The Life of Pablo comes out today. Or does it?
I've never really been a huge Kanye West fan, but I'm a follower of his persona. I'm very familiar with his music as well. Many who simply hear his extremely conceited words often write him off as an idiot, which he very well may be. Others call him a skilled artist. He thinks of himself as Picasso or Walt Disney. But what is he really?
I've always been conflicted with the character of Kanye West. He's certainly a person of interest; I often find myself referring to him as the "Trump of the rap world" due to his bold claims and intense self-interest. His music is good, he is a skilled musician. Kanye is also a very good marketer and business man. The man has influenced fashion in a huge way. It's impossible to say that Kanye West has zero redeeming qualities.
Now to this whole TLOP thing. What is going on?
THE STROKE OF GENIUS
Kanye announced this album a while ago, calling it, So Help Me God. He then changed the name to Swish, then Waves. The name Waves caused quite the upset in the rap community, particularly with Wiz Khalifa. He claimed that Kanye stole the name from another artist, which caused one of the largest Twitter storms on record. You couldn't escape the headlines about the whole thing.
A few days later, Kanye announced Waves would have a different name, TLOP, but he asked his fans to guess the name first.
So not only did he change the name twice, but a third time, with every name change having a story attached to it. He eventually announced TLOP stood for, The Life of Pablo. Some believed he was a Narcos fan and the name was about Pablo Escobar. Others say he refers to Pablo Picasso. (He's referred to himself as Picasso once before)
Throughout all of this weirdness, the release date stayed firm on February 11, 2016.
It is now February 11, 11:00 pm EST time.
Earlier today Kanye claimed the album would still drop today, but he decided to add six more tracks, and he was mastering the album today. Seems like he's cutting it a little close, right?
Guess what? This whole thing seems so crazy, and here I am blogging about it. In fact, this whole album has been the most talked about thing in pop culture for a few weeks now. I wasn't even looking forward to the album, but with this whole story behind it, I'm eagerly anticipating it. But here's my questions: When will it come out and where? (Or will it?)
Instead of listening to it, we are talking about it, and the anticipation and conversation may even be more enjoyable than the album himself. Kanye has taken hold of the conversation, he once again sits on the throne of pop culture. Kanye is at the top of his game.
INDECISION AND FALL OF KANYE WEST
Kanye announced the release of his album So Help Me God for February 11, 2016. Later, he changed the name to Swish. Then after some deliberation, Waves became the new name of the album. Waves was a name announced two weeks before release.
As someone who knows almost nothing about the music business, I was baffled that he would change the name so close to release due to CDs needing to be pressed. This being Kanye West, for all I knew, he was going to release his album digital only. Seemed like he was cutting it pretty close, but I'm sure he could make it work.
The week of the release, he changed the name of the album again to TLOP, or The Life of Pablo. This time, the name change was really really close to the release. What is this album even about? What does So Help Me God, Swish, Waves, and The Life of Pablo have in common? Maybe I'm not enough of an artist to understand. Titles also don't necessarily have to do with the content, but maybe the context of the album instead. Who knows. It smells alot like a message has yet to be nailed down.
Today is February 11. While there have been no name changes, Kanye added six new tracks. Oh, and it is also being mastered today. That is insanity.
If it's being mastered today is it going to sound like garbage? Also, six new tracks? That's quite a few.
It's 11:19pm on February 11. The day is almost over. The album has finally dropped....on Pandora. Oh and the album artwork was released, and it looks like something made on the day it was due:
Kanye is a busy man. Kanye is rocking the fashion world. Has his music fallen? In a time where music isn't a money-making business for anyone but Taylor Swift and Adele, is the music industry not as deserving of Kanye's time?
Why didn't he just delay the album? The work hasn't been ready, and one could argue that it still isn't ready. But he's allegedly releasing it anyway. There's no way a CD is ready for release today since so many changes were made, and the digital version exists on Pandora at the moment. Does releasing it on Pandora count as it dropping today? Is that it? Will it not appear on the other streaming platforms yet or ever?
Process is great, but has Kanye shown us too much of it? Was he unprepared? It seems to me that the man got lost in his message and wasn't ready for a new release. Sometimes we need to incubate a little bit longer. Kanye has cracked. Kanye the musician seems to be on the decline.
What is Kanye? The lines are getting blurred more and more. An argument could be made that he's a genius, but it often looks more like foolishness. I think it's getting harder and harder to tell quite where he is headed. He's definitely not going to disappear anytime soon, and it will be interesting to see where he goes in the next few years.
*UPDATE* It got delayed for wide release until Feb 21, but is available only on Tidal. Crazy. Maybe we're leaning more in the indecisive/not ready direction over genius....hmmm