Kanye West’s newest album Ye feels a little out of the blue.
He had himself hinted an album would be dropping soon, but many Kanye fans have learnt not to expect anything from one of mainstream hip-hop’s most infamous stars. Another surprise might be the 7 track 23 minute run time of the album, another example of how short albums seem to be becoming a new trend. On the surface, Ye appears to be an introspective expedition into the mind of Kanye. However, it feels like the album is as cryptic as Kanye would be if you asked him about his headspace.
The opening track is certainly an intriguing piece of spoken word, Kanye speaks as though casually dropping into conversation his thoughts on how he thought about killing you before talking about suicide but also loving himself (more on Kanye’s Bipolar tendencies to come).
The next track on the record, Yikes, by far features the most rapping on Ye; Kanye spits a decent set of verses, though they are separated by a fairly forgettable hook.
One of the biggest talking points to come out of Ye is no doubt Kanye appearing to reveal himself to be Bipolar. This is pretty clear, not just in the album art but also on the song Yikes where Kanye seems to be attributing his rap skills to being Bipolar, which he refers to as his super power. There are also more intimate moments on the record such as on the song Wouldn’t Leave where Kanye dedicates the track to loyal women after singing about commitment. This is followed by the track No Mistakes which features the hook “Believe it or not girl I still love you” over the sleek “believe it or not” vocal sample. The content is wholesome and an unusual turn for Kanye, and other than the first to cuts on the album, particularly Yikes, is fairly consistent.
The production on this album is fairly in keeping with what we can expect following Kanye’s last album, The Life Of Pablo, though generally Ye feels much more mellow. The best beats on the album are the most tame and laid back, particularly Wouldn’t Leave and Violent Crimes, with the former being driven by a spacey warped piano that compliments the tone of the track perfectly.
Ye isn’t a bad album, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like Kanye has taken the next big step in his discography. The length of the album makes it feel like just a sidestep in his journey. However, the introspective and thoughtful tone of a lot of the album is not only refreshing for Kanye, but also something that no doubt Ye will be remembered for.
If anything, what saves Ye from becoming a boring project is its compact nature. Ye is itself an album that could be described as Bipolar.
Low 7 / 10
Give it a listen yourself here: