Favorite Track: "Ghost Town" Least Favorite Track: "No Mistakes"
Bipolar disorder is a mental condition marked by alternating periods of elation and depression. In November 2016 just after canceling his Saint Pablo tour Kanye West seemingly confirmed that he has bipolar disorder with the release of his eighth studio album ; ye. Through the years, the career of West has been riddled with controversy and during the period in which he released and was preparing to release ye, this trend was only amplified to the fullest extent. Directly before this release Kanye uttered his now infamous comments about how slavery was a choice and by now everyone else knows the rest of the story regarding his shananigans. Whether these comments had anything to do with Kanye’s now-public mental disability or not, they were the landscape that bred what I believe to be one of the best releases we have been blessed with from Kanye West thus far. Ye is a twenty three minute confession of sorts where Kanye describes his day to day life living and dealing with his bipolar disorder. Throughout this project not only does ye do an amazing job describing his mentality but he refuses to sacrifice musicianship for substance. Even with the talking points and subject matters on this record being so serious and meaningful these tracks are still chalk full of fire beat switches, amazing Kanye esc bars and wordplay, great classic Kanye flows, and essentially flawless production. His word play as usual on this album is outstanding. I love the hilarious bar on “All Mine” where he says “I love your titties cause they prove I can focus on two things at once”. With the track listing being so incredibly tight I really am impressed with how West still managed to include some complete bangers on this project like “Ghost town”, and “Yikes”. Our glimpse into Kanye's mental disorder fittingly opens with “I Thought About Killing You”. The very first lyric within this track and the entire album is “the most beautiful thoughts are always besides the darkest”. This eventually becomes a mantra for the track as he repeats it quite often. I think this saying really is Kanye's best representation of how he describes his disorder. The structure of the track is also reminiscent of his disorder with Kanye going from a confession type spoken word passage in the intro to complete narcissism and braggadocio in the back half of the track, I take it as Kanye trying to represent the way that his moods change due to his mental disability. “Yikes” also does this very well and it seems even more intentinal than the last track. Kanye is consciously switching the subject matter of tracks here to represent the switch in personalities that is present within his disorder but on “Yikes” he does it in a different way. The first leg of the track is classic Kanye with his narcissistic bars until he goes into more of a commentary passage on the back half where he starts to discuss his performance on the song he just performed and how much he loves the way that “ye” did the track. It’s like Kanye is trying to show us this extreme hatred for himself as Kanye but his extreme and over the top love for himself as “ye”. He goes on to describe his bipolar disorder as a superpower when he is in the form of “ye”. Track #4 “Wouldn't Leave” is a love letter to his wife Kim where he talks about her perspective of his bipolar outbursts. Kanye discusses how she tells him time and time again that they are going to lose everything because he can’t control himself but he also keeps saying how she “Wouldn’t Leave”. The song eventually goes on to turn into an anthem of appreciation toward woman who stay loyal to their men despite the hardships or struggles they might be going through. PARTYNEXTDOOR’s singing in the intro is gorgeous and its overall a very pretty and lush song. Track #6 “Ghost Town” is in my opinion one of Kanye’s best tracks thus far. First and foremost the song is beautiful musically. The epic sounding bells, synths, and drums give this song a sort of epic and euphoric sentiment that is really quite beautiful. The sample in the beginning of “Take me for a little while” by The Royal Jesters meshes so beautifully with the rest of the track. I see “Ghost Town” as Kanye at his extremes highs that we see so often in his music. These extreme highs of narcissism, arrogance, and braggadocio are a byproduct of his disorder that contrast with the eccentric lows that we also see Kanye inhabit so often. With moans of “I FEEL FREEEEEE”, Kanye tells us what he feels like when his disorder brings him to a place of extreme euphoria that truly only he can understand. Ye closes on more of a somber tone in “Violent crimes”. The track describes Kanye’s shift in perspective on women and the respect and portrayal of women since he has had a daughter. The track spews emotional depth and a very gorgeous sentiment. “Father forgive me I’m scared of the karma. Cause now I see women as something to nurture not something to conquer”. I love the songs themes of growth and how it shows maturity in the life of Kanye beginning to implant itself into his psyche as he gets older. Ye is a specific and raw showcase of Kanye at a very specific place and time. It is Kayne at his most exposed. Ye shows us what Kanye thinks of Kayne, and Kanye’s take on the current events at the time of ye’s release. It shows us Kanye’s state of mind and how he views it, not how the media, the press, twitter, or even his fans viewed the series of events that led up to this release. For this reason and this reason only, ye might just be the most Kanye thing that Kanye has ever done.