Kanye West releases intimate new album “Ye”

After a tumultuous year of negative press, politically driven rants and erratic behavior, Kanye West has released his most emotionally revealing album to date.

West has been on and off medication, voicing his support for America’s most controversial president and experiencing a downward spiral that only Kanye West could make look so glamorous. 2018 has not been kind to the self-proclaimed “godlike” rapper, but he’s back to reclaim his throne.

Released on June 1, 2018, “Ye” is a seven track album filled with gospel samples interwoven with a narrative on the mental health stigma Kanye has experienced since he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at age 39. The album details the struggles he and his family have gone through as he battles mental illness and an opioid addiction.

The rapper refers to bipolar disorder as a super-power on the track “Yikes.” This line has received a mixed response. Some fans feel West is finally owning his struggle with mental illness in a positive way, while others feel the line glamorizes the struggles of being bipolar.

Several tracks on the album show the highs and lows he has experienced since being diagnosed. Specifically, “I Thought About Killing You” provides an eerie spoken word format in which West gives listeners insight into the darkest parts of his mind.

Although many fans suspected that West’s album would focus on politics, it makes very few political references. Rumor has it that he originally featured much more controversial lyrics, but scrapped them after receiving so much backlash for his political views.

In April of this year, West vocalized his support for President Donald Trump after going on several Twitter and interview rants that many deemed both racist and ill-informed. The rapper later maintained his support for Trump, but acknowledged that most of his rants were a result of being poorly medicated.

Many fans worried that Kanye’s style would change along with his public persona. However, “Ye” features tracks that remind fans of his 2013 album, “Yeezus.” The songs are darker and showcase more depth than his 2017 album “Life of Pablo.”

Instead of politics, West focuses on his family life in tracks like “Violent Crimes” where he raps about the fears he has as his daughter gets older and “Wouldn’t Leave,” in which he apologizes to his wife, Kim Kardashian, for everything he’s put her through this past year.

Standouts from “Ye” include “All Mine,” an uptempo track featuring Ant Clemmons and “Yikes,” an aggressive tribute to West’s mental state. The short album offers very little room for error, but each song packs its own unique punch.

The album was written and produced by West and his team in Wyoming in order to escape the influences of Los Angeles.

In addition to his own album, Kanye recently collaborated on Kid Cudi’s new album, “Kids See Ghosts,” along with the track “Freeee.” The track offers a companion to the “Ye” track, “Ghost town.” The pair of songs focus on the rappers trying to free themselves of negative influences and return to the music industry.

While “Ye” keeps things short and sweet with only seven tracks, it maintains West’s powerful reputation. Although public response has been hit or miss, all seven songs landed spots on the Hot 100 Billboard Charts.

Rating: 4/5 stars