The Life of Pablo Album Review - A Different Beast

The one thing I learned from the road to The Life of Pablo's release, is that Kanye West is a titan in the rap game. Seriously, he might be this generation's biggest rapper. From the name changes, to people constantly going insane on Twitter, to holding an album listening session at Madison Square Garden, Kanye proved he has an enormous voice in the entertainment business. However, I kept asking myself if he would use his voice to deliver a dope project. And my God, did he deliver...

1. Ultralight Beam (feat. The-Dream, Kelly Price, Chance The Rapper & Kirk Franklin)
Great intro! I can definitely see why Kanye said this album had a gospel influence. The track is about Ye's faith in God. Now, let's get this out of the way: I don't love auto-tune Kanye. I don't hate it;but I'd rather hear him spit with his normal voice. Back to the song, I enjoyed the production. Super atmospheric, with an R&B-ish melody. And while Kanye’s verse/singing didn't do much for me, the features did. The choir was amazing, and Kelly Price had a nice verse. However, the star of the show was Chance. He absolutely spit the perfect verse. Honest, introspective and melodic. Had a huge smile on my face when I heard the “I met Kanye West, I'm never going to fail” line.

2. Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1 (feat. Kid Cudi)
Production in here is already incredible! Mike Dean, Ye and Metro Boomin perfectly used the Father Stretch My Hands sample. The drumline and vocals throughout the song are fantastic. Talking about vocals, Kid Cudi returns to a Kanye album and he delivers a super catchy hook. As far as Kanye’s verse, it's alright. I like how he used the auto-tune, but some of the lines were a bit corny. He literally starts the verse with “Now if I fuck this model, and she just bleached her asshole”. So while I didn't love the verse, the use of the sample and the hook carried this one.

3. Pt. 2 (feat. Desiigner)
Finally a strong Kanye verse. With an acceptable use of auto-tune, Kanye spits a sincere verse about not being able to call his wife because of work, and he even briefly mentions his mother's death. When you least expect it, he throws a Desiigner sample, almost like a DJ would do, and the song suddenly becomes an Atlanta banger. And while Desiigner did a good job (nice Randy Savage reference), I would have loved to see a Travi$ Scott feature in here.

4. Famous (feat. Rihanna)
The vibes in this song are INCREDIBLE! The first beat is dirty and grimy. Kanye brings back his braggadocios side, spitting a dope line about Taylor Swift. The rest of the verses are not crazy, but they work with the beat. Rihanna comes through with her beautiful vocals, and delivers a heart warming hook. Right when you think it couldn't get any better, they throw the “Bam Bam” sample (by Sister Nancy). As soon as they did it, my jaw dropped! It was one of those rare moments in music when everything clicks, and you feel like you're in heaven. I adore this one!

5. Feedback
Dope song. Kanye gets cocky again, talking about his money while trashing his haters. He also compares himself to Pablo Escobar, Steve Austin and Steve Jobs. If you ask me, that's a great mix. Verses have some pretty good lines. Production reminds me of Yeezus, which is my least favorite Kanye album. However, the beat is here is distorted, but melodic. So I digged it. The hook could be a great alarm.

6. Low Lights
Man…this is extraordinary. I've been trying to figure out who is the lady giving the speech. It's not a sample, but it doesn't seem like she just did it in the studio. Her testimony is delivered with such passion and heart. Sounds like she's speaking to a live audience. The piano chords and synthesizers in the song are worth dying for. I'm not giving this one a score. The feeling it gives is unmeasurable.

7. Highlights (feat. Young Thug)
Good song, even if it's a bit all over the place. First off, I appreciate the way in which Kanye used Thugger. He did a great job. And some of the melodies in here are great. Lyrically, Kanye has high points and low points. He says his family are the new Jacksons and disses Ray J, while also wishing his dick had a GoPro. Production switches up quite a bit. At times, it's full of strings and melodies, and at times it sounds pretty basic. Still, not mad at this one.

8. Freestyle 4 (feat. Desiigner)
This track had my car on flames! Lyrically, it's mediocre. But the vibes it gives are so intense. The song represents an intoxicated Kanye, talking about the fast life and wilding out. The beat is too good. The strings are elegant, mysterious and full of emotion. And the drums are loud! Desiigner comes with an impressive feature, using a nice flow. During the first couple of listens, I was positive it was Future. Hope Desiigner switches it up a bit in the future, because he'll be looked as a Future copycat. If this was longer, I'd give it a higher rating. Still, I REALLY liked it.

9. I Love Kanye
This reminded me of the skits in The College Dropout! Funny as hell.

10. Waves (feat. Chris Brown)
So this is the track that caused the album to be delayed. It's pretty good. Now, Kanye sings in this one. Without auto-tune. And it's actually enjoyable. I wish he did it more often. Production is fantastic. Melody is energetic and soulful. I would probably be a bigger fan of the song if Chris Brown wasn't featured. Thing is: I like Chris. And his vocals are out of this world. But I've just gotten tired of the delivery he uses. From DJ Khaled, to Kanye West, he uses the same delivery in every record! Not bad, but I wanted more Kanye and less Breezy. This track went from soulful, classic Kanye to another Chris Brown tune.

11. FML (feat. The Weeknd)
Not sure how I feel about this one. I appreciate the content. Kanye talking about how hard it is to control himself and stay truthful to Kim. And Abel sings one of the best hooks I've heard in a long time. However, some of the elements in here turned me off. Production is a bit stale, and the outro at the end was straight-up weird. A lot of people are loving this one, but it didn't fully click with me. Still, solid as hell.

12. Real Friends
This is the Kanye I enjoy the most. The personal, vulnerable and insecure Ye, with bars and flows. The song is a look at his relationship struggles with friends and family. If the track was Kanye all alone, it'd be good. But Ty Dolla $igns really takes the record to the next level. He adds some needed vocals that perfectly complement Kanye’s verses. The piano production is smooth and introspective. Love this one!

13. Wolves
I'll be honest, I think I'm a bigger fan of the original version. Vic Mensa and Sia were fantastic, and it's a shame that their verses got cut. Having Frank Ocean close out the song makes up for it, but I still wish they were there. While I didn't love the auto-tune verse, Kanye’s second verse was super honest and thought provoking, talking about depression, fear and hope. And the vocals in the background are heavenly. Good song.

14. Silver Surfer Intermission
Small interlude. Nice to see Max B featured in here.

15. 30 Hours (André 3000)
I heard this one before the album came out. Majestic track. Kanye reflects back on his relationship with Sumeke Rainey. He would drive 30 hours from L.A. to Chicago visit her, and that's the foundation of the track. The instrumental is phenomenal! Soulful, catchy and laidback. And Kanye is just having fun, delivering clever, witty lines. 3 Stacks adds some soft, melodic vocals. I do wish the track ended sooner, though. I didn't need the last minute and a half.

16. No More Parties in L.A. (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
When I saw Kendrick was in this one, I told myself: K. Dot is going to steal the show. And while King Kendrick destroyed it, Kanye more than held up his own. He spit 90 bars! Ye and Kendrick swap stories about their frustrating experiences with rich people and the celebrity lifestyle. Madlib and Kanye came together to deliver a playful beat that was originally made 6 years ago! Sensational song.

Did Kanye change this one? When it first came out, I absolutely hated it. But the album version bangs! This is Kanye dissing Nike. He throws some significant shots, saying the company treats their employees like slaves. While his flow is annoying at times, the delivery is on point. The beat is hella loud, and it even switches up midway through. I like this banger!

18. Fade (feat. Post Malone & Ty Dollars $ign)
Solid outro. Production is amazing! The style and funk are stunning. Beat had my hips going left and right. Sadly, nobody brings it lyrically. Kanye, Ty or Malone. I wasn’t expecting a verse of the year contender, but I wanted something interesting and/or creative. I would have loved to see someone like Pusha T, just spitting over this. Despise my thoughts on the performance, production is too good. Vibes=on point.

Verdict: Despise the horrendous cover, The Life of Pablo is an splendid album by Kanye West. Is it his best work? No. Is it Ye's best project since Dark Fantasy? Absolutely!

Favorite Tracks
- Famous
- No More Parties in L.A.
- Ultralight Beam
- Real Friends
- 30 Hours

Least Favorite Tracks
- Fade
- Waves

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