The penultimate review of Kanye season is here with his short 2018 project 'ye'. This is the second album of the five albums Kanye produced in Wyoming over a short period of time - all short and 7 tracks long - and despite what most critics say I think this is arguably the best of them all. Firstly, as it's a Kanye album the production is immaculate. With trap elements and softer sounding beats - this album is a prime example of simple = better as it captures the atmosphere perfectly for the track. Lyrically, the album isn't exceptional but it's good still. The usual one liners and punchlines are scattered about - but this is a very introspective and self-aware project, emitting sympathy from the listener successfully. Kanye's singing a lot more on this album, and it honestly sounds good and rally highlights the improvement in his singing voice over the years. The features on this project are perfect - every single one fit their purpose and added to the song so again Kanye deserves props there. Finally, the real attention grabber of the project - the subject matter. This albums focus is all on Kanye's mental being - touching on his bipolar disorder, drug addiction, stress from the media and scrutiny of every action he did in the previous years. A real raw and honest piece of work from Kanye, and it can only be appreciated.
I Thought About Killing You
The beginning of this project ‘I Thought About Killing You’ is a great start. The first noise we hear are some crazy moving synths which genuinely are orgasmic, before we get a spoken word from Kanye focusing on suicide and his mental health. The verse than starts with the same themes but a more braggadocios tone and some amazing sliding 808s get involved. Lyrically, this track is a mixed bag though. There are some good bars, “If I wasn't shinin' so hard, wouldn't be no shade”, but then there are also some lazily written bars, “Don't get your tooth chipped like Frito-Lay”. Either way it’s another case of Kanye making great intro’s.
'Yikes' is an honest track from Kanye as he talks on his drug addiction and his mental health issues - even claiming he sometimes scares himself. There's some pretty simplistic punchlines but as the track advances the bars get more powerful, "Ayy, hospital band a hundred bands, fuck a watch // Hundred grand'll make your best friends turn to opps". The production on this track is once again fantastic and takes a more menacing and dark turn with an aggressive synth bass which sounds great. The ending to track see's Kanye claim his bi-polar disorder is his superpower, and it's a good way at looking at his disorder rather than succumbing to it.
The following track 'All Mine' starts with the chorus from Ant Clemons who delivers it in a really high pitched voice - which is hated by some and while I don't love it, I do think it sounds alright. Ty Dollar $ign also features simply with just a bridge and it's a decent addition his vocals sound nice. The songs focus is purely cheating on your partner and it's a little out of place in the tracklist thematically. The song opens with an organ before the beat consists of literally just some 808s and a cymbal and somehow Ye has managed to make that sound good with his hard delivery that makes even the corniest lines in this such as "I love your titties 'cause they prove I can focus on two things at once", hit the ear right. Other than some questionable lyrics it also has some great metaphors and punchlines and despite the minor flaws it's still a great song within the tracklist.
This song is a cute track from Kanye where he talks on his controversial comments and outbursts leading up to this album such as his slavery comments, and how his wife stuck by him during all of it. With lines such as, "My wife callin', screamin', say we 'bout to lose it all // Had to calm her down 'cause she couldn't breathe // Told her she could leave me now, but she wouldn't leave" it's honest over another simple but beautiful beat consisting of only synths and some drum kicks which perfectly capture the mood of the song. PARTYNEXTDOOR is featured on the track and his vocals on the hook sound so heartfelt and alluring and it's easily another brilliant song.
This short but sweet song see's Kanye talk once again on his relationship with Kim and his controversies as well as talking on that multi-million pound debt he found himself in a few years beforehand. It starts with a Slick Rick sample and a brilliant, catchy and grand hook from both Charlie Wilson & Kid Cudi over this epic instrumental. The instrumental then for Kanye's verse (which is solid) dumbs down to a synth bass - simple but great once again. What makes this verse stand out would be when he's taking shots at Drake at the end of it "Too close to snipe you, truth told, I like you // Too bold to type you, too rich to fight you // Calm down, you light skin".
One of 2018 and Kanye's greatest ever songs. This song genuinely leaves me speechless each time. Firstly, PARTYNEXTDOOR begins this with a solid verse setting the tone before Kid Cudi's hook comes in and genuinely his vocals here are so orgasmic with the chilling lines, "I've been tryin' to make you love me // But everything I try just takes you further from me". Then Kanye's verse comes in, an emotional verse over this retro, electric guitar beat as he talks on his recent actions, drug addiction, career and legacy with some introspective lyrics, "Sometimes I take all the shine // Talk like I drank all the wine". Then the climax of this song comes from 070 Shake with the haunting vocals that sound like a child to perceive innocence, talking about freedom. What makes this more haunting is that I interpret this outro as a means of suicide as she talks on the touching a hot stove to see if she bleeds and feeling nothing anymore, finally feeling "free". This is easily the standout song on the project.
This gentle track performed over a soft synthesizer is a track dedicated to Kanye's daughters. Kanye reflects on how he's treated women in his past and how his perspective has shifted since the birth of his daughter and how he regrets his past actions. We get another 070 Shake feature who sings the hook like a lullaby (fitting for a song to his daughters) and once again her vocals are outstanding. Kanye is very self-aware in his lyrics and very introspective on his past with lines, for example, "'Cause now I see women as somethin' to nurture // Not somethin' to conquer". It's a perfect ending to an incredibly short but sweet Ye project.
To conclude, this project is less extravagant than previous Kanye projects, but it's still an incredible piece of work. With 7 great sounding songs and it being around 20 minutes long, it's easily replayable. Some of his most emotional, human, introspective works to date and despite the hate it gets - it's easily top 3 Kanye in my opinion.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: Yikes, Wouldn't Leave, No Mistakes, Ghost Town, Violent Crimes
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: All Mine
OVERALL RATING: Solid 9/10