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Review | Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s “Vultures 1” is a slim pick

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One of the great tragedies of popular music in the 21st century is how the words “new Kanye West album” have gone from “exciting expression of exploratory news” to “sad guy saying even ruder things.” What a loss. We should mourn lost greatness, but grief seems impossible when the fallen maestro never stops being hateful and annoying.

“Vultures 1” is Ye’s new album, released Saturday under his full name, a co-bill with solid R&B singer Ty Dolla $ign, and probably his most compelling effort in years, which doesn’t actually mean very little considering his last three outings. – “YOU,” “Jesus is king” And “Donda” – seemed to crumble as you listened to them. Ye’s impulsiveness was his great strength, injecting so many era-defining rap hits with megadoses of spontaneity and surprise. But somewhere after the artful rumble of ” 2013 »Yeezus“, his impertinence turned into carelessness, and the music became melting and short-sighted.

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Maybe you already know all this, but if it feels like I’m scraping the sides of the peanut butter jar right now, you should hear this album. No new sounds, just recycled timbres from his catalog. No new perspectives, just more grievances and sadness. Sure, Ye raps again with fuller, more locomotive phrases, but whatever manages to come out of the mix does so on breathy shock value. There’s a particularly dispiriting punchline that puns on the idea of ​​Manhattan traffic and morning sex that, while technically clever, will ultimately make your brain feel like it’s just been given a wedgie. Exhaustingly, this happens during a song called “Problematic.”

Speaking of trouble, did Ye spend the last two years of his life doing all of this? ugly remarks about Jewish people just so he can piss off everyone and capitalize on the blowback? Of course it looks like that. On the album’s stark title track, he defiantly asks, “How am I anti-Semitic?” Then he answers his own question with an unprintable line about having sex with a Jewish woman – which, at this point, has become one of his running lyrical tropes. Blech. On album closer, “King,” he raps about being called “‘crazy, bipolar, anti-Semitic,'” then puffs out his chest: “I’m still the king.”

King of whom? Lords of the college? Maybe Ye isn’t even that cynical. This album’s most memorable hook doubles as a flash of honesty and practical exoneration for everyone involved: “I’m just here to get paid.” »

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