It’s been over two years since Kanye West released ‘The Life Of Pablo,’ and during that period Kanye has ranted on stage, been hospitalised, had an addiction to opioids, and tweeted his support for Donald Trump.
So, is ‘ye‘ a masterpiece or a complete miss?
The album starts with Kanye speaking on his mental health in “I Thought About Killing You.” Kanye uses a pitch-shift effect on his voice, signifying the bipolar nature of the conversation he’s having with himself. “The most beautiful thoughts are always besides the darkest. Today I seriously thought about killing you. I contemplated, premeditated murder. And I think about killing myself, and I love myself way more than I love you, so…”
On “Yikes,” Kanye takes listeners through his recent opioid addiction, which caused him to have suicidal thoughts and bipolar feelings. Kanye confesses that because of these menacing side effects, he was often scared of himself. “Shit could get menacin’, frightenin’, find help. Sometimes I scare myself, myself.”
Kanye spits “Tweakin’, tweakin’ off that 2CB, huh?” sharing his addiction to psychedelic drugs, and the high he felt from using the prescription drug. Ye also references Prince and Michael Jackson who died of prescription drug overdoses, – “I think Prince and Mike was tryna warn me”
At the end of “Yikes,” Kanye confirms he suffers from bipolar, but instead of seeing his disorder as a disability, Kanye chooses to see it as his superpower. – “That’s my bipolar shit, n*gga what? That’s my superpower, n*gga ain’t no disability, I’m a superhero! I’m a superhero!”
On “Wouldn’t Leave,” Kanye acknowledges that Kim has had to cope with the criticism that comes with being married to him and that even though she gave him advice, he still went ahead and put her in a difficult position.
“Ghost Town” places long-time collaborator Kid Cudi and newcomer 070 Shake centre stage with support from PARTYNEXTDOOR. The lyrics at the start are sampled from the gospel blues track “Trouble Will Soon Be Over” by Blind Willie Johnson.
“Violent Crimes” is the closing track on Ye. It chronicles Kanye’s shift in thought towards women with the birth of his children, specifically his daughters North and Chicago. He also brings up his fears about their future, and the ways they will be treated.
The chorus expresses an anxiety about his daughters growing up and losing their innocence as they face the brutal reality of the world – “Don’t you grow up in a hurry, your mom’ll be worried.”
Ye points out that until men have daughters, they act reckless toward women, himself included. The birth of North and Chicago West helped him change his perspective. – “N*ggas is pimps, n*ggas is players, ‘Til n*ggas have daughters, now they precautious, Father forgive me, I’m scared of the karma”
The track features a short spoken word outro from Nicki Minaj that closes the album. The lines that Nicki delivers are the same lines that Kanye spits earlier in the track. “I’m sayin’ it like…I want a daughter like Nicki, aww man, I promise. I’ma turn her to a monster, but no menagés, I don’t know how you saying it, but let ’em hear this”
Is this Kanye’s best work? That’s debatable, but “ye” is very good. Kanye is taking you on a journey of what he’s experienced since “TLOP.” I feel speaking on his addiction to opioids and the battle with his mental health will help the listener with their own issues. Like Kanye says, “That’s my bipolar shit, n*gga what? That’s my superpower, n*gga ain’t no disability. I’m a superhero!…
Stream ye below.