God it is easy to hate Kanye West.
You always start a Kanye West album looking for flaws but secretly hoping it will be a masterpiece. I consider College Dropout one of the greatest hip hop albums of the last decade so every journey into the Wonka factory I tell myself this is the last I swear. MBDTF was the second coming – there is no doubt – but where that album was a display of glorious restraint , The Life Of Pablo is the exact opposite. Even Yeezus felt controlled in such a way you could imagine the man locked away for nights on end sighing to his own brilliance. What makes this album is it’s freedom. He feels unleashed and that comes with it all the crazy , arrogance and self absorption you would expect but it’s balanced by stripping back everything, including him, to the core.
This is Kanye the artist and while his lyrics are often ridiculous, the music is art. Layers upon layers of samples and passes sprawled out over uncertain progression. The Rolling Stone called it correctly – this is a 38 year old acting like an 8 year old. He hides with his lyrics , puts his metaphorical hand over his face so people can’t see him when he’s expressing his emotions. The music is the real Kanye. Clearer in tracks like FML which stumbles lazily in production and delivery to some of his most personal lyrics. Again with Wolves which arguably could have been the best songs on the album but he bends to the lure of an easy hook. Kanye unleashes himself across the span of the piece and the result is a mess that is so raw it’s actually realer than I’m sure he ever expected.
The flaws are the most perfect part of the whole. Who on this earth releases an album at Madison Square Garden, then makes a song about it (30 Hours) and adds it to the album later? Welcome to 2016 where an artist will soon need version control. It’s an important step for Kanye but also for every other Pop Hop artist out – Unleash the clown and be loved for it. Kanye did was Drake failed to do and released a self absorbed album that was defined by how convoluted it was.
I hate that I loved it.