Kanye West is a 44 year old rapper, singer, songwriter, producer, businessman, fashion designer & supposed politician from Chicago, Illinois who everyone should be familiar with by now. You absolutely CAN’T deny the impact that Ye has had on hip hop within the past 18 years with albums like The College Dropout or My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, regardless of how one may feel about his polarizing public image. The last we heard from him was over the summer when he dropped DONDA which was much more consistent than it’s predecessor Jesus is King, but the 2 hour runtime was unnecessary. 6 months later, we’re now being treated to his 11th full-length outing executive produced by Future & exclusive to his Stem Player platform.
“True Love” kicks off the album with an instrumental kin to “Runaway” talking about how genuine romance shouldn’t be complicated with a surprisingly great hook from the late XXXTENTACION whereas “Broken Road” pondering what it means to find your soul on top of a doleful beat & Don Toliver’s hook on here is so goddamn catchy. “Get Lost” goes a cappella looking back on all the good & bad memories of his life so far with an excessive amount of auto-tune slathering his vocals just before “Too Easy” has this glitchy quality to the production discussing his current trials & tribulations.
Meanwhile on “Flowers”, we have Kanye throwing it back to the Graduation days in terms of sound encouraging to send him $100k rather than the titular object leading into “Security” asserting that nothing can get in the way of him being with his family & Digital Nas’ production here almost reminds me of Yeezus in a way. “We Did It Kid” hardly has any Ye presence at all & it sticks out like a sore thumb even though I genuinely enjoy it’s horn-heavy groove alongside Baby Keem & the Migos’ verses, but then the Future-assisted “Pablo” follows it up with a trap cut that encourages the listener to try to have fun except it falls flat on it’s face.
“Louie Bags” starts off great with it’s hypnotic beat & talking about boycotting LV after Virgil Abloh’s passing, then Jack Harlow’s verse comes in & ruins the whole vibe. Future returns for “Happy” & it’s WAY better than “Pablo” from Wheezy peppy production to the subject matter asking the world if they look like they’re doing fine to them. “Sci-Fi” then works in some string sections as Sean Leon joins Ye in addressing his divorce from The Hobbit, but that line where he said “When you lay down & I gave you the semen. I swear I heard God, the voice of Morgan Freeman” had me ROLLIN’ in laughter.
Following that, “Selfish” goes into a minimal yet cloudier direction talking about how selfishness & materialism can damage a relationship while the symphonic “Lord Lift Me Up” is a decent Vory solo cut asking for God to lift up his spirits. The song “Keep It Burning” with Future finds the 2 basically flipping the Talking Heads joint “Burning Down the House” & making a hard hitting trap banger out of it while the penultimate track “City of Gods” with Fivio Foreign goes into drill turf telling NY to go easy on them. “First Time in a Long Time” ends the album on a triumphant yet electronic note with Ye opening up about his faith in God & feelings stemming from his divorce but on the other hand, fucking Soulja Boy comes through flexing his success & kills it.
I really don’t know what else to say beyond that, it’s just so painfully average even by Kanye’s standards. There are some interesting song topics & production ideas without a doubt, but it’s all blatantly unfinished. If Ye does plan on updating the album once it’s actually done like Stem Player co-inventor Alex Klein was saying on Twitter, then I feel like it’ll be A LOT better than what we got here.