Happy Birthday Yeezy! As an early birthday present from himself to the fans, the man with self-proclaimed bipolar superpowers dropped ‘ye,’ his eighth studio album.
Clocking in at seven tracks and with none of the features revealed, Kanye kept the focus on him, as always. One look at the album cover and audiences are given the disclaimer, “I hate being bi-polar, it’s awesome,” which sets the mood for the project to come. Here we have Kanye in his rawest form, shedding light on the struggles with mental health and the inner demons he battles on a daily basis.
Within the first 30 seconds of “I Thought About Killing You,” Kanye speaks in monologue, “Today I seriously thought about killing you… And I think about killing myself, and I love myself way more than I love you…” While this is extreme to say the least, it falls right in line with the reveal of his bipolar disorder, simultaneously reminding people of the dangers of suicide. Turning a negative into a positive, “Yikes,” has him turning this disability into a superpower.
The next record “All Mine” sees Kanye in a manic state and touches on the materialistic state of the world. It gives listeners a sneak peek into the highs and lows he goes through in his head until “Wouldn’t Leave” begins and serves as the perfect intermission.
Suddenly, the mood shifts from dark to light as Ye bares his soul. Addressing his most controversial outburst to date, “slavery is a choice,” Kanye reminds his fans he’s broken, just like the rest of us. With the gospel choir in the background, it’s increasingly apparent how much he uses music as a form of therapy. Whether he’s producing or rapping, the studio is his outlet — a coping mechanism to deal with the slander and pressures of society, as well as internally.
Sonically, the production outweighs the lyrics significantly, a reminder of his come up and tenure in the rap game. “Ghost Town” sees the reunion of Kanye and Kid Cudi, a duo we’ll never get sick of. The words “I feel kinda free” by 070 Shake remind listeners that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a moment of hope and safekeeping that life is ultimately filled with joy and love — you just have to seek it.
“Violent Crimes” closes out the project on a high note, reminding Kanye of his biggest role yet: being a father. He shifts the focus from his music to the life he aims to give his daughters, North and Chicago, knowing damn well this can only be achieved once he gets a grasp on his own mental illness.
Overall, the project is sweet and concise, with no real motives other than to let his story be known. Kanye’s willingness to open up is both courageous and inspiring, as he subtly motivates the masses to do the same. Mental health is no joke and we must all raise awareness together. Help is there if you need.