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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

“Vultures” exceeds expectations, reminds people why Kanye is iconic

Kanye+West+delivers+a+performance+at+the+United+Center+in+Chicago+in+2013.+West+was+on+tour+for+one+of+his+past+albums%2C+Yeezus%2C+during+a+time+when+his+general+reception+by+the+public+was+more+positive+%28Courtesy+Zavala+via+Wikimedia+Commons%29.
Kanye West delivers a performance at the United Center in Chicago in 2013. West was on tour for one of his past albums, Yeezus, during a time when his general reception by the public was more positive (Courtesy Zavala via Wikimedia Commons).

On Saturday, Feb. 10, hip-hop sensation Kanye “Ye” West, collaborating with Ty Dolla $ign, dropped the long-anticipated “Vultures” album. The release came as a relief to lots of fans, who were worried of further delays when the album didn’t drop the day prior as expected, a habit not uncommon with Ye’s projects.

By and large the work is a hit, containing multiple tracks worth re-listening to and some that are outright amazing. The album is also a pleasant surprise to those who thought it would be a flop after listening to the questionable “Everybody” single that sampled the Backstreet Boys’ classic hit but was a lyrical mess. The song does not feature on the full album.

Even deeper than the release itself, many expected this album to weigh heavily on his future as an artist and celebrity, with Ye’s career hanging in the balance of his music’s quality. A poor job on the project could have spelt the demise of West, who has already faced a number of controversies over the years, especially recently for making a number of antisemitic remarks.

However, the drop seems more than anything like a repeat of the “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” release, in which Ye rolled out one of his most acclaimed works a year after a disruptive interruption at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards that saw him take a similar exile to the one he took in 2022. While thoughts on the man behind the music are contentious, “Vultures” as an album seems to be well received by most, and with good reason.

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The album is 15 songs and 52 minutes long, excluding the unfortunate removal of “GOOD (DON’T DIE)” on Spotify due to copyright issues with another song it sampled. It is also the first work produced under Ye’s own YZY label rather than Universal Music Group or Def Jam Recordings as in the past.

Thematically, the piece is a little all over the place, with some songs being very surface level. Others, though, touch on his relationships with his new wife as well as his tension in the media, a topic he has rapped about all across his discography.

Kicking things off, “STARS” starts the album strong. A mellow, almost angelic beat with calm vocals from Ye and Ty leave a strong initial impression. With its length being just under two minutes, first-time listeners are left optimistic of what may come next.

“KEYS TO MY LIFE” follows suit, not quite leaving a memorable impact but still holds up musically and does well reflecting on Ye’s desire to embrace moving on with his new wife, Bianca Censori, and perhaps even have another child.

Then comes the first let down of the album, “PAID,” which Ty carries narratively and vocally despite a repetitive chorus and below average rapping from Ye. Most albums aren’t perfect, and this is the first skip on “Vultures.”

Rebounding from this low comes “TALKING,” which features Ye’s daughter, North West. While the first half of this song features another repetitive chorus and a somewhat uninspiring, though catchy, verse from North (expectations of course being managed as she is only ten), the second half is harmoniously perfect, with another heavenly beat and stunning singing from both Ty and Ye. Minor nitpicks aside, the song is one of the better listens and deserves play time.

Of course, it isn’t a Ye album without a hilariously bizarre lyric or two. “BACK TO ME,” which further shows off Ty’s astounding vocal talent and even contains a solid verse from the featured Freddie Gibbs, also involves Ye repeating a very “unique” lyric that certainly has his name written all over it. The audience can decide if they rock with the bar, but Ye’s antics no doubt adds a distinctive aspect to this well-made piece.

More satisfactory tracks include “Hoodrat,” “Do it,” “Problematic,” “Vultures” and “F-k Sum.” All of these are worth the rewind, with a deserving mention of Travis Scott and Playboi Carti’s features on the latter of the list, though are also not so life-altering to warrant additional praise. Still, they are very respectable in their own right and are points to boast about on the album.

On the other hand, songs that need little if any exploring include “PAPERWORK,” “BEG FORGIVENESS,” and “KING,” which all could have stayed in the studio.

Lastly are two songs that nobody should deprive themselves of experiencing. These supreme, top of the line tracks are as follows:

“BURN” is a sensational piece that is heavily reminiscent of Ye’s older music, with some straight-from-the-go flow that Ye chopped up a magnificent beat for. Fans of his older music that miss the old Kanye simply have to listen to this instant classic that still feels underrated despite being one of the best parts of the release.

“CARNIVAL,” too, stands out as the highlight of the album. It originally sampled Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” before re-releasing to instead sample “Hell of a Life,” another Ye song, when Ozzy Osbourne personally called out West for not getting his permission to use “Iron Man.”

This change actually worked in favor of the new release, which arguably sounds better than before and gained the track popularity for the incident, cementing Ye’s almost magical ability to work his dilemas to his favor. “CARNIVAL” is undoubtedly the peak of the album, with a catchy chorus and rhythm that nobody can get out of their head, and is the song that defines “Vultures.”

Overall, “Vultures” reminds listeners both of why they still revere Ye’s musical prowess and why the artist can’t escape the public eye. Combined with his rogue, discourse-stirring persona that often lands him in the media’s crosshairs, the almost unmatched quality of his music over his now 20 year career as a rapper makes it impossible to ignore the monumental legacy Ye has left on the industry forever.

While it certainly isn’t his magnum opus,“Vultures” still suffices as an above average album that shows how Ye hasn’t yet lost his touch and is bound to remain a lingering presence in music and media, for better or worse.

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Brady MacBride, Staff Writer
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