“T.L.O.P” showcases washed-out potential

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“T.L.O.P” showcases washed-out potential

Lucas Koprowski, News Editor

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Kanye West is one of the most outrageous caricatures in hip-hop today. After success with his first three albums “College Dropout,” “Late Registration,” and “Graduation,” he has taken a step back from being an influential artist and progressed more into the experimental zone of the music world. “808’s and Heartbreaks” was a bunch of auto-tuned blabber, and “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” brought reinvention to his sound and flow to vocalize his more egotistical personality.

       

After “Yeezus,” his sixth studio album, he took a turn for a more abrasive and experimental form of rap. Some songs like “New Slaves” and “Blood on the Leaves” brought some meaning to this album, but were muffled by a weird beat progression that just lost me after the third or fourth listen through. It seemed like Kanye was going to keep declining until he bottoms out his bank account like “50 Cent” and disappear from the music world.

       

Then came “The Life of Pablo,” Kanye’s seventh studio album. This had one of the most unprofessional releases in the history of rap. He announced that his album was going to be released on Feb. 11 in early January. During that month before the release, he chanced the album title twice from S.W.I.S.H. to Waves, then to T.L.O.P., or “The Life of Pablo.” Then, when Feb. 11 came around, he delayed the digital release by three days, adding 5 more tracks and finalizing the album art. Finally, he did a “TIDAL” only release for the first week, which forced many Kanye fans, including myself, to get a “TIDAL” free trial.

       

Looking past those major flaws, the album is a major improvement from “Yeezus.” Although his lyrics and flow are garbage through many of the auto-tuned tracks, like “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and “Highlights,” a lot of the album shows West going back to his roots as a musician.

       

“Ultralight Beams” was an amazing way to open the album. The song’s gospel charm, passionate singing and slick flows from both Kanye and Chance the Rapper made the song a better intro than “Dark Fantasy” on “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

       

“Famous” has been hit with a lot of controversy over his line about still having a chance at hooking up with Taylor Swift, going as far as West announcing that he made her famous, hence the title. Looking past that though, the song is super catchy, especially with Rihanna on the chorus.

       

From there to “Waves,” Kanye put five experimental and acapella pieces that gave me a headache from their screechy and whiny nature.  

       

“Waves” didn’t have any ground breaking lyrics from Kanye, but his beats plus Chris Brown on the hook saved this song from being as boring as the previous five. It was close to the same with the next track, “FML,” where the meaning behind Kanye’s lyrics and the Weeknd’s chorus overshined the uncomfortable and minimalistic beat that didn’t compliment the song well at all.

       

“Real Friends,” “30 Hours,” “No More Parties in LA,” and “Facts” were all released on Soundcloud before the album officially dropped. Including “Ultralight Beams” and “Wolves,” these six songs are what make this entire album. All of the other songs are either too experimental, like in “Yeezus,” or are him trying to make calculatedly popular songs like Future or Drake.

       

Honestly, this album isn’t worth signing up for the TIDAL free trial, nor is it worth whatever it will go for in stores. Half of the good songs on this album are still available on Kanye’s Soundcloud, so I would recommend listening to those tracks to see if his new style fits with your taste before you make any investment in this washed out artist.

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