Do we even talk about anything but Kanye West anymore?
Despite the barrage of news of late. The loss of King Bowie. Of Severus Snape. Of his real world Death Eater compatriot Justice Scalia. Despite Syria, Flint, Trump, and the Hunger Games that the U.S. primaries are collapsing into.
Social media and aggregate feeds are still like 50% Yeezy.
Another collection reminiscent of Rick Owens and Devon Halfnight Leflufy co-designing sportswear for the zombie apocalypse (at Dior prices, natch). Increasingly fractured twitter rants à la I’m Still Here-era Joaquin Phoenix. Peter de Potter’s oddly compelling ‘Richard Prince does Helvetica’ cover art.
This is by design, obviously. West is possessed of an ability to throw God-level shade and self-possessed temper tantrums in equal measure while still leaving us begging for more. Of writing a verse like: “What if Kanye made a song about Kanye / Called ‘I miss the old Kanye’ / Man that would be so Kanye, that’s all it was Kanye / We still love Kanye and I love you like Kanye loves Kanye”. Meta stacks on meta stacks on meta fucking stacks.
Then you turn on The Life of Pablo. And it all makes sense again. Or didn’t really matter in the first place.
Proper judgement reserved until the gold master drops. But, love it or hate it, Kanye has again done something incontrovertibly ‘Westian’. Production isn’t just monstrous, it’s fearless. Hell, “Father Stretch My Hands” has as much depth (and nearly as many distinct beats) as a typical LP. It gives Future and the announcer from Street Fighter II equally important cameos.
He’s taking cues from the next generation, to be sure. Migos-esque syncopated lyrical flows, Young Thug’s penchant for making hooks, bridges, and verses nigh indistinguishable, Chance the Rapper’s production M.O. of blending juke and trap, then overlaying gospel cues.
But, in the end, he’s still Kanye. Rest assured, the spectacle continues. And not just on twitter.