West recently debuted his 23-minute album "ye," the high point of his two-year music break. (Image via The Fader)
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After two years’ hiatus, and on the heels of a slew of controversial remarks, West is back.

From the satirical sounds of “Lift Yourself” to his pro-Trump Twitter tirade, Kanye West has been poking his bear-like fan base for the majority of 2018.

After going semi-silent since the release of his 2016 album “The Life of Pablo” — save for production credits and late ’16 loosies — the Chicago icon’s legacy began to snowball in a martyrdom sort of fashion in the early first quarter of this year.

trump and kanye
President Donald Trump and Kanye West meet in person after West tweeted out pro-Trump tweets to his millions of followers. (Image via NME)

Dragon-energy and signed hats aside, the public almost forgot that this guy still made music. So, following this announcement of an impressive amount of star-studded, Kanye-produced albums (Kid Cudi & Ye, Pusha-T Nas), West retreated into the studio and cranked the album out in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that the public now knows as “ye.”

The sound of the record isn’t anything as new for Kanye as in comparison to an album like “Yeezus.” If anything, it’s a culmination of many sounds that have worked for him in the past. For instance, the second song “Yikes” sounds very similar to the cut “Wolves” from “TLoP,” with the crooned chorus having Ye admit his struggles in an honest sound before going into the tightly rhymed, big-headed verses that remind fans of his recent ’17 – ’18 features.

Much of the hype for this album has come after West’s mental breakdown in 2016, wherein after Ye almost brags about being bipolar. Critics alike have been doubting this approach since in the U.S. mental health has been a point of controversy amid ignorant leaders and mentally unstable citizens using weapons to kill other citizens.

But Kanye doesn’t go out of his way to offend people, rather he says what he wants to say. Who is going to tell Kanye Omari West what he can or cannot write an album about? Case-in-point, the cover of the album speaks for itself.

When an artist causes this sort of stir in the public for his artists, his music and his organization, but simultaneously doesn’t want to overshadow the work that will come from his very same artists, what are they to do? Hit the minimum bar of course, which is really why “ye” will continue to gain praise and acclaim due to the album’s B+ sonics and production, but a high D in terms of story, writing and performance.

From the cool ragtime samples of “Ghost Town” contrasting its distortion cadenzas that were first exhibited on the song “Runaway” to the unique Bon Iver-style electronic background edits underneath Young Thug’s scatting on “Wouldn’t Leave,” the sound of “ye” is just typical Kanye.

The above-the-cut production, having both neat details and sentiments, ultimately gets minimized by West inserting himself into any opportunity he can get, regardless of if what he is saying is artistically ideal.

Following his Twitter posts that were seemingly never double-checked with anyone to see if they should be released, West’s “I don’t care, I’m gonna do it and have fun in the process” attitude made its way into the studio as well, producing an album that is a high C at best, with its respected highlights.

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Remington Jensen

University of Idaho

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