You may have heard—Kanye West dropped real, actual music, this time without the poopity-scoop.
The seven-track YE hit major streaming services Friday, after Kanye hosted a live-streamed fireside listening session at his property in Wyoming. Not surprisingly, the album title and artwork came as a surprise, after Kanye had previously indicated that the album would be entitled “LOVE EVERYONE” with an image of his mother’s plastic surgeon.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 28, 2018
Instead, he went with an apparent spur-of-the-moment pic (that surprised our Quibbl voters) that he snapped on his iPhone of the mountains near Jackson Hole, according to Kim:
Kanye West – Ye
Album Artwork pic.twitter.com/0gxBQjcaGi
— Cello (@MrCarb1) June 1, 2018
Kanye shot the album cover on his iPhone on the way to the album listening party 😂🔥❤️🔥🙏🏼🔥
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 1, 2018
As you also may have caught wind of—like that classic Wyoming breeze—the lead-up to this record was a bit tumultuous—even by Kanye’s standards. After a year-plus of quiet, ‘Ye returned to our Twitter feeds with a vengeance in the Spring, including an unceasing stream of philosophical(ish) nonsense(ish), red hats, and one super-bad TMZ appearance.
For the most part, though, he was relatively calm in the past couple weeks, and earned dap for his production on Pusha-T’s lauded DAYTONA. Plus, his implicit approval of Pusha’s first (and very much not last) Drake diss spoke volumes.
Still, off-the-court behavior aside, Kanye pretty much always receives critical and commercial acclaim from his work, and objectively pushes sounds and music to new places with his forward-thinking production. This album, while shorter and lacking his sharpest bars, is undoubtedly random, melodic, and sonically cool, and I would very much love to blast it in the spacious plains of Wyoming. (Also, the 070 Shake part on “Ghost Town” is serious, serious flames.)
Kanye opens up about mental illness and his bipolar disorder (the album artwork features the words: “I hate being Bi-Polar it’s awesome”), how his TMZ comments about slavery affected his wife, being a father, and (possibly) his lingering dispute with Jay-Z.
He also controversially invokes the #MeToo movement, rapping on “Yikes”: “Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too/I’mma pray for him ’cause he got #MeToo’d.”
One interesting note from YE: there isn’t an obvious hit. It’s clearly an album with some good energy and excellent tunes, but there is nary a traditional radio banger. I would say who the heck cares, but Kanye has always immensely valued superficial radio and awards recognition, and he lamented The Life of Pablo’s lack of radio play in a recent sit-down with Charlamagne tha God.
As for the Internet’s take? It seems like a (mostly) positive bag so far:
— Zach Keali’i Murphy (@Fade_to_Zach) June 1, 2018
This album sounds like Yeezus had a baby with College Dropout but cheated with Life of Pablo and was adopted by Graduation. #YE
— Steve Patriots (@StevieDrama) June 1, 2018
Bruh, these Kanye bars are all types of cringe. And he swore these rhymes were that business. If you flew to Wyoming for 7 tracks of mediocrity…oof. pic.twitter.com/OoSg038IqM
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) June 1, 2018
I understand the concept of 7 song albums: all killer, no filler…but it still just feels too short. Gimme 10 songs man.
— Tamara Dhia (@tamaradhia) June 1, 2018
Next up for Kanye: Another album next Friday! His collaboration with Kid Cudi, likely titled Kids See Ghosts.
After that, two more all-Kanye-produced records: Nas on June 15th, then Teyana Taylor June 22nd.
Stay tuned, and follow Quibbl for all things Kanye this month.
What are your thoughts on YE?