Story by: Keshav Pandya
Kanye West, throughout his career, has been known for bringing something new. Something experimental. One-of its-kind. He’s been revered as the man who will blow your mind with a sound in hip-hop you will never have heard before. And that, of course, is referring to the producer-musician Kanye West.
On the other hand, there is the rapper Kanye. This was the artist who can paint a vivid photo and guide the audience into a story about his past, as he reminisces about a “girl named Windy,” or the diamonds in Sierra Leone. There seemed to be a message, a deep and intrinsic force in the man’s lyrics that brought his emotions and dark twisted fantasy onto the hears and hearts of the listeners.
But, recently it had seemed that the rapper West had been compromised for the experimental West, and now the business mogul Yeezy. Not to say that Kanye West stopped bringing novel and beautiful music to the audience, but it felt obvious to some that Kanye had lost the lyrical storytelling abilities he used to possess. Of course songs in Yeezus, his previous album, had the ability to make noise sound like music (which is as astounding as it sounds), and the song, “All Day,” his summer release, was also a great party song, but both seemed to compromise on the Kanye-esque lyrical prowess. The question remained: Would we see a this compromise continue to spring Kanye’s next album, The Life of Pablo? Where has the “old-Kanye” gone? And more so, as we always ask, “what will Kanye do next?”
With his newest song, “No Parties in LA,” featuring the 11-time Grammy nominee for the album, To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar, ‘Ye brings back the lyricism and storytelling abilities on to the stage. After Lamar seems to vanish after his verses in the beginning, which as usual impress, West competes with his loud words on the frustration faced with the Hollywood spotlight, constant materialistic ventures, and as he symbolically puts it, “the parties in LA.”
By stating, “A country girl that love Hollywood, Mama used to cook red beans and rice, Now it’s Denny’s, 4 in the morning, spoil your appetite,” ‘Ye is showing the changes in his lifestyle, and the distaste for it he feels over time.
The ability to paint a vivid picture of the fame, glory, and materialism, he is starting to feel as fleeting is clear to the listeners, when he talks to them conversationally. The rhetorical questions he presents, the casual jokes he offers, and the open hearted statements he gives are clear about what he feels and that he is returning to the Yeezy who valued rap as much as the beat.
I be worried ’bout my daughter, I be worried ’bout Kim
But Saint is baby Ye, I ain’t worried ’bout him
I had my life threatened by best friends who had selfish intents
What I’m supposed to do?
Kanye clearly opens about his personal life and how he feels.
But, at the same time, the song may have faltered a little bit on the musical side. We listen to a song by Kanye, and hope something new will be heard. It’s a high expectation…but it’s true. Yeezy’s storytelling ability changed the game in the beginning, the sampling style during “College Dropout,” the ability to incorporate 808’s and Autotune seamlessly into Hip-hop during “808s & Heartbreak,” the orchestration in his dark twisted fantasy, and the electronic drilling music into hip-hop in “Yeezus.” And it wasn’t that only he did it. People began to mimic him, and words like experimental and innovative became synonymous to Kanye West.
But, in this recent release, West may have compromised a little bit on the music side. Yes, he did sample seamlessly. And the creativity with the lyrics and the music production was on the dot. But, the out-of-the-blue, eye-popping, or in other words, Kanye-esque musical may have been missing a little bit in the song.
At the end of the day, West has put out a beautiful piece for us. While it may not have been the height of greatness we were expecting, it was surely the Kanye West speaking his heart out to the world. And with this track out as a single, we can only expect the album to be what Yeezus sampled in this song: “A New God Flow.”