Main, Reviews

“Ye” Fails To Reintroduce Mr. West

At times, Kanye West’s polarizing media posturing is his strongest attribute. We can’t wait for the next idiotic gem to…

At times, Kanye West’s polarizing media posturing is his strongest attribute. We can’t wait for the next idiotic gem to rattle between his ears and tumble from his lips. That noise is great content; filling blog pages and gossip sites, sparking debate across social media and music platforms. But after a casual listen to Ye, his newest disaster, does his brand of pigeonholed creativity matter anymore?

This perpetual media circus is where Kanye operates best. He’s a freewheeling spirit; a madman at the boards, a producer with infinite vision and a MC with a caustic tongue. He’s a master at manipulating a turn of phrase while simultaneously dumping the world upside down-remember when he flippantly suggested that slavery was a choice? This sort of buffoonery is exactly what West has spoon-fed the public for the past few years; and still the world anticipates his every chess move with a panicked FOMO that only Kanye can induce.

West has mastered the art of celebrity, where nothing is sacred or left to our imagination. He lays low only long enough to manifest his next move. The past few months have been no exception. He’s been holed up in Wyoming and Utah crafting a series of projects aimed for release this month. Among them is a collaborative record with Kid Cudi, Ye,  Pusha-T’s Daytona, and an as-yet-untitled record from Nas. Kanye is apparently producing seven songs for each project, digging for samples through some 2,000 vinyl records he purchased and shipped out west.

This most recent version of Kanye is the one we cannot stop talking about. These days we’re constantly confronted by Kanye the enigma- the uncanny fool who can’t dislodge his foot from his mouth- until he releases new music. His art has a timely way of silencing the shit talking; of zeroing the critics back to his inevitable genius — which brings us up to speed in 2018.

Kanye’s production on Daytona will be ranked as some of the year’s best. On the flip side, his newest offering — the slim and trim Ye — is an unbalanced and easily forgotten mess. At a running time of twenty-three minutes it’s chaotic and disconnected, attempting to borrow the best working bits of The Life Of Pablo and Yeezus while ignoring any of the soulful introspection and self-depreciation that made us fall in love with the Old Kanye ages ago.

Take the album opener, “I Thought About Killing You”, for exactly what it is and you won’t be let down. West, the egomaniac, nervously vents about his punishing mental illness and nagging insecurities while never allowing the listener a second to process or feel what he’s living through. The song serves as a false entrance to a world that’s as contrived as the album cover, and hardly as deep as the internet will lead you to believe. Is Kanye really the poster boy that mental health is looking for? He certainly wants you to believe so.

For the album’s actual release, West invited hundreds of “influencers” to Wyoming for a listening party- the industry’s equivalent to a real time gallery walk. Kanye took his show on the road, and in the meantime alienated himself further from the culture he’s spent years crafting and molding into something people once truly believed in. Rather than hitting any impactfulmark by relocating his camp to The Equality State, he created an even larger gap between us and them.

Ye can’t help but put a serious divide between Kanye and his fans. There are moments that work, like the beautifully crafted “Ghost Town”, featuring a rejuvenated Kid Cudi and an incredible hook courtesy of 070 Shake (a star in the making), and the bouncy and biting “All Mine”, which contains plenty of chuckle-worthy bars like “I love your titties because they prove I can focus on two things at once”. But those moments of silly bliss are buried beneath cringe-induced, head scratching blunders which normally aren’t the defining moments of any Yeezy album.

By the time you get to the albums final three minutes, where Kanye recognizes his role as a father to little girls on “Violent Crimes”, you desperately want to believe in Ye, but the damage is done. Kanye West doesn’t want to get out of his own way, andhe might be too far gone trying to create, recreate, and monetize his Calabasas world to make something we can honestly believe in as common folks in 2018.

Kanye’s fall from grace is a marvel; complete with a public breakdown in 2016, a few hobo-chic fashion interludes, and a baffling reemergence into our consciousness with a pledging of love for Donald Trump. It’s without a doubt one of the strangest stories in all of popular culture. The problem is, Ye fails to captivate us as a re-introduction to Kanye West and this new chapter in his saga. It’s lackluster at best, which is a bar that’s far too low for one of hip-hop’s true trend setters.

Ye comes and goes without a single memorable moment. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Instead of debating the quality of the final product like we have so many times with Kanye releases in the past, we’re left with a mediocre soundtrack and the hollow images of famous people in Wyoming dancing around a bonfire.

 

My name is J.D, the music fanatic, writer, blogger, and educator. I've been in love with hip hop since Bishop got too close to the ledge. If it moves me, I'll cover it. I've written an unpublished novel, created Shiny Glass Houses, and had my work featured on the Bloglin for Mishka NYC. I'm lurking in the shadows on twitter @ThexGlassxHouse. Read. Comment. Get money.
Related Articles
Main, Reviews

Did Denzel Curry’s Ta13oo live up to its hype? (mostly)

During the week of July 23rd, Denzel Curry (aka Ultimate Denzel Curry aka Zeltron aka Aquarius Killer aka Denny Cascade…

During the week of July 23rd, Denzel Curry (aka Ultimate Denzel Curry aka Zeltron aka Aquarius Killer aka Denny Cascade aka the Black Metal Terrorist) dropped his long-awaited album, Ta13oo.

According to Curry’s Twitter, he waited 13 months to drop the project that had been ready for the shelves since 2017, building up hype and making multiple public statements on the state of Hip Hop culture during the interim. Ta13oo serves as a follow up to the well-received album Imperial which was first released as a free album on Soundcloud and then tweaked for major distribution in 2016.

When news came that Curry’s album was going to drop the Carol City emcee claimed that it would be a game-changing album designed to shake up the rap world. To further differentiate himself from other artists he dropped the album in three parts (or acts) on three different days. Each act was labeled Light, Gray, and Dark respectively. And as if this wasn’t enough of a statement in itself, Curry further promoted his album by dropping the highly sophisticated single and video “CLOUT COBAIN | CLOUT CO13AIN” a week prior; a song that is designed to be an introspective and critical examination of dangerous trends in Hip Hop and the commoditization of the modern artist.

Upon my first listen I was surprised to hear how different this album was compared to Curry’s previous work. Act One: Light, packs in his smoothest and most positive songs at the head of the album; leaving the listener unprepared for the dark turn it quickly makes. And while the title track that opens act one is a sad love song that drones about a girl who has suffered abuse and touches on the idea of our society’s taboos, it hails in darkness compared to supercharged songs like “BLACK METAL TERRORIST” that finish out the album. Act Two holds some very impressive bangers reminiscent of Imperial’s first version, including my favorite track “MAD I GOT IT,” which describes envy from different perspectives while stomping over a bass heavy, head pounding instrumental produced by pop outlet Hippie Sabotage and Finatik N Zak.

Unfortunately, at this point in the project, a lot of songs sounded very familiar. If you were on the edge of your seat waiting on this project to drop like I was, you know that most songs were released as singles even before acts One Two and Three came out. In fact, six of the project’s 13 songs were dropped beforehand which made the scattered album drop feel awkward and spread out; especially since each four-song act dropped separately in the midst of all these singles. On Friday the 27th every single and act were reverted back to one album on all major streaming platforms and remain that way now.

 
Despite its awkward and fragmented release, Ta13oo is a much better listen when similar to grayscale with Denzel’s anger and social commentary growing more and more intense as it progresses; eventually combining to become a dark, dark album. Zeltron fans probably expected this after his EP, 13, dropped last summer, giving us six tracks of absolute insanity. The EP was hyper-aggressive in production as well as lyricism with songs like “Hate Government” and “Heartless,” that foreshadowed Ta13oo’s approach and sound.

The project does shift gears away from Denzel’s older music, especially my favorite Curry project to date: Planet Shrooms. Planet Shrooms was a bold and experimental project that used unconventional beats and vocal distortion to display its psychedelic themes and imagery. It sounds like a rap album from the future- with imagery describing drive by’s on hoverboards, green colored guns, and an obsession with the year 2077. This EP was also stacked with features from some of Curry’s go-to guys like JK the Reaper and Nell who added some of the project’s most memorable bars and supported Denzel’s phonkiest, most out there tracks. Much of the production also included live instrumentation which really made it stand out and feel extremely advanced for a free project released on Soundcloud- where it remains exclusively today.

The HiphopDX community rated Ta13oo a bit above 4.5/5, and overall the project has been very well received by fans and reviewers. I think this album did live up to its hype and will age better than 2018’s other notable releases because of its lyrical complexity and flawless production. Stream the album today and check out the provocative video for “Clout Cobain” if you haven’t already.

Continue Reading
Reviews, unsigned hype

Han Sino Drops His Opus ‘Exquisite Gardenz’

There is something inherently perfect about the right soundtrack for your movements at the right time. In a wave of…

There is something inherently perfect about the right soundtrack for your movements at the right time. In a wave of commercial Hip Hop — with the genre being at its absolute height regarding actual quantifiable popularity — it may be hard to explain to someone why instrumental LPs are so vital for your soul. But in the word of King Push: “if you know you know.”

I continuously thirst for new instrumental soundtracks, and French producer/poet/creative Han Sino is someone that I’ve covered in the past — in particular his project titled Glucose. He creates this refreshing blend of funk grooves, jazz, ambient hip-hop, and atmospheric melodies that seriously make for a trippy experience, dependant on how you consume his ambitious projects.

Relevant: Check out the run-down of Han’s LP Glucose

His latest output, Exquisite Gardenz, is one which Han himself considers to be his opus. Much like his previous release — during my first few listens, I noticed that the core bass lines created that signature continuous flow that moved the 12-song soundscape along. The best way to describe this project is that if a crate digger were to randomly come across this during a record shop excursion, and take it home and drop the needle anywhere, they’d be excited as hell to fire up the MPC and start chopping. It’s gorgeous.

Beginning with the atmospheric intro track “Exquisite,” we’re introduced to an Asian influence that creeps in throughout the project. The second track “Red Fishes” gave me chills off the top, as the bassline was reminiscent of the iconic bass strums from Eric B. & Rakim’s “Don’t Sweat The Technique.” Rather than commit to a hip-hop-centric platter, though, it expands into this difficult to describe Sunday afternoon, soulful, 70’s vibe — accentuated with these ambient wind chimes that make for a crazy audio trip.

Later on in the tracklist, I found myself drawn to the mysterious vibe of “Deep Lagoonz,” with an almost video game vibe, set-off with this super cool flute, and some frantic strings that add this odd amount of tension to track. The strings in the album closer “Gardenz” also had me intrigued; groovy, jazzy, and insanely engrossing.

As Han himself says in the album’s liner notes, “I hope you will [take] this Opus as a proposition to see life differently, and bite it to the fullest … drunk of the liquor of paradise.” This should be the goal of any great instrumental affair — a soundtrack to the movie that is your life; whether you’re getting lost in a world of writing or banging it which you’re trekking through the metropolis after dark. Exquisite Gardenz is a beautiful body of work. If you’re into nu jazz, rare groove, or a fan of instrumental hip-hop, you’ll want to give it a spin.

Continue Reading
Reviews, unsigned hype

Malachi Grant Returns With Inspiring New Project “On My Way”

Straight out of Yonkers, New York (City), rapper Malachi Grant returns four years following the release of his well-received Welcome…

Straight out of Yonkers, New York (City), rapper Malachi Grant returns four years following the release of his well-received Welcome 2 My World. His latest effort — an easy to digest seven-song project titled On My Way — is an exercise in perseverance, believing in your craft, and beating the odds. Lyrically, anyways.

He’s never open book enough to truly let you in on the depth of his come up on the streets of the Mecca, beyond noting that he’s on the streets, but from the onset, we’re presented with “On My Way,” which sets the tone. “Did dirt like cleats, but I stay clean,” he raps on the song’s third verse.

The project doesn’t stray too far from the contextual concept that he’s overcome — something explored most in-depth on “I’ll Be Sure” — and continues to strive towards the top of the mountain. There are breaks from this thread of thinking, though, as he also seems to let love creep into the mix on “I’ll Be Back,” while still staying true to the aesthetic of the overall vibe.

Standouts include the glossy vibe of the album closer, “What I Need,” with an upbeat instrumental and bars that hint at a deeper amount of wealth than he actually puts out there — all mashed in with an über New York flow. The slowed down flow of “Stay Up,” one of the songs that include a sing-song chorus (“I’ll Be Back” has an auto-tuned, melodic, vibe).

Overall, the LP has well-balanced production, and carefully crafted wordplay; it deliberately follows conventions but does a great job of remaining subtly dark, while finding a way to patiently and positively preach a message of staying focused and taking hold of your future. Littered with enough quotable to start a daily motivation Instagram account.

Loss, growth, and accomplishments; On My Way is curated to have few low-points. It’s New York Hip Hop, and it’s worth a spin.

Early.

Continue Reading
Main

L’S810 Releases New Visual & Chats About His Career

Hailing from Flint, Michigan — and currently residing in Kansas City — multi-versed creative L’S810 is on a mission to…

Hailing from Flint, Michigan — and currently residing in Kansas City — multi-versed creative L’S810 is on a mission to make history “I love Hip Hop and meeting/touching people through music,” he tells AAHH while chatting about his latest visual release, “Gucci Bando,” an undeniable bop we’ve been playing on repeat.

The record is a great contrast to some
Of his past few releases. One of the cool things about his is his ability to traverse different sounds and vibes without sounding forced or off-base.

 

I put in a lot of work this year and wanna see it pay off.

When asked, the rapper notes that his sound is epic. “I like doing what I feel; how ever the music moves me — I react,” he explains. “I don’t judge the outcome. If I could define my style, I would say it’s rap realist music.”

His first taste of music was back in college, trying to write and record for his cousin. “I bought an 8-track recorder and laid my first full verse,” he recalls fondly. After that, “ I was hooked.” Fast forward, and L’S810 is 14 projects deep. I’ve been grinding for a minute,” he says with a laugh.

“Right Now I’m just recording and writing … got a few singles under my sleeve,” he states. However, he isn’t committing to anything just yet. “Going with the flow for now and creating.

“Really proud of the content we have produced these [past few] years; I would say the biggest accomplishment was raising the level of content — now we just need more eyes on it,” he adds with a smirk.

“I wanna become super successful and touch millions and help more individuals become the greatest them,” he says of his ultimate career goals. “I want hella platinum hits and a collection of classic albums under my belt … I want to be great.

Continue Reading
More in Main, Reviews
REVIEW: A$AP Rocky’s “TESTING”

Lifelong rapper, artist, and fashion mogul A$AP Rocky has at long last delivered his third album: TESTING. The project was...

Close