If you follow Kanye West, you’ll be sure to have noticed that he’s been busy since his 2016 release of The Life of Pablo, creating his own work while collaborating and producing with other artists. In case you haven’t checked it out yet, here is a brief synopsis of his releases within the last month or so.
Kanye kicked off Yeezy season with his own album ye on the 1st June, and it is different from any major work Kanye has produced. With only 7 tracks and a 23 minute running time it is a brief experience, and though it is chaotic, it is also raw with emotion and vulnerability, if not a little intense at times. The first shockingly unfiltered track, ‘I Thought About Killing You’ demonstrates this perfectly, while ‘Ghost Town’ is one of the more conventional tracks, featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR. Overall, ye obtained a mixed reception from critics, with some criticising the brief production time of just a few weeks. The album finishes with ‘Violent Crimes’, a comparatively calmer and more melodic track. Kanye’s unpredictability is what makes him original and exciting, and given his presence in the media this year perhaps the difference in this album was to be expected, though for some this album may be too different in comparison to his previous work. From experience, the experimental nature of ye means that it takes some listening to in order to warm to it.
Kanye’s next release was a collaboration with Kid Cudi named KIDS SEE GHOSTS along with a self-titled album. This is also 7 songs long and is thematically similar to ye with some tracks just as chaotic, particularly the opening track, ‘Feel The Love’ featuring Pusha T. Overall the album overall is slightly more conventional, though tracks such as ‘4th Dimension’ continue to compose a raw and eerie mood. ‘Reborn’ is a slightly softer track, giving some respite midway through the album. Even if ye wasn’t up your street, I wouldn’t let that put you off listening to KIDS SEE GHOSTS.
Nas’s album NASIR then dropped, having been produced by Kanye as well has having him feature on two tracks. This album is another short one, at only 7 tracks long – am I sensing a theme here? This album does not disappoint, with jarring but powerful samples in both ‘Cops Shot The Kid’ (featuring Kanye) and ‘White Label’, while ‘everything’, which also features Kanye, could even be a track on one of Kanye’s own previous albums. This is a compelling and exciting album, yet possibly a slightly easier listen than Kanye’s own releases this summer.
Finally, his most recent collaboration has been with Teyana Taylor, who contributed vocals to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy back in 2010, while this year Kanye produced and features on her new album K.T.S.E. This is perhaps the most conventional of Kanye’s projects this summer, though that is certainly not meant as an insult. Kanye only appears on one song on the 8 track album, ‘Hurry’, which features an upbeat but soft guitar accompanying the vocals. One of the best tracks on this album is ‘Rose In Harlem’, with Taylor’s rich vocals complimenting the somewhat gloomy sample. Kanye’s influence on the production of this album is evident in songs such as ‘Gonna Love Me’, and I can’t think of many people that I wouldn’t recommend this album to.
It has to be said, there is something for nearly everyone in Kanye’s new releases, and exhibiting such raw emotions in his music is something to be admired, even if you disagree with the ideas. Whatever your feelings towards him as an artist or just as a person, it can’t be denied that his creative tap is far from running dry.
Post by Jess Williamson