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The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

Written by the students of Fitch High School and trusted since 1928

The Falcon Press

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Kanye West Returns to Music After Years of Controversy with ‘Vultures’

Kanye+West+Returns+to+Music+After+Years+of+Controversy+with+%E2%80%98Vultures%E2%80%99

After years of turbulent controversy, Kanye West has made his comeback album with frequent collaborator and famed R&B singer Ty Dolla $ign. Fans are ecstatic, however can he really comeback after such controversy?

Kanye West, world renowned rap superstar and fashion designer, has been known for controversy throughout nearly his whole career, and would frequently return after such situations with bigger and better music than before. However, after divorcing his socialite wife Kim Kardashian following a seven-year marriage, things really seemed to be turning for the worse. When he faced a worsening mental health situation, West made many antisemitic remarks and statements which all culminated in him praising Hitler and the Nazis. After this incident, many fans were devastated and many wondered what could even happen next. 

Their questions and worries have been answered over the expectedly chaotic rollout for his new album “Vultures,” over which he went on more antisemitic rants before apologizing a few weeks later on Instagram for his behavior which all occurred within the span of December 2023.

Themes & Meaning:
For some additional context, Vultures is the thirteenth studio album released by West over his 20-year-long career in rap and his third collaboration album overall, this time working with acclaimed singer and longtime musical partner, Ty Dolla $ign. The album was released this past Saturday after multiple delays, and it was dropped on the 20th anniversary of the release of his very first studio album, “The College Dropout” back in 2004. It has been established that “Vultures” is actually the first in a three volume collection of albums, the latter of which will be coming later this spring (the other two albums being named “Vultures Vol. 2” and “Vultures Vol. 3” respectively). The 16-track project is much more in line with the rest of his discography, straying away from the seven to eight song formula he did for the critically acclaimed albums “ye” and “KIDS SEE GHOSTS” in 2018, focusing instead more heavily on having more tracks, rather than the “quality vs quantity” approach we saw with his 2018 works. Interestingly enough, the religious themes and undertones that were present in most of his post-2018 works were shockingly muted or absent entirely. Many examples of this can be present through the tracklist as many of the songs include sexual themes and profanity pretty prominently such as in “Back To Me” and “F**k Sumn” which is pretty stunning considering most of West’s recent discography post-2018 has been focused on religious messaging and more gospel inspired songs. So knowing this, the fact that these tracks were included on this project sends a strong message that the era of strong religious messages in his songs is now over which may be a pleasant surprise for many fans considering that many of his modern songs including Christian messaging or gospel have usually had lukewarm critical reception. While on the subject of theme, it should be mentioned that the record has strong themes about sexual messaging which isn’t new for West’s music although it did stick out to considering how many lyrics and songs are purely on that subject. Overall the theming of the album is definitely undercooked, there seems to be a semblance of what West was trying to go for but overall it feels very empty. The themes of the album need to be elaborated on as there is a thread of coherency for what the themes are throughout this record, but there needs to be a stronger connection between the themes and the songs themselves to reinforce what this record is all about.

Production & Instrumentation:

In terms of other important details, the production on the record seemed a bit forgettable. A good example of the production is the lead single, “Vultures”, which features a more trap/drill style beat with prominent electronic hit-hats which personally doesn’t appeal to me although the instrumentation on this trap beat was well mixed and put together and it was easy to listen to. The same can be said for many other songs on the record, such as “Do It” come to mind. Nothing remarkably unique or bad about these songs, they just so happen to fall in line with the others and don’t really stick out.  A lot of these tracks have a pretty prominent usage of bass and this seems to be the number one priority in terms of the production which personally I am not a fan of because a lot of the other aspects of production like the mixing of the vocals and how they blend together with the instrumentals seem to be forgotten somewhat. However, if we were to talk about tracks that I do think are better, than one of those songs would have to be “Paid”, a song with a prominent bubbly yet defiant beat coupled with the wavy synth like undertones make the instrumental sound smooth and even dream-like in a way. It’s very easy to listen and get into overall.  Another song I liked in terms of production was “Burn”, it had a nice, easy melody and it was very catchy and fun to listen to. It was very well produced and the R&B flow worked really well for this track in general and it had a good chord progression as well which kept me coming back for more. However despite this, a lot of the signature Kanye production is notably absent from this album and if Kanye wasn’t rapping on these songs, you couldn’t tell they were made by him at all which is a negative for me overall because this style lacks a lot of the soul and character that makes his music unique and recognizable. It’s still definitely there on some tracks although a lot of it feels somewhat muted and not fully expressive on a lot of tracks on the record. The production definitely tries a new experimental direction with heavy bass and more grand chorus-like samples but overall it felt rushed and the mixing is not as good as it could be all things considered. Overall, while the record does have some very well produced and catchy songs with good instrumentation, some songs on the record don’t really click with me in the same way others do, and I feel this is because West’s signature production on many songs are seemingly muted or absent altogether. 

 

Performance & Lyrics:

The performance for Kanye was pretty typical and what you would expect from a modern record. You shouldn’t be surprised to not hear anything too crazy or mind blowing in terms of the structure of the rhymes or the lyrics themselves. In fact, there were alot of boring or straight up bad performances on this record such as with the song “Hoodrat” which had a straight up annoying chorus that is barely listenable. Even still, there still are some good lyrical performances on this record. For instance, “Burn” has the best Kanye performance on this record in my opinion, his flow is very reminiscent of a classic Kanye verse and it is honestly really satisfying to hear this type of Kanye lyricism and performance again, and I honestly wish there was more of this kind of performance on the record in general. Other stand outs in terms of lyrics include “F**k Sumn” as I think the Kanye verse on this track is pretty stellar and “Talking (ft. North West)” which has the notable inclusion of Kanye’s daughter singing the main chorus by herself, which I thought was very fun, charming and upbeat. Also, you notice a lot more harmonic and melodic singing featured on the songs such as the lead single “Vultures”, probably due to the influence of Ty Dolla $ign as a collaborator on this album, which personally I don’t have an issue with, although it is a departure from most of Kanye’s discography, however his R&B influences are definitely a positive thing for this record. Overall, the lyrics and performance are pretty average, there are definitely standouts but it’s what you would expect from a modern West record.

 

Overall Opinion:

Overall, while the album has interesting concepts going on, they aren’t well fleshed out and the album really lacks a lot of soul and character which makes it not as enjoyable to listen to when compared to previous projects West has worked on. This album is promising if it marks the beginning of a new era for West, however the direction this “new era” will take us is shrouded in mystery. The performance and the lyricism were fine although the themes felt somewhat undercooked and as mentioned previously the lack of soul found in this project doesn’t really seem to pair well with what this project seems to strive for, or could be. I definitely enjoyed a lot of things on this record but some of the elements in terms of the production or lyricism weren’t really for me personally. All things considered it is an alright record, but it doesn’t match up to West’s previous works in my opinion. As a fan of West’s works, I can’t help myself from being somewhat disappointed at this project, and personally I would give this record a strong 6 to a decent 7 out of 10. Since it’s too early to tell, we can’t really judge what his legacy will be with this record dropping, however what we do know for sure is that Kanye West, whether for better or for worse, will be in the pop-culture zeitgeist for many years to come, so all we can really do is witness that legacy shaping in real time.

After years of turbulent controversy, Kanye West has made his comeback album with frequent collaborator and famed R&B singer Ty Dolla $ign. Fans are ecstatic, however can he really comeback after such controversy?

Kanye West, world renowned rap superstar and fashion designer, has been known for controversy throughout nearly his whole career, and would frequently return after such situations with bigger and better music than before. However, after divorcing his socialite wife Kim Kardashian following a seven-year marriage, things really seemed to be turning for the worse. When he faced a worsening mental health situation, West made many antisemitic remarks and statements which all culminated in him praising Hitler and the Nazis. After this incident, many fans were devastated and many wondered what could even happen next. 

 

Their questions and worries have been answered over the expectedly chaotic rollout for his new album “Vultures,” over which he went on more antisemitic rants before apologizing a few weeks later on Instagram for his behavior which all occurred within the span of December 2023.

Themes & Meaning:
For some additional context, Vultures is the thirteenth studio album released by West over his 20-year-long career in rap and his third collaboration album overall, this time working with acclaimed singer and longtime musical partner, Ty Dolla $ign. The album was released this past Saturday after multiple delays, and it was dropped on the 20th anniversary of the release of his very first studio album, “The College Dropout” back in 2004. It has been established that “Vultures” is actually the first in a three volume collection of albums, the latter of which will be coming later this spring (the other two albums being named “Vultures Vol. 2” and “Vultures Vol. 3” respectively). The 16-track project is much more in line with the rest of his discography, straying away from the seven to eight song formula he did for the critically acclaimed albums “ye” and “KIDS SEE GHOSTS” in 2018, focusing instead more heavily on having more tracks, rather than the “quality vs quantity” approach we saw with his 2018 works. Interestingly enough, the religious themes and undertones that were present in most of his post-2018 works were shockingly muted or absent entirely. Many examples of this can be present through the tracklist as many of the songs include sexual themes and profanity pretty prominently such as in “Back To Me” and “F**k Sumn” which is pretty stunning considering most of West’s recent discography post-2018 has been focused on religious messaging and more gospel inspired songs. So knowing this, the fact that these tracks were included on this project sends a strong message that the era of strong religious messages in his songs is now over which may be a pleasant surprise for many fans considering that many of his modern songs including Christian messaging or gospel have usually had lukewarm critical reception. While on the subject of theme, it should be mentioned that the record has strong themes about sexual messaging which isn’t new for West’s music although it did stick out to considering how many lyrics and songs are purely on that subject. Overall the theming of the album is definitely undercooked, there seems to be a semblance of what West was trying to go for but overall it feels very empty. The themes of the album need to be elaborated on as there is a thread of coherency for what the themes are throughout this record, but there needs to be a stronger connection between the themes and the songs themselves to reinforce what this record is all about.

Production & Instrumentation:
In terms of other important details, the production on the record seemed a bit forgettable. A good example of the production is the lead single, “Vultures”, which features a more trap/drill style beat with prominent electronic hit-hats which personally doesn’t appeal to me although the instrumentation on this trap beat was well mixed and put together and it was easy to listen to. The same can be said for many other songs on the record, such as “Do It” come to mind. Nothing remarkably unique or bad about these songs, they just so happen to fall in line with the others and don’t really stick out.  A lot of these tracks have a pretty prominent usage of bass and this seems to be the number one priority in terms of the production which personally I am not a fan of because a lot of the other aspects of production like the mixing of the vocals and how they blend together with the instrumentals seem to be forgotten somewhat. However, if we were to talk about tracks that I do think are better, than one of those songs would have to be “Paid”, a song with a prominent bubbly yet defiant beat coupled with the wavy synth like undertones make the instrumental sound smooth and even dream-like in a way. It’s very easy to listen and get into overall.  Another song I liked in terms of production was “Burn”, it had a nice, easy melody and it was very catchy and fun to listen to. It was very well produced and the R&B flow worked really well for this track in general and it had a good chord progression as well which kept me coming back for more. However despite this, a lot of the signature Kanye production is notably absent from this album and if Kanye wasn’t rapping on these songs, you couldn’t tell they were made by him at all which is a negative for me overall because this style lacks a lot of the soul and character that makes his music unique and recognizable. It’s still definitely there on some tracks although a lot of it feels somewhat muted and not fully expressive on a lot of tracks on the record. The production definitely tries a new experimental direction with heavy bass and more grand chorus-like samples but overall it felt rushed and the mixing is not as good as it could be all things considered. Overall, while the record does have some very well produced and catchy songs with good instrumentation, some songs on the record don’t really click with me in the same way others do, and I feel this is because West’s signature production on many songs are seemingly muted or absent altogether. 

 

Performance & Lyrics:


The performance for Kanye was pretty typical and what you would expect from a modern record. You shouldn’t be surprised to not hear anything too crazy or mind blowing in terms of the structure of the rhymes or the lyrics themselves. In fact, there were alot of boring or straight up bad performances on this record such as with the song “Hoodrat” which had a straight up annoying chorus that is barely listenable. Even still, there still are some good lyrical performances on this record. For instance, “Burn” has the best Kanye performance on this record in my opinion, his flow is very reminiscent of a classic Kanye verse and it is honestly really satisfying to hear this type of Kanye lyricism and performance again, and I honestly wish there was more of this kind of performance on the record in general. Other stand outs in terms of lyrics include “F**k Sumn” as I think the Kanye verse on this track is pretty stellar and “Talking (ft. North West)” which has the notable inclusion of Kanye’s daughter singing the main chorus by herself, which I thought was very fun, charming and upbeat. Also, you notice a lot more harmonic and melodic singing featured on the songs such as the lead single “Vultures”, probably due to the influence of Ty Dolla $ign as a collaborator on this album, which personally I don’t have an issue with, although it is a departure from most of Kanye’s discography, however his R&B influences are definitely a positive thing for this record. Overall, the lyrics and performance are pretty average, there are definitely standouts but it’s what you would expect from a modern West record.

 

Overall Opinion:


Overall, while the album has interesting concepts going on, they aren’t well fleshed out and the album really lacks a lot of soul and character which makes it not as enjoyable to listen to when compared to previous projects West has worked on. This album is promising if it marks the beginning of a new era for West, however the direction this “new era” will take us is shrouded in mystery. The performance and the lyricism were fine although the themes felt somewhat undercooked and as mentioned previously the lack of soul found in this project doesn’t really seem to pair well with what this project seems to strive for, or could be. I definitely enjoyed a lot of things on this record but some of the elements in terms of the production or lyricism weren’t really for me personally. All things considered it is an alright record, but it doesn’t match up to West’s previous works in my opinion. As a fan of West’s works, I can’t help myself from being somewhat disappointed at this project, and personally I would give this record a strong 6 to a decent 7 out of 10. Since it’s too early to tell, we can’t really judge what his legacy will be with this record dropping, however what we do know for sure is that Kanye West, whether for better or for worse, will be in the pop-culture zeitgeist for many years to come, so all we can really do is witness that legacy shaping in real time.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review has been updated as of Feb. 16, 2024 to better reflect what is on the record currently. The initial review was using the original tracklist that had been made available over several weeks. This update better reflects the album’s current tracklist as of Saturday, Feb 10. There have also been minor tweaks such as giving more context, and also elaborating on more details about certain elements in the record. The author’s key opinions or points have not been changed unless they themselves are outdated. 

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About the Contributor
Naman Patel, Staff Writer
Naman is a junior at Fitch High School. He enjoys weightlifting, and is a part of the Robotics team. He also is a part of the Debate Team and the Falcon News Video Crew. He enjoys doing video production, computer science, and learning about history. He hopes in the future to become a software engineer who lives in a big urban city.

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