The Uber couldn’t have moved fast enough. Tidal was locked and loaded, but this soul-sucking Dementor of a driver committed the ultimate unspeakable and declined my request for the aux cord. It’s just after 4 AM in Brooklyn. I’m sweaty, my makeup is a mess, and I’ve consumed a few too many of a few too many things. But I’m surrounded by my friends, and we’re headed back to my dingy basement in Williamsburg to crank this gold I’ve got in my hand - Kanye’s 7th album, The Life of Pablo.
This night wouldn’t be the first time I heard the album. I had bought tickets to see the premier in a theater in Manhattan surrounded by a bunch of Kanye stans, whooping KTT into the crowd. This perfectly juxtaposed event was awe-inspiring, the grandiosity of Madison Square Garden and the simplicity of the laptop and aux cord, though I exhausted afterwards waiting and refreshing and anticipating the drop of the real thing.
The night had arrived, through a frantic and almost disturbing announcement by Kanye on stage at Saturday Night Live. At my apartment we’re lit up, but simultaneously still as “Ultra Light Beam” hummed out of the speakers in my bedroom. This moment was our own MSG, and it felt equally as grand and intimate as the real thing.
The Life of Pablo is a perfectly curated work that Kanye conducted, as he stands in front of his orchestra his exaggerated but succinct gestures add to the beautiful sounds. Filled with plenty of samples and features from Frank Ocean, Ty Dolla $ign, Post Malone, Kendrick, Desiigner (confirmed not Future), and so many others, Kanye’s creative genius shines and the strings hum in unison.
TLOP has something to offer from each of Kanye’s previous albums. If you wanted the “old Kanye” back, you got him with the funky and heavily sampled “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,” Yeezus made his markedly harsh appearance too, on “Freestyle 4.” Kanye showed up with the 808s and absolutely broke my heart with auto-tuned “Wolves.” “FML” is a personal highlight with the soul-crushing but equally liberating hook.
This journey through Kanye’s discography is not chronological, but his music is not linear. This album isn’t meant to be a means for arriving from point A to point B. In fact, the arrival at an end is impossible with this album as it continues to transform in front of our eyes. Everyday, Twitter announces another TLOP leak, or Kanye comes out to say he needs to remaster another track. The album is an incredibly democratic display of craftsmanship in which the listener can be a part of the creative process--renaming, reshaping, reinterpreting--to determine what the future of albums and music creation looks like.
TLOP has only been out for a couple of weeks now, but Kanye isn’t hyperbolic to say that he’s starting a paradigm shift--and this is just the beginning.
by Rachael Dimit (@rachael2d2)