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TLOP Review: Is Kanye West Back?

The Life of PABLO 1

When it comes to putting together a group of talented individuals, no one does it better than Kanye West.

The lightning rod displayed his eye for talent over the weekend, as he had the likes of Kirk Franklin, Chance the Rapper, Young Thug, The Dream, A$AP Rocky, Kelly Price and a live choir alongside him on Saturday Night Live. 

Towards the end of his performance, Kanye announced the release of The Life of Pablo, but there was one big problem.

Ye released his 7th solo studio album on Tidal, which has been under heavy scrutiny in the past.

So, what do you know?

Of course there was a crashing of the link, so fans were forced to wait for nearly an hour before they could indulge into TLOP. 

Oh yeah, we also can’t forget about Chance being another reason for the delay.

Well, now with everything resolved, many are wondering if this project was worth the wait?

Without further ado, let’s dissect TLOP track-for-track:

“Ultralight Beam” Feat. The Dream, Kelly Price, Chance the Rapper & Kirk Franklin – It’s hard to envision Kanye starting off TLOP any better than this.

To begin the track, Ye took audio from this amazing little girl, who’s preaching her tiny heart out.


As the song vocals creep in, you instantly fee like you’re in church.

First of all, there’s a choir in the background mixed in with a very soulful overall sound.

However, Chance the Rapper’s verse here is arguably the best on the entire album.

Here’s the first half of his verse:

When they come for you, I will shield your name
I will field their questions, I will feel your pain

They don’t know, they don’t
They don’t know, they don’t know

Foot on the Devil’s neck ’til they drifted Pangaea
I’m moving all my family from Chatham to Zambia
Treat the demons just like Pam
I mean I f*ck with your friends, but damn, Gina

I been this way since Arthur was anteater
Now they wanna hit me with the woo wap the bam
Tryna snap photos of familia
My daughter look just like Sia, you can’t see her

You can feel the lyrics and spirit coming in braille
Tubman of the underground, come and follow the trail

I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell
I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail

Legendary gospel artist Kirk Franklin closed it out with a very powerful prayer:

Father, this prayer is for everyone that feels they’re not good enough. This prayer’s for everybody that feels like they’re too messed up. For everyone that feels they’ve said “I’m sorry” too many times. You can never go too far when you can’t come back home again. That’s why I need…
Faith, more, safe, war

onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.

Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1″ Feat. Kid Cudi – To follow up the church theme from the opening track, Ye took a similar route with this one.

The title of this song comes from Pastor T.L. Barrett’s “Father Stretch My Hands”. 

Nonetheless, the one fundamental difference here is this track has more of a ‘feel good’ vibe.

Hint at Kid Cudi’s hook:

Beautiful morning, you’re the sun in my morning babe
Nothing unwanted
Beautiful morning, you’re the sun in my morning babe
Nothing unwanted

“Pt. 2” Feat. Desiigner – Finally, Kanye has taken us away from church for a bit.

The beat is very dark until Desiigner proceeds to wash Mr. West.

His first verse does the job:

I got broads in Atlanta
Twisting dope, lean, and the Fanta

Credit cards and the scammers
Hitting off licks in the bando

Black X6, Phantom
White X6 looks like a panda

Going out like I’m Montana
Hundred killers, hundred hammers

Black X6, Phantom
White X6, panda

Pockets swole, Danny
Selling bar, candy
Man I’m the macho like Randy
The choppa go Oscar for Grammy
B*tch ni**a, pull up ya panty
Hope you killas understand me

Kanye and Riri

“Famous” Feat. Rihanna – Oh look, a Rihanna sighting.

Riri decided to bless music lovers with her elite vocals.

Man I can understand how it might be
Kinda hard to love a girl like me
I don’t blame you much for wanting to be free
I just wanted you to kno

For what some consider to be the best song on the album, Kanye created a lot of controversy during his verse for the following lyrics:

For all my Southside ni**as that know me best
I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex
Why? I made that b*tch famous (God damn)
I made that b*tch famous

“Feedback” – This is the first solo track of the album and it was a bit of a disappointment.

The first half is clouded with Ye saying “wake up” about a thousand times, but to his credit, the song picks up stem towards the end.

Oprah meme

Making light of the Oprah ‘everybody gets a blank’ memes, Ye decided to make up his own version.

Hold on, hold on, hold on
Wait a second, everybody here, I’m the ghetto Oprah
You know what that mean? You get a fur! You get a fur!
You get a jet! You get a jet! Big booty b*
tch for you! Woo!

“Low Lights” – Only Kanye West can put a track on his album without a single word being spoken by him.

‘Low Lights’ is an emotional testimony from a mother.

Ye explains:

Click here to read the entire testimony.

 Kanye disses Ray J“Highlights” Feat. Young Thug, El Debarge & The Dream – If I didn’t tell you Young Thug was featured on this track, you wouldn’t be able to notice.

Why you ask?

Well, he’s on the intro with Kanye and you can’t even really tell when he’s rapping because it doesn’t feature his prominent sound.

Having said that, Kanye stirred things up with this shot towards Ray J.

I bet me and Ray J would be friends
If we ain’t love the same b*tch
Yeah, he might have hit it first
Only problem is I’m rich

One thing I truly love about this song is how often the beat changes, which allows you to experience difference feelings throughout the track.

“Freestyle 4” Feat. Desiigner – No hook needed here.

Kanye and Desiigner just went in respectively, but Desiigner created tons of controversy as he sounds identical to Future on his verse, which goes like this:

I want it right now
All of my ni**as gon’ get it in Chi now
You get hit with the pie now
Rolls with killer money ni**a get by now
Right now, right now
I’m with ni**as that have been to your side now
Side now, side down

Old Kanye West

“I Love Kanye” – Nobody likes talking about Kanye West more than Kanye West.

This became more prevalent after Kanye spent 44 seconds talking about himself.

I miss the old Kanye, straight from the ‘Go Kanye
Chop up the soul Kanye, set on his goals Kanye
I hate the new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye
The always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye
I miss the sweet Kanye, chop up the beats Kanye
I gotta to say at that time I’d like to meet Kanye
See I invented Kanye, it wasn’t any Kanyes
And now I look and look around and there’s so many Kanyes
I used to love Kanye, I used to love Kanye
I even had the pink polo, I thought I was Kanye
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

Kanye CB 1

“Waves” Feat. Chris Brown – It’s clear to see why Chance the Rapper wanted  “Waves” on the album now.

The chemistry between Kanye and Chris Brown was simply amazing here, backed by top notch production.

Brown’s chorus:

Waves don’t die
Let me crash here for the moment
I don’t need to own it
No lie
Waves don’t die, baby
Let me crash here for a moment
Baby I don’t, I don’t need to own…


The way Kanye’s second verse follows the hook is pure gold.

Sun don’t shine in the shade(turn it up!)
Bird can’t fly in a cage(turn it up!)
Even when somebody go away(turn it up!)
The feelings don’t really go away
That’s just the wave (yeah)

Kanye and the Weeknd

“FML” Feat. The Weeknd – The title here stands for “F*ck my life” and “For my lady”.

This song is a story about how crazy it is to be Kanye West, who is constantly hit with temptation. 

I been waiting for a minute
For my, lady
So I can’t jeopardize that for one of these hoes

I been living without limits

And as expected, the Weeknd stole the show with the hook:

They wish I would go ahead and f*ck my life up
Can’t let them get to me
And even though I always f*ck my life up
Only I can mention me

“Real Friends” Feat. Ty Dolla $ign – During Kanye’s short run of releasing tracks on Friday, ‘Real Friends’ was one of the teasers.

In an era of ‘No New Friends’, Ye delivered very relatable lyrics here.

This is one of the best songs on the album.

“Wolves” Feat. Frank Ocean – I get what Kanye was trying to do here, but the execution wasn’t all the way there.

Throughout the song, up until the second verse, Ye was utilizing auto-tune and let’s just say, he’s no Future.

However, he did have some nice quotables in his second verse. 

I know it’s corny b*tches you wish you could unfollow
I know it’s corny ni**as you wish you could unswallow

“Silver Surfer Intermission” Feat. Max B – I can’t be the only one who thought Max B was going to spit here.

Instead, he was just offering some love.

No biggie.

Yeezy, Yeezy, what’s good?
It’s your boy Max B, what’s going on?
Just checking in on you
Appreciate the love and support
The wave is here

You a wavey dude anyway, so you already know
Ain’t no problem, man, the game…
You already know how this game thing goes
Do your wave ni**a
You got the official wave man

Just, just doing you…
Doing you, doing your wave
And keep it loopy, I know you’re going to keep it loopy man

Shoutout, just shout you out
Hollering at you man, it’s all love
I appreciate the… the energy

“30 Hours” Feat. Andre 3000 – I feel like I should be driving through mountains on a sunny day in California.

This is just a feel good song.

One of the smoothest songs on the album.

Kanye 30 hours

“No More Parties in LA” Feat. Kendrick Lamar – Most people have heard this one well before the album released.

If you’re looking for a song to get played at your local party or kickback, here you go.

Kanye displayed tremendous calmness here, while taking a very controlled approach with his voice.

With all of that being said, the highlight here is when Kendrick Lamar just simply takes off. There’s a reason tons of people label him as the best rapper in the game today.

“FACTS” – You know the story here.

Ye took several shots at Nike, while mentioning the likes of Drake, Don C and LeBron.

Nike, Nike treat employees just like slaves
Gave LeBron a billi’ not to run away (Yo!)

All in all, this is a fun track because I don’t think anyone expected Ye to get on this type of beat.

“Fade” Feat. Post Malone & Ty Dolla $ign – As The Life of Pablo comes to a close, Kanye is surrounded by two very talented artist.

Solid track, despite hearing the word ‘Fade’ about a million times.

Final Grade: 8.2/10. All things considered, Kanye West really did his thing with ‘The Life of Pablo’. First and foremost, the production here is simply world class. From the beats to the quality to the vocals, it just makes for a very good experience all-around. While Kanye isn’t an elite lyricist by any means, he makes up for it by having top notch features to go along with his unorthodox flow and style.