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The Unpredictable Life of Kanye West

Paul carbonella

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By now, the self-proclaimed “Louis Vuitton Don” is in full Kanye-mode. His resumed beef with Taylor Swift, coupled with his admittance of a significant personal debt (and a few Twitter rants in between), have culminated into his most confusing album release rollout thus far. First, it was supposed to be released on the same date as his Yeezy Season 3 fashion show.  Then, Kanye himself said it will “never be for sale.” Finally, it was to be released on Feb. 14, but exclusively on Tidal. By then, The Life of Pablo had already been illegally downloaded and torrented over 500,000 times, making it the most pirated record of the year. At the same time, a leaked folder of unreleased cuts from the record began making rounds on sites like kanyetothe.com, revealing several versions of the songs, including “Wolves” with Vic Mensa and Sia, a non-acapella version of “I Love Kanye,” and others. Some fans on communities like Reddit’s r/hiphopheads were even putting together their own alternative track listings. On The Life of Pablo, whether intentional or not, has become a living document.

Kanye West (AP photo)

Kanye West (AP photo)

So much of the record is about deciding what type of person to be—from the diverse sounds which recount the several phases of West’s career, from the struggles with Christian faith throughout the album, and the self-deprecating “I Love Kanye:” “I miss the old Kanye/ Chop up the soul Kanye…I hate the new Kanye/ The bad mood Kanye.” They all deal with a personal sense of identity. Who is Pablo anyway? Pablo Escobar? Pablo Picasso? Paul the Apostle?

In a sense, West’s assertion that The Life of Pablo will “never be for sale” is fitting for this theme. If the record is truly a chronicle of the phases of his personal and professional lives, then it could never truly be finished. Even the days following up to the release were well-crafted and calculated to coerce his audience into thinking the record was somehow haphazardly put together—it went through four name changes, from So Help Me God, to SWISH, to WAVES, until finally The Life of Pablo was chosen. Similar to West’s own public persona, his process is often impossible to predict or understand. His intentions are always ambiguous, as it’s unclear whether he’s purposely trying to confuse his audience or if his life is really just that chaotic.

In his latest Twitter tirade, West said, “I’m not crazy, I’m free.” And whether he’s obnoxious or not, his public persona coupled with his art are representations of a truly free person.  Free from expectation, free from public opinion. “I’m free, I’m free, I’m free.”

Apparently, many tracks were held back from this record for his next release, supposedly titled “Turbo Grafx 16” (we’ll believe it when we see it), coming out this summer. For now, love him or hate him, we should relish in the shamelessly unpredictable Life of Kanye, and see what he does next.

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The Student News Source of the University of New Haven
The Unpredictable Life of Kanye West