The glorious, gospel-heavy opener signifies the commencement of the most anticipated album of the past few years. After a stretch of being shelved, delayed and name-changed several times, Mr. West is back! Showcasing the same ferocity and sexual angst that made his previous two efforts household names — while exposing a more personal, vulnerable and ever eccentric hybrid of Yeezy.
Some of the tracks leading up to the album’s release, didn’t even make the final (umpteenth) cut. The beauty of Paul McCartney-featured “Only One”, written from the perspective of Kanye’s late mother to her granddaughter, North West; and the intensity of “All Day”; Instead, West opted for music more sonically succinct to his project. Retaining the grounded “Real Friends” — which is arguably the best track on the LP; a revamped version of “Wolves”, featuring Frank Ocean; the club-banger “Fade”; a remix of Nike’s defamation, “Facts”; along with the MBDTF-inspired “No More Parties in LA”, with Compton’s good kid Kendrick Lamar.
Yeezy segues through each track effortlessly. Fluidly making the bold statements that have endeared him throughout his career. His jab at Taylor Swift on the fourth track “Famous” is questionable and ambiguous due to both parties’ statements differing in reference to the line, but it’s not like Kanye really cares.
VERDICT — With each album he releases, there is an unprecedented expectation level to reshape and revitalise the industry and his seventh solo LP is no exception. It is a master work featuring several prominent artists. One that pays homage to his legacy, character (however you see him) and determination. A little bit of old and new Kanye; a summation of his career and where he’s at right now.
RATING: 9.5 – AMAZING
BEST TRACK: Real Friends (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)