Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo finally released after a twitter outburst at Wiz Khalifa, few album name changes, a changed track list, Chance The Rapper begging for a song he didn’t have anything to do with be on the album which delayed the release date, and a sold out album release showing at the Madison Square Garden. All the commotion with his album release seems only fitting for a celebrity who has been constantly on the homepage of TMZ and E! with outrageous comments, obscure baby names, and simply being apart of the Kardashian family. However its almost as if Kanye planned for all of this because The Life Of Pablo reflects all the criticism he has received from the media. The album’s theme isn’t original. It’s about the problems that come with being famous and his resolve to stay true to himself. However, all of this is amplified because this is super icon Kanye West and not a new rapper experiencing fame for this first time. While unoriginal in theme, Kanye puts a twist on the album that only Yeezy can.
The song that characterizes the album the most is “I Love Kanye”. This a capella rap reflects the transformation of Kanye along with how peoples perceptions of him changed. In this track he acknowledges that he can be egotistical and that he does lash out at the news. At the same time he calls people out for missing the old Kanye and how most of them have copied his style. In a comical end to the song he says “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye.” He understands himself, the good and bad, and has completely embraced his own growth along with the criticism he has received.
Continuing with the pangs of being famous theme are lyrics like “My psychiatrist got kids that I inspired” from the song “No More Parties In LA” and tracks like “Real Friends.” In the former, Kanye can’t escape people talking about him anywhere so he has to go to the studio to vent. The latter explains how people expect so much of him, and how his cousin stole his laptop and held it for ransom.
Despite the hardships he has faced and some of the introspective songs like “Wolves” and “30 Hours”, he gets back to his god-like roots with “Ultra Light Beam”. Kanye West is barreling towards creative self-destruction, but he does it willingly and knowing that he will be remembered for a long time. The song “Feedback” which is literally made up of feedback sounds, describes this idea of creative self-destruction perfectly, “name on genius that ain’t crazy.” This is exactly why he made a track using feedback loops, or why he jumps from gospel music to trap rap. It also explains the unconventional bridges that he uses in tracks “pt. 2”, “Famous”, and “FML” that make the listener check to see if it’s still the same song.
The Life of Pablo is all over the place, a bit like Kanye West’s life. He is trying to find some solace and comfort in the studio because that is the only place that he can be himself. Ironically, what he does in the studio is what will be praised and ridiculed for years to come.