Love him or hate him, Kanye West understands culture. He understands that in order to shift culture and veer public minds into futuristic thinking, you must take risks. He understands that if you want to connect with the youth, you need to use the youth; learn from the youth.
These last two months have been intriguing as we have watched him make his return to music with four very different sonic offerings – First it was the stripped back, melodic, and heart-wrenching Only One featuring an emotional Kanye singing, with Sir Paul McCartney on the keys.
He followed that with another McCartney assisted track, FourFiveSeconds, this time adding Rihanna’s fiery vocals to juxtapose the simplicity of the folk-infused instrumental.
Two weeks ago during his Adidas x Yeezy Show at NYFW we got the first taste of Wolves, an eerie track reminiscent of the sound and mood he set with 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak. Wolves features Australia’s Sia, queen of gritty, soulful pop and truly a force in the current climate of culture. 21 year old up-and-comer, Vic Mensa (of Chicago) also lends vocals to the track much to the surprise and delight of the music world – As a young artist still on the cusp of mainstream recognition, being featured on a Kanye track is HUGE, and with this collaboration Vic Mensa became a household name nearly overnight. (That #Kanye #Effect)
Finally, earlier today Kanye blew our minds by premiering the brash and vicious All Day at The Brit Awards. Produced by French Montanna and Velose, and with a similar sound to bangers, Don’t Like or N*ggas In Paris, this song is dynamic and energetic; arrogant and offensive. Joined onstage by a huge mob clad in all black (including some Gods of the UK Grime scene – which Kanye cites as a huge influence on his latest work – Skepta, Novelist, Jammer, Stormzy), two epic fire-throwers, Brooklyn singing-rapper and close associate of Ye, Theophilus London, and most amazingly, 20 year old Allan Kingdom from ST. Paul, Minnesota.
Allan Kingdom has been cooking up some magic in the last two years, both on his own and with his collective thestand4rd (Him + Bobby Raps, Psymun, and Spooky Black), but no one could have predicted this unorthodox collab was coming. Allan is creative in a playful way and seems to effortlessly dance from singing to rapping like it is second nature.
Kanye truly sees art in an inclusive and innovative way and its moves like this which make me riveted to see what he will do next.
DROP THE ALBUM YE.