definitive statement on who is Kanye in 2016, Much like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy did in 2010.
The song “Famous” featuring Rihanna has a her singing like a traditional soul singer would matched with the dark grimy beat Kanye raps over, and interlude heavily sampling the classic dub reggae song “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy with Swizz Beats playing to role of a Traditional Jamaican deejay hype man and finishes with Nina Simone sample. What? This is guy who was the most popular rapper in the world doing this on a commercial album. But only through the distorted mind of Kanye, this works completely making on of the best songs on the album.
There are moments on here where Kanye’s lyrics and complex and sincere such as “No More Parties in LA,” or “Real Friends,” while there are other moments where Kanye embraces ignorance and his world of fame such as “Father Stretch My Hands pt. 1”, helping to really create the duality the title suggests. He can combine the most beautiful instrumentation with the most grotesque, stupid lines, making some cringe but they will still question why they enjoy it so much. This is especially true the first half of the album which features the most upbeat songs, after the stellar song “Waves” featuring Chris Brown, the album takes a sadder more introspective turn.
Pablo Picasso was one the most visionary important artist of the 20th century. Pablo Escobar was the most successful yet notorious bad guys in history for his drug trade. San Pablo, also known as Saint Paul, was a disciple of Jesus Christ who spread his word against persecution from the The Roman Empire. Kanye is the artists, the villain, and the prophet at the same time, His choices and actions are dictated by the dichotomy the reigns through this album between good and evil, Church and the devil, being famous and being radical.
It's the best album we could expect from Kanye in 2016. THe amount someone will like this album is based on how much you connect with his experiments and how he uses them to express his reality. It is as experimental as it is emotionally resonant and if that suit your interests than you will certainly enjoy The Life of Pablo.