Kanye West: Ye Album Review

Story posted September 4, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment by Zach Hall.

To say Kanye West has had a rough few months is an understatement. Back in June of 2018, Kanye came charging back to the social media world to announce that he had been diagnosed with bipolar, following with a series of introspective, philosophical, and at times nonsensical tweets. Not long after this, Kanye claimed in an interview with TMZ that he thought “slavery was choice.” While these comments may have blown up out of context, the backlash West received was overwhelming. Despite all of the hiccups, Kanye West released his eighth studio album Ye on June 1, 2018. What results is a much more personal look into Kanye’s current life and struggles that shines on moments throughout but feels underwhelming as a whole.

Kanye West’s discography shows a multitude of different perspectives. From the young and confident College Dropout to the egotistical and abrasive Yeezus, Kanye West has shown fans and casual listeners alike that he’ll never shy away from switching things up. West’s latest release Ye ditches the ego on most of the album and instead decides to show his fans a more personal look into his life, something West hasn’t really done since the likes of 808s and Heartbreak. The opening track “I Thought About Killing You” sees West at his most vulnerable in years. On it he raps about the thought of suicide juxtaposed with his love for himself and how “You’d only care enough to kill somebody you love.” West later touches on the fallout of his controversial comments on slavery on “Wouldn’t Leave”, detailing how he told his wife Kim Kardashian she could leave him if it would be too much, to which she refused. On the last track “Violent Crimes”, West pours his heart out to his daughters, telling them how men are savage until they have daughters, referring to himself as a past womanizer who has since matured considerably. These songs serve as the emotional highlights of the album, with the rest only sprinkling in personal details. Seeing West in this vulnerable state is surely refreshing, but only permeates a fraction of the album. In keeping with the trend of the surrounding G.O.O.D Music releases, Ye is just seven tracks, clocking in at 23 minutes. An album with this much emotion and introspection behind would have done better with a longer album, one where West could flesh out these ideas more.

According to Kanye, he got rid of his entire album after the backlash from his slavery comments, leaving him with only a month to write, record, produce and mix an entire body of work before his already set in stone June 1st release date. This fact is clear on some of the production and mixing. At times Ye sounds sloppily thrown together and at its worse, unfinished. This is of course a byproduct of finishing an entire album in a month. Surprisingly, these moments are few and far between and don’t hurt the overall quality of the album. It’s actually quite impressive how well Ye turned out with its short creation time. Kanye’s production is still top notch, and even sees him reliving his days chopping samples on songs like “No Mistakes” and “All Mine.” While Kanye’s production is great on Ye, it is very underwhelming compared to his more grander and experimental projects such as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus. Ye is Kanye’s least adventurous and creative album to date and ends up sounding blander with every repeated listen, aside from a few standout tracks. While this may be a low point in Kanye’s career production-wise, it’s still a solid outing that sounds great, even if it doesn’t take any risks.

Overall, Ye is a solid outing from Mr. West. Despite his lack of risks in the production department, short runtime for an emotional theme that deserves much more, and a few mixing issues, Ye is a quality project that sounds great and hits some emotional highpoints. 

Rating: 7/10 


Zach Hall is a Senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email zth5043@psu.edu