Separating the art from the artist, today more than ever, is a very hard task to do in the social media era. When a beloved star can instantly express their controversial opinions via twitter a contrarian like Kanye West can quickly push people’s buttons and disrupt minds by manipulating popular and sensitive social opinions and ideologies. Whether a high stakes Andy Kaufman-like performance art piece, a subversive Machiavellian take over scheme, or just honest shocking personal truth Kanye has sent a shock wave through the public conscious and successfully aimed all energy and attention towards himself and his GOOD Music collaborators. Potentially playing up his mental instability (possibly as a future scapegoat for his antics) Kanye delivers a very personal 7 song opus, choosing to omit all political content and refusing to answer any of the questions he raised on his month early twitter spree when wearing a MAGA hat and showing right wing support in a country more divided than ever.
‘Yikes’ plays into the imagery and message of the cover art on ‘ye’ with lyrics suggesting psychedelic drugs, ‘trolling OD’, and his bi-polar disorder positioned as a super power. Sonically ‘ye’ is an amalgamation of a large portion of West’s previous LP’s. ‘All Mine’ is eerily simplistic, vulgar and carnal, easily a missing link in the ‘Yeezus’ sessions. ‘Yikes’ has samples chopped and looped ‘College Dropout’ style with 808s and drums straight from ‘Pablo’. ‘No Mistakes’ -featuring a hypnotic hook from frequent collaborator and soul mentor Charlie Wilson- and ‘Wouldn’t Leave’ sound fresh from the ‘Dark Fantasy’ sessions. ‘Ghost Town’ features some of Kanye’s best singing to date, this track plays as a sort of preview to the Cudi and Kanye collabo and features some of the best hooks and melodies on the entire record. 070 Shake steals the show with the most memorable section of the song, a sing-a-long outro that sticks in the listeners head instantaneously. ‘Violent Crimes’ plays as a ‘Late Registration’ hidden gem, keys and chord progressions attune to the blend of classic Kanye and Jon Brion.
Aside from the media storm Kanye created before releasing the album, music alone, ‘ye’ is a great album one many would consider an EP but the envelope pushing Kanye is known for would argue ‘what constitutes an album?’. In the 80s ‘The Time’s’ first 3 albums were only 6 tracks each. Only time will tell how the public accepts an artist, an icon in actuality, who hurts a majority of his fan base’s feelings with the thoughts of his personal life purposefully thrust into the public, will we be able to look at his art the same? Will he be able to reel those he lost back in? Is there any form of closure he can do to repair the ‘damage’? Or is Kanye bigger than all of this? Perhaps this was a show of his true power like the ‘Famous’ video showing politics and celebrity as one on the same plain maybe Kanye has to answer to no one and we truly will make exceptions for our musical elite no matter what their transgressions are.