Kanye West The Life Of Pablo #tlop Review: The Dream Of An Ultra Light Beam

Drizly
Written by:  Ziggiy

The Dream Of An Ultra Light Beam
How Kanye West’s Latest Opus Is A Testimony Of Faith

“At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” Yet Saul grew more and more influential and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.”

— Acts 9:20-22



Faith is a funny thing. It can be the inspiration for some of the greatest marvel’s known to mankind. It can also be the cause for some the worst atrocities committed in recorded history. Kanye West, the great grandson of slaves, perhaps may know and understand this hypocrisy in a more personal manner than any other mainstream hip hop artist. He has come to embrace his failures and limitations and use them as the fuel that motivates his greatest triumphs. Beginning with the determined vigor that was Jesus Walks, a Hip Hop sermon delivered as a fiery and passionate proclamation of belief; West has used his faith as both shield as well as sword. Protecting him from those who doubted him, while spearheading a career that is amongst the most influential that Hip Hop has ever known. Kanye West, or Yeezus as he has boastfully ordained himself, has remade Hip Hop is his own image several times, the Soul Samples and spoken word bravado of College Dropout and the somber, open-hearted display of raw emotion that is 808’s And Heartbreak, have given birth to a collective of 12 disciples, truth speakers who have taken his style and, like Gospel, have spread the message to the ears of millions. These disciples; Drake, Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Childish Gambino, J.Cole, ASAP Rocky, Vic Mensa, Sir Michael Rocks, Danny Swain, The Weeknd, Logic, and Chance The Rapper have all acknowledged Kanye as a driving force for their own creativity and artistry.

Having achieved an impressive amount of worldly renown, gifted with the excess of awards, acclaim, and what many would call America’s most dazzling example of glam and beauty for a wife; Where else could an artist as eccentric, as hypocritical, as prideful, and as resolute as Kanye West go?
He went back to Church.
The Life Of Pablo is a Gospel Concept Album. A spiritual journey of a man who REFUSES to be finished. Many have scrutinized Kanye’s new body of work, noting that is sounds messy, unfocused, with a myriad of inconclusive ideas and concepts. Kanye’s recent affirmation that the album is “unfinished” and only a partial phonic representation of his vision seem to confirm this very sentiment. I am, personally of the belief that no matter how many updates or DLC content that is added, this particular piece of art will remain incomplete. Just as the internal struggle, the Holy War that man battles within himself never truly concludes, nether will the feelings, goals, or directives that Kanye is attempting to mesh into this work. And just as well, because Kanye’s maniacal devotion to the central theme is an interesting and perhaps most importantly, enjoyable dissertation of the Seven Deadly Sins And The Four Last Things. Kanye’s testimony begins on the Aptly titled, Ultra Light Beam. A stirring and moving hymn complete with an amazing verse from Kanye’s newest anointed, Chance The Rapper, whose wit, resolve, and conviction are all on full display

“When they come for you, I will shield your name

I will field their questions, I will feel your pain

They don’t know, they don’t

They don’t know, they don’t know

Foot on the Devil’s neck ’til it drifted Pangaea

I’m moving all my family from Chatham to Zambia

Treat the demons just like Pam

I mean I fuck with your friends, but damn, Gina

I been this way since Arthur was anteater

Now they wanna hit me with the woo wap the bam

Tryna snap photos of familia

My daughter look just like Sia, you can’t see her

You can feel the lyrics, the spirit coming in braille

Tubman of the underground, come and follow the trail

I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell

I met Kanye West, I’m never going to fail

He said let’s do a good ass job with Chance three

I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy

Let’s make it so free and the bars so hard

That there ain’t one gosh darn part you can’t tweet

This is my part, nobody else speak

This is my part, nobody else speak

This little light of mine

Glory be to God, yeah

I’mma make sure that they go where they can’t go

If they don’t wanna ride I’mma still give them raincoats

Know what God said when he made the first rainbow

Just throw this at the end if I’m too late for the intro

Ugh, I’m just having fun with it

You know that a nigga was lost

I laugh in my head

Cause I bet that my ex looking back like a pillar of salt

Ugh, cause they’ll flip the script on your ass like Wesley and Spike

You cannot mess with the light

Look at lil Chano from 79th”

Father Stretch My Hands continues sonically from Ultra Light Beam , with a sample from Pastor T.L. Barrett’s Do Not Pass Me By, however lyrically, Kanye begins with one of his most radically misogynistic verses.

“Now if I fuck this model

And she just bleached her asshole

And I get bleach on my T-shirt

I’mma feel like an asshole”
Yes yes, the man who made Drunk And Hot Girls and once rapped that his WIFE was his favorite “Bitch” just rapped those lyrics, and probably took several takes to get it right amidst his own laughter. These words however are connected to a larger narrative theme
‘We was down in Tribeca

She get under your skin if you let her

She get under your skin if you-uh

I don’t even want to talk about it

I don’t even want to talk about it

I don’t even want to say nothing

Everybody gon’ say something

I’d be worried if they said nothing

Remind me where I know you from?

She looking like she owe you some

You know just what we want

I want to wake up with you in my eyes”

So here we have a Kanye begging for liberation while simultaneously falling into lustful temptation. The joys of a woman’s body for sexual gratification, a craving that of course is wildly cited as one of the aforementioned sins. All of this pomp and excess bleeds over into part two, where Futu- oh I’m sorry, Desiigner croons about the “broads in Atlanta, with the black X6 and White X6”. The interplay between grandiose sexual appetite for women and Divine meekness before the most High, is present through out the entirety of the album. Even going so far as to intermix with another deadly sin, Pride. As Kanye, with rather nice assistance from Rhianna, flippantly and irreverently raps on Famous
For all my Southside niggas that know me best

I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex

Why? I made that bitch famous

God damn

I made that bitch famous

For all the girls that got dick from Kanye West

If you see ’em in the streets give ’em Kanye’s bests

Why? They mad they ain’t famous

God damn

They mad they’re still nameless

(Talk that talk man)

Her man in the store tryna try his best

But he just can’t seem to get Kanye fresh

But we still hood famous

God damn

Yeah we still hood famous
Kanye, for all of his glory, MUST take responsibility for the success of others, and also demand that they pay the “proper” price. Taylor Swift of course being more than a woman who has been a source of much critique and demonization of the Church Of Yeezus, but also represents White America’s fear and loathing of Black outspoken-ness. This form of Pride and Gluttony reaches its apex at I Love Kanye, an acapella interlude that tethers between tongue in cheek self deprecation and dismissive self reinforcement. Waves is an angelic sounding wonderland of allure that, truly WOULD have been missed had Chance The Rapper reportedly not fought tooth and nail to keep it on the final tracklisting. Chris Brown sings with a joy and purpose that seems to come straight from his soul. Meanwhile, Kanye sings a telling verse that seems to tie into the Waves of one memories and how loss does not necessarily exorcise emotion.

“Sun don’t shine in the shade (turn it up!)

Bird can’t fly in a cage (turn it up!)

Even when somebody go away (turn it up!)

The feelings don’t really go away

That’s just the wave (yeah)”

Whether this could be construed as an honest reflection of his complicated emotions regarding his ex Amber Rose, or an abstract assessment of human relationships in general, should be left to the whims of the listener. What certainly cannot be up for debate are the intensely personal and mournful musings found in FML, Real Friends, and Wolves. The loneliness, exile, and paranoia on display in this trifecta of songs is at once sorrowful and telling. A man who has it all, A King amongst men, cannot connect with the family he left behind. What greater loss than that of kin? And at what price can the connection be reforged? Two Hundred Thousand Dollars for a stolen laptop? A brief showing at a reunion? Betrayal mixed with the guilt that one feels at having been the cause of such familial bickering brings Kanye to the lowest point, one which his apathy towards his kin, his sloth, brings him to the depths of a personal hell. A Hell where his wife and children are best by the Wolves of his own making. Frank Ocean appears at the very end, singing the transformation of these beasts who now stand in Judgement of Kanye’s Soul

“The rings all ring out

Burn out, cave in

Blackened to dark out

I’m mixed now, fleshed out

There’s light with no heat

We cooled out, it’s cool out

Life is precious

We found out, we found out

We found out”

Possible redemption comes in the form of The Silver Surfer Intermission, where an incarcerated Max B now serves as the Angel who counters the Wolves in judgement of Kanye’s soul. It is important to note that this is the only person on the album who is speaking positively of Kanye as a human being. Not a mentor or an Apostle like figure, but as a man who has EARNED the right to live his life as he sees fit; to be Wavy. As Lupe Fiasco once said, in life you will have your good with your bad, your food with your liquor. Personal loss and failure is to be expected with public success and triumph.

“Just checking in on you

Appreciate the love and support

The wave is here

You a wavey dude anyway, so you already know

Ain’t no problem, man, the game…

You already know how this game thing goes

Do your wave nigga

You got the official wave man

Just, just doing you…

Doing you, doing your wave

And keep it loopy, I know you’re going to keep it loopy man

Shoutout, just shout you out

Hollering at you man, it’s all love

I appreciate the… the energy”

Reinvigorated by Max’s words of encouragement, and rededicated to his purpose as an Apostle of The Holy Spirit, Kanye looks the Devil straight in his eye and begins to give a sermon. With 30 hours, a sharp, impassioned Yeezus talks shit, brags, reminisces, and recommits to being the hypocrite, the genius, and the artist that he was meant to be.

“I remember rapping for Jay and Cam

Young producer just trying to get his flows off

I remember being nervous to do Victoria Secret

Til I pictured everybody with they clothes off

Expedition was Eddie Bauer edition

I’m driving with no winter tires in December

Skrrt skrrt skrrt like a private school for women

Then I get there and all the Popeye’s is finished girl

You don’t love me, you just pretending

I need that happy beginning, middle and ending

Chicago, St. Louis, St. Louis to Chicago

It’s getting hot in here that’s all that I know

Got a hotel room, 3 stars for you

You call down for an omelet

Girl it’s 5 in the morning

You realize we at the DoubleTree, not the Aria

Only thing open is Waffle House, girl don’t start with me

I used the Western Union for you like it’s no prob

Cause you was in college complaining about it’s no jobs

But you were s**king a ni**a’s d**k the whole time

Well I guess a blowjob’s better than no job”

And now, back by popular demand, we have No More Parties In LA! Kanye, after his expulsion to Hell and rejection of the Devil, or rather his rejection of what the Devil is represents as the evils of his own soul. Returns to a world over run with celebrity worship and a lifestyle based upon fake opulence. Joined by Kendrick Lamar, a fellow leader of rap’s new school and having recently returned from his own spiritual journey of enlightenment, the pair takes on bougie women, Instagram models, greedy managers, and their own sinful longings and desires. Kanye openly embraces all of the good and bad things about his personality, finding peace within himself, and through that peace begins to forgive his family for their part in the familial estrangement

“feel like Pablo when I’m workin’ on my shoes

I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news

I feel like Pablo when I’m workin’ on my house

Tell ’em party’s in here, we don’t need to go out

We need the turbo thots, high speed, turbo thots

Drop-dro-dro-dro-drop it like Robocop

She brace herself and hold my stomach, good dick’ll do that

She keep pushin’ me back, good dick’ll do that

She push me back when the dick go too deep

This good dick’ll put your ass to sleep

Get money, money, money, money

Big, big money, money, money, money

And as far as real friends, tell my cousins I love ’em

Even the one that stole the laptop, you dirty motherfucker”

Yeezus, back to his full confidence and usual braggadocio, goes EXTRA hard on Facts, where he outlines all of his success, in Kanye like detail and Kanye like fashion. Nobody is going to upstage Hip Hop’s Number 1 Apostle, not even one of the largest show apparel companies in the world

“Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy, I feel so accomplished

I done talked a lot of shit but I just did the numbers

Herzog and Adidas, man you know they love it

If Nike ain’t have Drizzy, man they wouldn’t have nothin’, woo!

If Nike ain’t have Don C, man they wouldn’t have nothin’, ooh!

But I’m all for the family, tell ’em, “Get your money”

Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy, they line up for days

Nike out here bad, they can’t give shit away

I stuck to my roots, I’m like Jimmy Fallon

I ain’t dropped the album but the shoes went platinum (Woo!)

Every time I talk they say I’m too aggressive

I was out here spazzin’, all y’all get the message?

On the field I’m over-reckless, on my Odell Beckham

2020, I’ma run the whole election, yah!

I’ve been trending years, y’all a couple days

Yeezy in the house and we just got appraised

Nike, Nike treat employees just like slaves

Gave LeBron a billi’ not to run away (Yo!)

10 thousand dollar fur for Nori, I just copped it (Yo!)

Your baby daddy won’t even take your daughter shoppin’ (Yo!)

I done wore designers I won’t wear again

Make ’em niggas famous, they get arrogant “

Because for Yeezus, with the power of God in his heart, he need not fear failure.
Leading us to the closing track Faded. After his tribulations, his dealings with his inner Wolves and the Devil inside of him, and his triumph over personal adversity. It is now time to be judged not by man, demon, or Lucifer. But by The Most High himself, The King Of Kings. This is the Last Judgement, this is the only trial that Kanye West truly fears. This is why the album will forever remain “unfinished”, because in the mind of a genius; no man can truly review or critique A Man’s relationship with God. All of our personal journey’s with God will remain “unfinished” until the day we kneel before him and the final knowledge of our worth is given to us. In this moment, Kanye can feel it all Fade, and standing naked before an entity that you will never completely grasp, but has total authority over your soul, is not something that we can readily accept, even if we believe it to be the Universe’s one and absolute truth.

 

It is only something that can be taken on Faith.

4.5/5

Author: FTESWL

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7 thoughts

  1. The best review I’ve heard yet. The whole album is a representation of the struggle we all face with good and evil. Temptation and lust but also faith and hope. Hope to become not only a better person but help those around us become better as well. GREAT REVIEW ZIGGIY

  2. This is an awesome review, I’m not even a West fan, and this has gotten me wanting to listen to the album and pick it apart myself.

  3. Very well done in depth review! I’m not exactly a fan of his, but this managed to get me intrigued to listen to it. Thanks!

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