Photo credit: Laura Velez, VYB3, social media director
I once heard there is nothing scarier than a person making a comeback; they come back with, not just their demons conquered but also nothing to lose. Some may feel compelled to prove their abilities, talents, and skills all over again but when hip-hop listeners hear, ‘Wake up! Mr. West’ needless to say, those attributes are instantly synced into the name.
It’s been three years since Kanye stepped up to the mic or booth for that matter; last album he delivered was, ‘Yeezus’ which in comparison to his newly released album, ‘The Life Of Pablo’ seems like two different artists completely.
TLOP introduces unfamiliar listeners to the old Wild West, with a bit of his original, south side Chicago flow and introduces those who are familiar to the new Wild West. With new and fresh lyrical structure, he manages to keep up with the new millennial hip-hop sound. Either way, here at VYB3 it did not fail to leave us satisfied; in all honesty, we hoped for the best while preparing for the worst. Although, ‘TLOP’ is undoubtedly a good album, with fresh material, great collaborations, and well-composed beats, to label it a great album would be to mislead hip-hop listeners.
What I enjoyed about ‘TLOP’ was that Kanye incorporated a bit of his old Mr. West style; the original, fresh and fun flow that made it out of Chicago. However, it wasn’t incorporated enough overall and secondly, it seemed to be overshadowed by weakly structured word play.
The top three songs VYB3 suggests our readers listen to in order to catch a glimpse of that old Mr.West style would have to be the following:
- No more parties in L.A;
- Famous; and
There were a few songs off the ‘TLOP’ album that had a bit more depth than the songs listed above. Although, the lyrical component may have been absent or not as strong, the meaning behind the song made up for it. Songs such as: ‘Ultralight beam‘, highlighting Kanye’s fate in God, ‘FML‘ an acronym meaning ‘For my lady’ highlights Kanye’s loyalty and openness to and with his wife, Kim Kardashian, and ‘Father stretch my hands part.2’ illustrates Kanye’s personal reflection of himself, the death of his mother, and the absence of his father.
One song I enjoyed a lot was his, ‘Facts’ I loved the beat, and the arrangement of his flow to the tempo. I think it was very strategically done making both catchy and entertaining. Overall if you’re going to denounce your affiliation with anyone who didn’t believe in your vision I think this is a great way to get your point across.
The other song selections on the album were dope with the collaborations and insane beat compositions but there wasn’t enough of a lyrical component in my opinion. Secondly, some songs became overshadowed with various samples, verses from other artists, rushed tones and/or delivery, and disconnected rhymes that started off on one topic and then ended on something completely different; it lacked direction. Songs like ’30 hours’, ‘Freestyle 4’, and ‘I love Kanye’ just seemed either meaningless, rushed or forced in his flow, rhymes, and overall deliverance. Those were tracks that I made sure to skip every single time they came up on my playlist, no disrespect intended!
What made Kanye unique when he first started in the game, was that he came in as just a regular dude that had visions and ambitions. He managed to transition those two components into lyrical illustrations in a space and industry that was reserved for the rough and rugged, he came through and made his own lane. For this, he’s remained and will remain influential, he opened up the hip-hop demographic to something new that only he displayed the lyrical ability to create. Although, ‘TLOP’ wasn’t a bad album it wasn’t a great album either, it was just that good. I believe it justifiably satisfied the itch or craving Kanye followers anticipated; however, it did make me question whether or not lyricism fades with time? If so, where do you think Kanye can redirect his experience, knowledge, skills, and talent in the hip-hop game?
Downloading link for ‘The Life of Pablo’
VYB3 rating: 8/10