‘The Life of Pablo’ is both moving and provocative

Rapper Kanye West released a new album early this morning following his performances on Saturday Night Live. In this highly anticipated album, Kanye raps about everything from having sex with Kim Kardashian, in “30 Hours”, to bashing Taylor Swift in 2009 with “Famous”. He created a well-balanced album, using religious audio clips and gospel background singing. This creates a good sense of flow between each of the well-executed tracks on the album. The 17 tracks go back and forth from Christian texts to talking about sex with his wife and making cracks at Bill Cosby. Even though this sounds like a horrible combination, Kanye makes it work in what is arguably his best album since his 2010, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

One of the more moving tracks in this album is split into two parts, Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 and Pt. 2. The two parts are about Kanye’s upbringing and a tribute to his father. Kanye said that while writing the song he cried. We can see why with lines like, “Up in the morning/miss you bad/sorry that I ain’t call you back/the same problems my father had.” He then goes on to talk about how becoming famous drove a wedge between his family and him with these lines, “Momma pass in Hollywood/If you ask, lost my soul/Driving fast, lost control/Off the road, jaw was broke/'Member we all was broke/'Member I'm coming back/I'll be taking all the stacks”. I believe that this song is also a reference to the church hymn, “Father, I Stretch My Hands to Thee”, due to the hymn-like nature of some of his tracks.

The album flows into a much different message in the next track “Famous”. Kanye collaborated with Rihanna to take a shot at Taylor Swift by rapping, “I feel like me and Taylor Swift might still have sex, I made that b-tch famous.” Swift has already called out Kanye. Kayne spoke about the controversy behind the lyric to reports saying that he spoke on the phone with Swift about the lyric and she said she was fine with it. Swift has also stated that she didn’t know that the line was going to be as much of an attack as it felt.

Track five, “Feedback” is a play on the name. The song is about how much Kayne loves Kanye. This is the funny song of the album and the outro of the track sums the rest of the song up well. “Hold on, hold on, hold on/Wait a second, everybody here, I'm the ghetto Oprah/You know what that mean? You get a fur! You get a fur!/You get a jet! You get a jet!”

Track 15 is a great summary of American pop culture in 2015. Opening to an excerpt from a track by “Father’s Children” the song flows straight into taking shots at Nike by saying, “If Nike ain't have Drizzy, man they wouldn't have nothin', woo!/… Nike, Nike treat employees just like slaves/Gave LeBron a billi' not to run away.” Kayne raps (no pun intended) up the song by rapping about Bill Cosby and Steve Harvey, “Do anybody feel bad for Bill Cosby?/Did he forget the names just like Steve Harvey?”

The album is exclusively on Tidal to stream for now and will be hopefully in stores next week.