checkin' out the latest radio rips of Kanye's new album 808 & Heartbreaks has been pretty interesting over the past couple months. what we hear from it is that he's once again changing his whole swag on us, new look, new sound, new attitude. oh no, don't be fooled he's still keeps it arrogant with such songs as "Amazing" (I'm a monsta/i'm a maven), but there's something about the new album that just separates it from his college days.
to properly see what Ye is trying to do with his latest album, we have to observe where he has come from. his first album, the favorite College Dropout, was a glimpse of hope that fed the backpacker crowd who had been seeing the start of hip hop's demise. finally we had a new Q-Tip, someone who was down with the alt rap scene and was ready to carry everyone on his beats. the soulquarians started to slow their stronghold on the genre, and it was ill to see that there's still someone out there who loves to sample. yet with fame comes arrogance, as one can see with any artist *cough*nas's i am*cough*. kanye began to open that famous mouth of his as soon as they took that plate out of his jaw and his cocky persona was constructed. the louis vitton don was born, and backpackers around the nation started to think about taking that new Ye out of their jan sports. yet Kanye's second effort, Late Registration, seems to be his Beats, Rhymes & Life stage, where he found new grooves to start his maturation process. getting hooked up with Jon Brion was a display of his creativity and openness to genre bending. however it was quite strange to see that mouth keep chomping away as his music developed so drastically. it would seem that Ye was starting to slowly find his way out of the regular hip hop shit with LR, until we got hit with Graduation. though the production on it was on fucking point and he proved to still know how dabble in creativity in unconventional ways, Ye's whole "fresher-than-y'all" demeaner was just too much. his new-found adoration of the buzzword swagger was over the top dumby, and he began to affiliate with the people we thought he was trynna stay away from when he dropped CD. it was an interesting expirience, but as always the white girls got down on the floor and everyone was gagging over it. urgh. so now that we know where we are, lets look at whats gonna come: 808 & Heartbreak.
first off, it's important to understand what he's doing with the first part of the title. Kanye, like most of us, is a hip hop nerd. he grew up on beats crafted by Rolands and Akais and loves sampling almost as much as he loves himself. so his use of the Roland TR-808 is understandable in a game where everyone's trying to look back to move forward.
in an interview with some white DJ, Ye talks about how he loved the machine but felt like nobody used it to it's potential. on his new album he explores the 808, trying to make beats with tribal beats rather than the normal "buh-bump, buh-bumpbuh-bump". and it seems as if he knows what he's doing. from the distorted rapid drum fire of "Coldest Winter" to the claps over the piano hits in"Heartless" to the african-style drum melodies on "Love Lockdown". there's not any sign of straight samples and classic formats, yet if he feels comfortable making this music then i say good for him. it helps us progress our music to lengths it hasn't yet seen. places where the hip hop basic of the drum meets cross-genre moods.
and that brings us to the other side of the story, the heartbreak. this is the first album where kanye seems vulnerable. with the passing of his mother just a mere year in our rearview, this album proves to be his most emotion charged. he seems to be forgetting his arrogant side, his 'my shits the best' tip, his 'lemme shine on em and they'll like me' phase. it's the first time since his sophmore effort that he's actually trying to explore his talents. his convincingly passionate voice on "Coldest Winter" is probably the closest he's ever been to pure music insight while escaping his dorky boast-y self (the song is dedicated to his ma. some real shit). also, the "THAT YOU KNOW"s on"Tell Everybody That You Know" hit pretty hard, and "Heartless"s catchy simple hook is actually enjoyable (better than UH UH YOU CAN'T TELL ME NOTHIN). it's gonna be a new move in the maturation of Kanye West. and i know everyone's saying "Thom Yorke this" and "emotional nakedness that" but i'm just happy he's not being super arrogant any more.
still think he should do a Kanye x Primo album, but it's just a dream of a teen.