Kanye West "808s & Heartbreak" Album Review
808s & Heartbreak
When Mr. West first arrived on the rap scene as a rapper in 2004 he brought to the game a fresh style, innovative production, creative collaborations, an intriguing real persona; he was ultimately the most original rapper in a decade. West once was the first to explore self-consciousness and materialism on the main stage (see "All Falls Down"), which is unheard of in an industry that promotes egotistical homophobes and glorified violence, now on 808's it's clear that his ego has grown so large he is no longer able to look in the mirror and see what the American pop music cesspool has transformed him into.
Hip-hop in the past decade has been raped and manipulated by business savvy men from the suburbs, transformed from honest narratives about urban lifestyle and struggle into a marketable materialized brand that has big business' profiting; 808's epitomizes that. Kanye West is currently the saddest hip-hop story since Biggie or Pac. While listening to 808's it occurred to me that if West had released the album as a satire, 808's would be one of the most innovative albums in music history, sadly he's completely serious. West transcends cliché by constructing not just a break up song, but a whole album of them. Personally I have no beef with rappers discussing love, break-ups, etcetera but Kanye doesn't say a single insightful thing about his love, (making me wonder if he has any) he merely drones on about how miserable his life is.
Heart Break Deeper
Life could be worse, he could be poor, but don't tell him that. Kanye accomplishes as much as Britney Spears without sex appeal. West's lyrics are abominably unbearable "I got the right to put up a fight but not quite 'cause you cut off my light but my sight is better tonight and I might see you in my nightmare." And that's as creative as it gets. Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne offer up less than inspiring performances, but easily out shine West. The most aggravating aspect of Kanye's album is how it's marketed. 808's is not rap, hip-hop or anything remotely close. 808's is bonafide pop trash.
West, even more so than most pop music fixtures, he's in a unique opportunity to saying something insightful and despite showing signs of greatness in his earlier work he ceases to take advantage. West's productions would've been an interesting exploration, but West chooses to vomit on the tracks with auto-tune. Kanye's metamorphosis over the preceding three albums had us all excited. He was incorporating instrumentation foreign to mainstream production and collaborating with some unlikely characters, now he has regressed beyond his first album and fallen into the abyss of meritocracy. Let's hope his work The Blueprint 3 will be his resurrection.
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