REVIEW: Is 2016 the year that Kanye West inspires the kids again?

Despite the fact that people may view Kanye West as a self-centred, arrogant p****, there’s no denying that he might have just taken the whole world on a trip through the mind of ‘Yeezus’ this year already, with the third release of his clothing line Yeezy Season 3, and his highly anticipated 7th studio album SWISH? Or was it Waves? Well actually, by the end of the random name changes, he called it The Life of Pablo.

On the very first week of 2016, his wife Kim Kardashian introduced Kanye’s first two KanYesingles, FACTS and Real Friends featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Fans reacted not only positively to the two tracks, but also grasping on to the suggestion that the soulful ‘Old Kanye’ had returned. Music Engineer MK (Mkulu) described Kanye West’s old sound as ‘refreshing and out the box to all the kids listening’. This is more evident on the track Real Friends where we he delivers a couple of emotional heart felt verses over a melodic, ambient keyboard, with Ty Dolla $ign adding vocals to compliment Kanye’s lyricism. The track is so beautifully put together; you could almost place it on any of Kanye’s classic albums, and it would fit right in.

It seemed like the ‘Old Kanye‘ was set to continue after he released No More Parties In LA. This time he was joined by seven-time Grammy award winner Kendrick Lamar after they traded charismatic verses on top of a Madlib production beat. Kanye’s production over the years has been known to single him out from the rest. Music Producer Malvonthetrack spoke on how Kanye was his inspiration to start sampling beats. And he’s definitely not the only one who would account to that. It was from there the album The Life of Pablo couldn’t come soon enough, but obviously with Kanye being Kanye, it was never going to be as simple as that.

Kanye promised his fans an 11th of February release of the album, however, it was only later we found out he was going to be premiering his album along with his clothing line at his fashion show. Over 20 Million people streamed the event, and Kanye delivered on his promise to play his album. He started with his intro to the album Ultra Lightbeam which hosted high profile features from The Dream and Chance The Rapper, who really killed the track with his witty and enthusiastic verse over the soulful gospel instrumentation, filled with harmony’s from the choir. During the preview of the album we also heard Kanye comment on Ray J as well as Taylor Swift who subliminally hit back at Kanye during her acceptance speech at the Grammy Awards.

Now that Kanye had the whole world attention, it was now the question of ‘When could we the fans get the album’. Well… they couldn’t, after delaying the album for another three days; he had then provided us with an updated track-list, which included 18 Songs, including new tracks Waves featuring Chris Brown and 30 Hours with the legendary Andre 3000. After his performance on Saturday Night Live, he then told everyone to listen to his album on the music streaming service Tidal. Then, he stated on Twitter that his album will on be on Tidal and would never be released anywhere else. Tidal is now number one on the Apple App Store, which basically shows the power of Kanye West, although, reportedly over 500,000 people have pirated his album before the week even ended, which could show the hesitance to the streaming service.

With the The Life of Pablo bringing so much to the table with guest appearances from artists like Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi and Rihanna, the album gives a lot a flavour, and personality which is hard to fault. It shows how much influence Kanye has had over these past couple of years, as he uses his fashion and music to reach out to his fans, and it could be something you creatives use to promote their work in the future. But in the meantime, as Yeezy Season goes into full affect, with his millions of fans following his every move, I think that there’s probably more to come from the superstar himself.

Listen to Kanye’s latest song 30 Hours

 

 Kevin Boateng

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