Where to begin with this album? It’s consumed my free time for the past week and change, but I’m already tired of thinking about it. I definitely don’t feel like writing a lot, but I probably have no choice. Kanye has been a complex character lately. One who seemed bored with rap but never completely let it go in favor of terrible singing and over high-priced fashion. Given that ambiguity, The Life of Pablo is impressive in its cohesion, but disappointing in how little it feels like Hip-Hop to me. I won’t get into his twitter antics during the lead-up to the album, but Google them if you need to. It’s worth the laugh and the possible insight into this guy’s psyche.
I’d hoped for a pile of poop covering one or two good songs, instead I got that poop monster from Dogma. Actually that might be overly rude. Most of what’s here is poop, but there are a few ok songs as well. Even so, they’re just ok and I’ll forget them in a month or less. So yeah, I’m disappointed, but only slightly.
I wonder if Kanye even cares about hip-hop anymore. In some sense he probably always will since rapping is his usual vocal style. But for a while now I’ve had the feeling that he thinks he can transcend rap. Like he wants to say to people, “yeah I rap sometimes, but don’t call me a rapper. I’m sooo much more than that.”
Without fail, the beginning of the summer is always really hectic for me. I think that’s due to better weather meaning that this is when more social events happen, plus school just let out so prime vacation time has arrived. For me, this year, this is manifesting in 1) family visits damn near every weekend, 2) cookouts to attend on those same weekends, 3) my friend’s wedding, 4) birthdays for the myriad children conceived during the cold months when sex is the best way to pass the time, 5) and some good old-fashioned family drama. Suffice to say my mind has been elsewhere besides this site.
But there’s still a lot of music out there that needs my ornery well-thought-out opinion! So I’ve got some reviews planned for next week, and I figured I could end my content-draught a few days earlier foreshadow them a bit by giving my high-level thoughts on the music. Maybe I’ll make this a regular thing:
In writing the review of the Demigodz’ great album Killmatic, I realized that it’s pretty rare for a rapper to have a group of his own that’s actually decent. I’m talking about groups that people came up with like Eminem’s D12 and groups they created like Snoop Dogg’s Tha Eastsidaz. Not supergroups where the roster is full of already-famous people. Let’s face it, being successful doesn’t speak to your ability to judge other people’s talents, at all. In fact, I’d venture to say that the average rapper is a horrible judge of talent in others. For evidence, see 90% of rap/sung collaborations. Or maybe these cats are just bad at nurturing the talent they find. Either way, hip-hop history is littered with bad groups fronted by good rappers.