Kanye West’s latest LP, ‘The Life of Pablo‘ is one of the most sonic sounding albums that came out in 2016.
With a heavy presence of producers from all areas of Hip-Hop. Legendary and one of Kanye’s go-to producers, Mike Dean (“Ultralight Beam”), Metro Boomin’ (“Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1”), Havoc (“Famous”), Charlie Heat (“Waves”) plus veteran producer Madlib (“No More Parties in LA”).
On my first listen of ‘TLOP’ I was shocked by the intensity and choice of instrumentals. They all provide an atmosphere of the song, whether it be the minimalism of the drums on “Ultralight Beam“, the blasting of horns on “Famous” or the magnificent transition of hi-hats to snares on the Chris Brown-featured “Waves“.
As well as this, the instrumentals aren’t alike the regular way Kanye would normally produce or have one of his albums sounding…to say the least. While all of his albums all have their own individual sound, ‘The College Dropout‘ primarily having a Nu-Jazz, contemporary Hip-Hip sound, to ‘Yeezus‘ having primarily a sporadic instrumental choice made of heavy House, Drill and electronic influences. Yet, ‘The Life of Pablo’ seems like a mixture of the Kanye West we have grown up listening to as he brings together all his chaotic and creative ideas into one body of work.
The guest features on the album are a definite highlight. Chance the Rapper appears on the opening track alongside Kelly Price for an emotional rollercoaster of verses. Young Thug just about contributes audible ad-libs to the ear-shattering “Highlights“, The Weeknd‘s performance on “FML” is also reminiscent to that of his no-label days. Sadly, Kanye had to bring on board the carbon-copy of Future, that we all know as Desiigner. Although I don’t skip the tracks he appears on, I still find no interest in the rapper, no matter how catchy and energetic his inaudible vocals are. However, although the features are great and all provide their own dynamic to the dense album, the let down is the main star, Kanye.
While Kanye’s previous albums have been celebrated for his own individual sound and always crafting music that could only fit onto a Kanye project; Kanye’s lyrical and vocal delivery on the album is at points yawn-worthy and unmemorable.
In conclusion, ‘The Life of Pablo’ is one of the most impressive and sonically sounding albums that dropped in 2016, however, Kanye failed to come through with a project that lived up to the greatness of ‘The College Dropout’, ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘ and ‘Yeezus’.
Favourite songs: “Ultralight Beam”, “FSMH Pt.1”, “Waves”, “FML” & “Facts”.
Least Favourite songs: “Pt.2”, “Real Friends” & “Saint Pablo”.