Hip hop mogul Kanye West burst onto the scene with his wonderful 2004 studio debut, The College Dropout. From the strength of his early material, it was clear to see that Kanye was here to stay from the very start. However, we didn’t exactly realise it would be an actual requirement.
As reported by Variety, details of the rapper’s contract with EMI have emerged and it looks like he’s bound to resist retirement and forbidden to go on hiatus. As some have pointed out, the wording on the contract is common with new artists to protect the company’s interests and ensure the artists signing will take their new duties seriously. Yet, West’s contract has been renewed numerous times - the wording hasn’t changed these requirements. Perhaps it would be an idea for the musician to read it through again and work to revise the terms of his contract. Whatever the results of such news breaking, questions have raised; should Kanye West retire?
It’s clear to see that many more people than ever before would sign off a resounding “absolutely” if asked such a question. He has always been a figure of controversy, but in recent years Mr. West has truly outdone himself. He’s often in the media spotlight for his outspoken political address and bizarre comments. For those who don’t actively listen to him, it must be hard sometimes to remember that he’s, in fact, an acclaimed musician and not some fading reality star.
You’ll often hear people contrast what is now widely known as “new Kanye” and “old Kanye”. Yet, depending on who you’re speaking to at the time, where these two blurry strata’s begin and end differs. On average, many would say that “new Kanye” began its origins in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy - the rapper’s fifth album and arguably his very best collection of work to date. You could say that his records up until this point had been more widely accessible. After all, something like 2005’s Late Registration is a much easier sell on a wider scale than, say, 2013’s Yeezus. West has gradually grown to favour experimentation over structure and despite earning many fans, he’s lost many of his old ones.
Of course, there are still so many who have enjoyed every single one of his projects to varying degrees. So, should he retire? Absolutely not, and his ninth studio album Ye is proof. Ye is a phenomenal, striking effort from West, seemingly borrowing stylistically from his early work while also compromising and delivering some of his most perplexing work to date. You can consider Ye a divided piece, with the first three tracks offering what we'd expect from West's continuous slide into egotistical oblivion.
Yet, the latter half of the album presents him as fractured, flawed and introspective. Cuts like "Wouldn't Leave", "No Mistakes", "Ghost Town" and "Violent Crimes" - yes, the latter of the record - possess the stylistic and lyrical beauty you would find on his early output.
The issue with Ye comes down to lack of material. In the wake of it, you're left demanding more and that's why we still need him. You could argue that he's shown glimmers of fragility throughout his later output; tracks like "Real Friends" and "Runaway" are gorgeously personal. However, with Ye, we saw his ego deteriorate rapidly to reveal an honest portrait of where Kanye is currently at. Hopefully, YANDHI sees him continue to open up to us - perhaps we both need it.
In other news, which artist has defined the 2010s?
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