On February 13th, 38-year-old hip hop artist Kanye West released his sixth album: The Life of Pablo (TLOP). West’s album has been anticipated by many for years, and it may be his best album yet. Unfortunately, it is still exclusively being streamed on “Tidal,” a music streaming app. Although “Tidal” wasn’t commonly known at first, after West released his album and announced its exclusive location, “Tidal” became the number one app in the app store. This is just a small example of West’s vast influence and belovedness throughout hip-hop culture.
Days before the album release, West hosted a fashion show/listening party at Madison Square Garden, which sold out in ten minutes. Here, his Adidas clothing line, including the renowned “Yeezy Boot,” was showcased by hundreds of models standing casually, listening to the album with the crowd. Here, West also premiered a teaser for his new game “Only Once.” The event was casual despite its location, with various hip hop artists such as Young Thug and Kid Cudi, both of whom are featured on TLOP, hovering around West throughout the show. Near the end, artists were passing around the aux cord, showcasing new music.
As for the album itself, it isn’t quite like anything we’ve ever heard before. West calls it a Gospel album, with choirs singing in a few songs such as “Ultra Light Beam,” and a godly prayer in the song “Lowlights.” As for lyrics, one could conclude that West is focusing on media and modern topics with this album. West makes many current-day references throughout his album. The one with the most attention probably being directed at pop artist Taylor Swift, in the song “Famous.” Other lyrics include talking about his new family with Kim Kardashian, competition (or the lack of) with other hip-hop artists, etc. Similar to West’s albums in the past, there are many collaborations with other artists, including pop singer, Rihanna, featured in many of West’s past productions. Another familiar trait is that West’s signature use of autotune is coming back. The production itself resembles his latest album “Yeezus,” but with way slower and less aggressive of a tempo, with the exception of “Freestyle 4,” a relatively chaotic and angry rap. The rest of the album is mostly lighthearted and mellow. If you liked the tempo and quality and detail of production of West’s past albums with a modern touch, TLOP is for you.
The album was worth the wait, especially for many who were being kept on the edge of their seats with West’s frequent twitter posts. He would constantly switch up the name of the album, and keep his audience updated with a simple notepad, which consisted of the name of the album and a list of songs written in sharpie. After a few pictures of the notepaper progressively getting messier, with hip hop artist signatures, new songs names, etc. Viewers finally got a clean paper, a couple days before the release. At last, the tweets of chaos and question were put to rest, as West fans were finally given a finished product, and a great one at that.
With the beginning of Yeezy Season 4 already on the table, including a new album coming this summer, and a possible Presidential campaign in 2020, West is spreading his style of hip hop culture way out of the music box; West might as well be taking over the world.