Calkie Fisseha

Courtesy of Consequence of Sound

So Help Me God, Swish, Waves, and now The Life of Pablo. Regardless of what Pablo or Paul he‰’s referring to, I‰’m here for it. It‰’s important to understand that what Kanye does is above rap. He makes art. Sure, every musician is an artist in their own right, but Ye surpasses the point that most people stop at.

After all Ye put us through, it‰’s comforting to know that it was worth it. The Life of Pablo, is graced with out of this world production, features that are groomed to perfection, and tons of attention to detail. Although this record sounds more like a mixtape than an album, it’s still executed very well. The Life of Pablo feels like a work in progress only because it is Ye and we expect so much from him. I think the record is a taste of how much music has changed since Yeezus. Shout out to everyone who contributed to this album, because y‰’all really delivered.

Here‰’s a track by track review of The Life of Pablo, I hope you see as much beauty in it as I do.

Ultralight Beam

Kanye wasn‰’t lying when he said TLOP would be a gospel album, and this track is the embodiment of that. It‰’s fitting that I first heard this song on a Sunday morning because it took me straight to church. Kanye is gentle and pretty much the opposite of everything he has been portraying on Twitter lately. Then The-Dream, Kelly Price, and Kirk Franklin come in and they PREACH. Chance the Rapper keeps the mellow, yet emotional tempo of the track, blending in perfectly but proving himself at the same time. As corny as it sounds, put on this track when you‰’re feeling defeated and you‰’ll be reminded that there is an ultralight beam that keeps shining down.

Father Stretch My Hands, Pt.1

The church theme continues with an intro from Chicago Pastor T.L. Barrett. It slides into slowed down version of producer Metro Boomin‰’s tagline, delivered by Future. Oddly enough, that is one of my favorite parts of the song because it sets the mood for the rest of the track. Kid Cudi delivers a CATCHY hook. The Kanye comes in and talks about models and assholes, but it‰’s lyrically intricate. Keep in mind that this song is backed by a gospel choir and tight beat, which adds to the joyfulness and “turnup-ability‰” of the track. You‰’ll catch yourself repeating Cudi like, “You‰’re the sun in my morning babe‰” or yelling “I JUST WANNA FEEL LIBERATED, I, I, I‰” like Ye. This is by far one of my favorite tracks off TLOP.

Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 2

Ye pays homage to his dad on this one and talks about his car accident that brought us “Through the Wire,‰” so the intensity is much more than in Pt. 1. Then Desiigner, a rapper who sounds a lot like Future, comes in a delivers two verses, sampled from his song, “Panda‰Û. After I found out it wasn‰’t Future Hendrix, I was pretty hurt. But, it‰’s still one of the most lit tracks on the record.


It starts off with Rih Rih‰’s sultry rendition of Nina Simone, and Kanye continues with a pretty controversial lyric about Taylor Swift (no comment) then it takes off. Swizz Beats‰’ iconic “god damn‰” and “woo!‰” give the track a lovable familiarity. Then Sister Nancy‰’s “Bam Bam‰” comes in with the reggae and takes this track even higher. Simone‰’s original song is sampled at the end and leads you to a nice place. Picture long connecting flights, and you have finally reached your destination. This song is kind of hard to explain so I strongly suggest you listen to it to get the full effect.


The production in this track stands out to me because they literally remix microphone feedback (or it, at least, sounds like it). If that isn‰’t fresh, I don‰’t know what is. This song is pretty much an ode to the come up. Kanye even manages to mention Pablo Escobar and the “hands up, don‰’t shoot‰” movement within 4 lines. He calls himself the “ghetto Oprah‰” and mimics her Christmas giveaways with “You get a fur! You get a jet! You get a jet! Big booty bitch for you! WOOOOOO!‰” That‰’s the Ye we know and love.

Low Light

According to Rap Genius, this is pretty much a take on the bible verse Romans 8:38-39 over a beat. A woman talks about her love of God and all the good he has done for her. Kanye really is taking us to church.


Oooooo this is a fresh one. Yung Thug and Kanye remind the world “that I only want my whole life to be highlights‰Û. That‰’s deep. If you know me, you know I am obsessed with the glo up, so this will be the song played at my glo up unveiling party. My favorite part is when Ye starts to go hard on “walkin‰’, livin‰’, breathin‰’, girl you know my past well‰Û. At that moment, the beat turns COLD. There is no way you can listen to that without bumping along. The-Dream comes in at the end and preaches to the choir. That man’s got a SMOOOOTHHHH voice.

Freestyle 4

This one is weird. I think it‰’s essentially one of those that Kanye made just to make. It‰’s like when I post a random animal picture on Instagram with a cryptic caption and get 32 likes. It has a “Monster‰” type of vibe to it, I guess that‰’s the best way to explain it. Then the Future impersonator comes in at the end. I personally think it‰’s one of the lower points on the record.

I Love Kanye

I actually plan on making a remix to this one. He ends every line with his own name, which is the dopest thing you can do. Ye has evolved and we have to stop comparing him to the person he was 12 years ago, in the College Dropout era. We are meant to evolve, that‰’s life. Remember, “I love you like Kanye loves Kanye.”


Thank you, Chance. Kanye always makes the best come out of his features, and Chris Brown ain‰’t no different. I swear Breezy is always in the lab, I wonder if he even sleeps. Ye only has two verses, so this is a much more mellow track, with a focus on the hook and production. I‰’m upset thinking about the fact this song would have remained in the studio collecting dust.


This track is about Kanye maintaining self-control and staying true to his boo regardless of the circumstances. That being said, I can‰’t really relate to it, but the message is familiar. At this point in time, anything The Weeknd sings the hook on is a certified hit. “FML‰” follows suit. Without Abel on the hook, it probably wouldn‰’t pull as much emotional weight as it does. The outro is a defining moment in the song when Kanye gets emotional and offers a repetitive, yet haunting few lines that stick with the listener.

Real Friends

As the first G.O.O.D. Fridays release of the year, I thought I would be tired of it by the time the album came out. I was wrong. This song will always have a place in my heart because of how relatable it is. Sure, my cousin didn‰’t steal my laptop and make me pay a quarter million for it, but I am familiar with the emotions he raps about. What sticks out to me the most is Ty Dolla $ign. I am always underestimating him and I don‰’t even know why. This song finally made me come to my senses. It‰’s a beautiful harmony between the two artists.


What do you mean I waited a year for this song and it came out completely different than before? I was insanely pissed off (and still am) that Sia and Vic Mensa weren‰’t on the final cut. It was beautifully haunting and would have sounded great with the rest of the album. Don‰’t get me wrong, I still like it, but it wasn‰’t as powerful and deep as I expected. How dare Frank Ocean come out of hiding without an album? At this point, I‰’m hoping there will be a deluxe version of the album just to hear what I waited so long for.

Silver Surfer Intermission

Even the Silver Surfer reminds us that Yeezy is a wavy dude, through the Twitter beef and all….

30 Hours

This is another one of my favorites. I did some research and found out it comes from Ye driving back and forth from Chicago to LA (a 30-hour trip… one way) to see his ex when he was just starting out. He had an open relationship with her but jealousy ended up being the downfall of their relationship. The beat is tough and the message makes you think, what more could we want? Andre 3000 is also featured on the track but is barely audible. Sadly enough, I wasn‰’t even surprised because 3 Stacks tends to do things like this all the time. As a whole, though, the song is very dope.

No More Parties in LA

Another G.O.O.D. Fridays release, but I can‰’t say if I like this or “Real Friends‰” more. When the song dropped, it reconfirmed that Yeezy season was approaching. Of course, Kendrick brought his A game, but it complimented Ye‰’s style perfectly. Ye showed that even at 38, he can still do the quick-fire rhymes that are usually reserved for the younger rappers. Of course, the Ghostface sample keeps the energy high through the track. I‰’m happy I got to see a Madlib-Kanye track in my lifetime. Once again, Kanye‰’s cousin is really wild and I hope none of my family members ever snakes me like that.

Facts (Charlie Heat Version)

When the original cut was released on New Year‰’s Eve, I was afraid that Ye had gone bland. I really wish I hadn‰’t heard the previous one because for the first time in my life I doubted Yeezus. I was honestly afraid that he was as washed up as everyone was saying he is. The Charlie Heat produced version is soooooo much better. The track is an attack on Nike, but I didn‰’t have money to buy Red Octobers and still don‰’t have the money to buy Yeezy Boosts, so it doesn‰’t really affect me.


STRAIGHT HEAT! The samples work perfectly with Ty Dolla $ign‰’s silky smooth vocals, Kanye‰’s short verse, and Post Malone‰’s powerful hybrid between rap and song. Post comes THRUUUUUU, the boy has pipes. Of course, the choir makes an appearance at the end because it‰’s a Sunday and they‰’re preaching to ya. The end has a disco-y feel to it and makes you want to do a shoulder bounce and replay the song because it is so good.

Final Verdict: Just like any other album, there are high and low points in The Life of Pablo, but rest assured that the highs outweigh the lows. I think the order of the tracks could have been more cohesive, but it‰’s still great. Kanye has done it again… ladies and gentlemen, Yeezy Season is in full effect.

Top Picks: Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1, Famous, Highlights, 30 Hours, Fade