Kanye West has been one of the most talked about and polarizing figures in the hip hop game for over two decades. His name was recently in the news for his comments made on an appearance on TMZ.
But it seems that Kanye has gotten his focus back on his music which is what he does best. Kanye’s old music was known for its rhymes as well as its flow. Lines like “I’m just sayin how I feel man, I ain’t one of the Cosby’s, I ain’t go to Hillman” from his 2007 track “Can’t Tell Me Nothin”, show Kanye’s exceptional ability to get across a message, while making it flow and rhyme as well. His 2007 “Graduation” album is my favorite album of his because you can tell that he was focused solely on making great music people can turn up to. I also believe “Graduation” is the greatest example of how well Kanye makes his rhymes flow with his beats. As an athlete in high school, I always made sure that “Stronger” was blaring in my ears before a game with Kanye reminding me that what doesn’t kill me “can only make me stronger”. However as Kanye has grown older, he has started to focus more the meaning of his lyrics and the messages he puts out to the world through his music, which can be heard in his latest album.
Kanye West, Graduation. Featuring songs Champion, Stronger, Good Life and Homecoming
Kanye’s eighth and most recent solo album titled “ye” is laced with his unique positions on a variety of topics. Kanye used this album to display his talent as a lyricist while speaking his mind about his trials and tribulations in life. In the past, we have grown accustomed to Kanye making music that we can turn up to or listen to at a party. However, most of “ye” consists of Kanye rapping over smooth tones and beats, while discussing issues close to his heart, like his family and coping with mental illness.
The track titled “No Mistakes” can be seen as a direct omen to his wife Kim Kardashian. The words “Make no mistake, girl, I still love you” are repeated numerous times which is something we haven’t really seen from Kanye before. Kanye has turned into a so-called “family man” right before our eyes which is a direct result of him growing older and getting wiser. His Bi-Polar disorder and mental health as a whole was a huge theme throughout this album, which is something we may not have expected from the old Kanye either. Songs like “Yikes” and “All Mine” stood out to me because they take me back to the days of the old Kanye when songs like “Jesus Walks” and “Gold Digger” were blasting through our speakers. While songs like “Wouldn’t Leave” and “Ghost Town” are a better representation of the “New Kanye”. This album showed me that Kanye still has a part of the “Old Kanye” inside of him, but that his mindset is completely different. He is still unafraid to speak his mind and say what he wants, but the content of his message has completely changed. Now Kanye is unafraid to speak his mind about the situations he has been in and what means the most to him. His mental health is something that he has shied away from talking about but finally realized that it’s okay to do so while making great music.
When Kanye made his controversial comments in May, he lost a lot of credibility amongst his fans, some of whom vowed to never listen to his music again. But I’m not sure it’s something Kanye thinks about much. On his first track titled “I Thought About Killing You” he says “I love myself way more than I love you” than follows it up with “See, if I was trying to relate it to more people I’d probably say I’m struggling with loving myself”. This proves Kanye no longer cares much about being relatable, but about speaking the straight truth about his life struggles. The song title alone might be enough to turn some people off, but the fact that it is the first song on the album proves Kanye is past the days of seeking acceptance. Although Kanye might not care much about his public perception, his latest album shows that he still cares about putting out great music. While in addition being unafraid to talk about his personal battles in life. People should see this album as Kanye showing us who he really is, and recognize that his music comes from the heart. I believe his transparency throughout “ye” will help him gain some credibility back amongst his fans. This is a complete turnaround from the old Kanye that only focused on making hit records while doing and saying what he wanted.
Kanye seems like the type who is always thinking in the future and focused on setting new trends, so I doubt that we will ever see the same Kanye we saw in the late 2000’s. I think we should expect a lot of Kanye’s future releases to resemble “ye” and be filled with softer beats and transparent lyrics. However, I wouldn’t doubt if he continues to remind us of the old Kanye with a track or two here and there. (Like “Yikes”) I believe his most recent album shows how versatile Kanye is as an artist, and how he can successfully still catch our ears while doing it in his own way. The album has been wildly successful as all seven songs found their way into Billboard Hot 100’s Top 40 songs in the first week. Kanye’s album also sits at number one on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. has Kanye’s latest album is a testament to his musical genius and even though it may be different from what we’ve come to expect from him, he still successfully found a way to remind us he’s one of the greatest of his generation. For that reason, I would give “ye”4 out of 5 tips of the cap.