Kanye West // ye (1 June, 2018)

Who hasn’t been late for work? So far as I know, it’s a universally experienced personal problem. You woke up late, overslept, eyes red-tinged and heavy and you hustle to grab your shit before you’re in real trouble. Likewise, sometimes you barely see a deadline approaching. And then that deadline—that day—is tomorrow. You try your hardest to skirt logic and blame other people. If I didn’t have to be at work so goddamn early, I wouldn’t be so late. If the deadline was sensible, of course it would’ve been met. Sometimes the outside world thinks you’re an idiot, and they treat you like one.

Kanye West is not an idiot. He is prone to histrionics. I don’t need to provide reference for this. Do you have a twitter account?

There’s something about the man that I can’t quite acknowledge. To say he’s complicated is played-out. I don’t know him, and therefore have no idea as to his personal character. Why does this matter? In my world, it doesn’t. Have you ever watched a Woody Allen movie? This is a parsed-and-parceled false equivalency, but it’s still the point I’ll make: The individual means fuck-all to the art. It blows, I know, but (for the love of whomever) give the lizard-brain it’s due place in the spotlight.

There’s a sadness to ye, one I can’t pinpoint. It’s a lonely album. It’s the album that arrived late to the party—late to work. “They don’t know they been dealin’ with a zombie,” Ye screams on “Yikes,” and if I had a die in my hand I’d roll a deception check. Honestly, what is he doing? Is the mystery supposed to be part of the fun? I can’t see the forest through the trees—is that my fault? Where do I sit in his universe? ye, at the seven-minute mark, feels like a rush job. Kanye showed up late to work. He can’t Pablo his way through this shit, either. Both sides of center teeter on the brim, 100%.

The lifeblood of the lost is in finding a true path. “Today I seriously thought about killing you,” Kanye says. Have you ever heard anything as honest as that?

—————

With what phrase do I begin my reconciliation? At what time do I get to work? ye sounds good, I can’t lie. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the left-to-right ear-favoring “No Mistakes,” let alone the song-in-tow, “Ghost Town,” a complex mishmash of old and new Kanye strapped to The Detonator and launched, rather safely, into the sky. “Sometimes I take all the shine,” Ye sings, which could be a reference to Childish Gambino’s song “All the Shine,” or not. Again, at it’s core, “Ghost Town,” much like Kanye, is not beholden to the touch of minor entities: “I’m tryin’ to make you love me.”

“I put my hand on a stove to see if I still bleed, yeah,” 070 Shake sings and I’ve little insight as to whether this pain is for penance or posterity. There’s not much to be gleaned from ye—Ye is noticeably removed from ye, and I’m sure this is by design but this assertion is in no way inherent within the context of the music itself. “And nothing hurts anymore, I feel kinda free,” Shake sings, and can’t help but feel propelled by the emotional resonance of Shake’s voice. “We’re still the kids we used to be,” he sings, and everyone stares—ever briefly—into the mirror.

I did as much rush-job work as Ye himself, and I don’t have the storied-but-checkered past that merits merit as he. I want to hate it, but I can’t. Ye is an artist. He’s past the page of altering his imperfections: “And I am a nigga, I know what they want,” he says on “Violent Crimes,” and what could I possible do with that except absorb it? Sure, he references Trump a time or two, but why are you worried about that? Why did any of us pay attention to it in the first place?

Could that not be the point? I myself have had trouble learning to leave the man alone. He demands attention. This, to me, feels like the first of many. It’s a 23-minute prologue to a full-fledged explanation. Your boss-at-large will always, always ask why you were late to work. When, if ever, do you answer that question with complete, transparent honesty?

 

Chris

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