“When you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities,” West recently told The New York Times. Along with addressing himself in the third person, he chose to put his well-documented ego on full display during the interview. His latest albumfinds the controversial artist as merely a caricature of himself. Many of West’s politically and culturally infused lyrics are either shortly followed by crass amateur nonsense or directly contradicted by West’s own lifestyle. Undeniably visceral, West’s lyrics scream for attention, but more as a batty socialite than a man with something worth hearing. The critique of fashion and consumerism in “New Slaves” is as confusing as it is laughable when considering the narcissistic fashionista spitting the words. Musically, the album expertly draws from contemporary and classic influences to create a dark, jarring and antagonizing sound. Opening track “On Sight” and single “Black Skinhead” are deliberately off-putting, exploiting EDM and house trends of recent years. West employs old soul hooks to create haunting sparseness, finding strange beauty in tracks like “Hold My Liquor.” With an album so out of control it would feature a song named “I Am A God,” it is only fitting that West be the one to almost pull it off.
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