By Justin Madison, Senior
This past week the almighty music messiah, Kanye “Yeezus” West has once again blessed us with a new album. His last album, Yeezus, was released over two years ago in 2013. In spirit of the 17th track on the album, “FACTS”, this article will reveal many facts about everything that has to do with Kanye’s new release.
The journey for his album was not an easy one. Originally, the release date was slated for February 11th, 2016, but due to unfinished songs, the album was pushed back one day. On the 12th of February, fellow Chicago rapper Chancellor Bennett, or as many know him, Chance the Rapper, pressured Kanye to add one more song on the album called “Waves,” so the release was again pushed back. Then, the infamous entrepreneur Martin Shkreli attempted to prevent the release of the album by offering Kanye 15 million dollars for his rights to the album. Of course, Kanye refused, but the album still did not officially get released until Valentine’s Day. Legally the only way to listen to the album is through Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service. However this has not stop over 500,000 people from illegally downloading the album according to Pirate Bay’s, the torrenting website, records.
Also, the album name was changed a total of three times before its release. The title of the album was “So Help Me God” when initially announced in mid 2015. Not too long after the announcement of the album, Yeezy decided that So Help Me God didn’t accurately fit his music, so he opted for the title Swish. However, it’s apparent that geniuses can’t make up their minds because he changed the album title one more time to Waves before confirming that official album title would be The Life of Pablo (T.L.O.P.).
Now why the life of Pablo? Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure because he hasn’t actually confirmed himself, but many hiphop-heads like myself believe that the album’s title is alluding to one of three historically renown men: Pablo Picasso, Pablo Escobar, or Pablo Neruda. Yeezy’s only real reference in the entire album to this ambiguous album title is in the 16th track of the album “No More Parties in L.A.” when he says:
I feel like Pablo when I'm workin' on my shoes
I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news
I feel like Pablo when I'm workin' on my house
Tell 'em party's in here, we don't need to go out
Those who believe the obscure Pablo is Pablo Picasso, the 19th century Spanish artist cite that Kanye has mentioned him before in his lecture at Oxford University when he said:
My goal, if I was going to do art, fine art, would have been to become [Pablo] Picasso or greater.
Believers in Picasso’s link to the title of the album use the first line from the above excerpt from “No More Parties in L.A.” to support their claim because Kanye refers to his fashion designing as art. Others who cite Escobar, as the inspiration for the album title, mention Escobar’s huge success as a Colombian drug lord. They also mention that Escobar built his own prison to serve a 5-year sentence in. This prison was filled with many different amenities such as a soccer field, bar, and waterfall. Believers in Escobar’s link to the title of the album use the second and fourth lines to support their claim because West is villainized in the media and does not have to leave his house like Escobar. Also, Neruda, a world-renown poet and diplomat of the early 1900’s, designed 3 houses towards the end of his life. Many believe the third line from above is referring to him. Knowing Kanye, I would not be surprise of the referred to Pablo is all three men.
Regardless of whom the album is referring, Kanye’s self-proclaimed “gospel album with a whole lot of cursing” was something that he put his heart into. As he said in one of his Twitter rants, “This was made with love. Only God can judge me. So I only expect love back.”
For those of you who have yet to listen, regardless of your music preference, I challenge give this album a listen at least once. You will at least find one song you like. For those of you have listened to album in pieces, I challenge you to try to listen to the album in its entirety and pick out common themes. Among the ones you will find include: acceptance, happiness, reconciliation, and maturity. And for those of you have heard the album multiple times, I challenge you to not listen to any T.L.O.P. songs for a few days, and then the next week listen again. You will find yourself noticing a multitude of new topics discussed. And those are facts.
By Bianca Jean-Phillipe, Senior
After a couple of years, I’m aware
my childhood was bolted in poverty
but jungle gyms and swing sets, of any
kind--even mine, which amongst many quirks
had zany chipped-paint charm and metal curves
that twinkled and glistened even in rain,
acidic and harsh—are still a gift most
kids are allowed to receive and upkeep.
Financial struggle did not exclude me;
mine was still a jungle gym and swing set,
a figure of inherent cheeriness.
Still a pomegranate of memories
I can bite into every once in a
while and savor forever candied scenes.
I bite a ruby-like seed of sweetness:
I remember on early mornings, I
would stretch and throttle my thin bones tumbling
from the bed to the floor. I’d scrape my knees
against the frugal floorboards. I’d bolt up
and race my older brother to the bathroom
through the tiny unfinished kitchen where
we had to “watch our steps” and “silencio.”
We crashed into cabinets, jostled each
other, jumped over furniture, and what
heralded each action was a battle cry,
“Hyaa!” We thundered mindless laughter. We
woke our father; we earned his lecturing.
In the mirror, my eyes trailed to my brother’s
and his mine--like enemy snipers’ scopes
scrolling then eclipsing. Toothbrush thistles
grinded into mouths, cut teeth, and bloodied
gums. The good intentioned competition
started by our mother was a bloodsport.
When we lacked money, my mother would take
us to the estudio. I loved it;
the clinic was an overnight field-trip.
I’d swallow my pills with a gulp. Adults--
not all of them could do it, but I could.
After the doctor showed us our room, I
would lie in the top bunk bed, and strangle
my neck on rails to glimpse my mother and
brother, graham cracker crumbs still falling from
my fist, and jelly residue making
my palms sticky and wet. Milk long gone, but
the taste still thin and yummy on my tongue.
When we lost the house, my family drifted
from motel to motel near enough to
the beaches that my father would spirit
us there at nighttime. From the lifeguard post
up on wooden steps flanked by my siblings,
I’d watch with wide eyes as the tides pushed
up an enormous electrical pole
to shore. Infuriating me then, my
father didn’t let me approach; he and
my younger self didn’t share a common
definition of obvious bounty.
When money allowed, my father toured some
houses--one of which had an open yard
leading into a forest. I agreed
to the scenery’s dare when Father looked
inside the property with the realtor.
I found myself surrounded by big blue
birds, a flock of peacocks, and did what kids
are wont to do. I chased, I harassed, I
screamed when they started chasing me, biting
and pecking. I learned hierarchy--big birds
then me. Not much of a savant for life
lessons learned, sometime later a goose would
reteach me. I was young. I was silly.
During Hurricane Katrina we took
shelter in a condemned grade apartement.
Though dilapidated and flawed inside,
it had an exterior worthy of
earning a nod from the stronghold, Fort Knox.
When the storm awoke, I scratched my bare soles
sticking them in uniform hexagon
holes patterning the stoic cement wall.
This stern sentry was safekeeping us,
but I wanted more--I wanted to scream,
and don a jagged grin, and experience
elements as nakedly as the world
did. I yawped at the sky, and gales swooped down.
They nipped at my loose clothes and tugged on my
soaked ringlets like a playful and quick and
sneaky imaginary friend. Rainwater,
too, streaked across my face and shined my cheeks.
Laughter decorated my ears and mouth
when I saw my siblings drag a “STOP” sign
suicidally, covertly, into their
room behind my father’s back. I laughed so
uproariously, louder than the storm,
upon seeing my father’s face when he
backpedaled out the room--discovered it.
I bit a ruby-like seed of sweetness.
So my teeth release the heartwarming and
astonishingly sweet pomegranate
curnel of childhood memories. The thin
translucent rose hued skin heals and repairs
itself so any other day I can
take a bite of it again.
By Justin Madison, Senior
Four year later, Adele still amazes her fans and music fanatics everywhere. Last month on November 20th, 2015 Adele releases her third studio album entitled 25. Once again, she manages to blow the listeners away with both her powerful voice and her heart-felt lyrics. The album features a wide array of the best co-writers in the music industry ranging from: Greg Kurstin, to Paul Epworth, and Bruno Mars. 25 broke the record for highest first week sales, previously set by ‘N Snyc at 2.416 million. The album broke the record in three days, selling 2.433 million within the three days.
Adele said about her album 25:
I made the decision to go into becoming who I’m going to be forever without a removal van full of my old junk. I miss everything about my past, the good and the bad, but only because it won’t come back […] I’m on about being a teenager, sitting around and chatting shit, not caring about the future because it didn’t matter like it does now.
In the album’s opening track “Hello,” the reflective Adele has a phone call with an ex-boyfriend, which sets the tone for the remainder of the album. In contrast to 21’s “Someone Like You,” Adele plays the role of the heartbreaker in this. But plot twist: after all this time, she’s still obsessing about it, and he doesn’t seem to be bothered.
The album progresses with songs like: “Send My love (To Your New Lover),” “When We Were Young,” and “Water Under the Bridge” which all encompass the same theme of Adele’s emotionally maturity. As said in her letter posted on twitter, “My last record was a break-up record and if I had to label this one I would call it a make-up record.” Adele’s search for closure with the people of her past reveals the different place that she is in life now than when she wrote 21.
Overall, the album’s features of sophisticated ballads and sincere raw emotions truly showcases “Who is Adele?” However, her continued music choice has her fans wondering, who exactly is it that hurt you, Adele?
By Bianca Jean-Philippe
Every morning, my eyes are fixed to the foggy windows of the 95 Express to Downtown Miami. Around 6:40 A.M., the bus will curve around the corner of south east first street and onto Biscayne Boulevard. The sky will be a somber pastel blue. It will seemingly tinge all of its audience this same calming hue. Everything will carry a trace of this sober blue--the license tag of every speeding luxury car, the glass panels of every intimidating skyscraper, and the sweaty neck of every superficial jogger huffing down the strip.
But along the grassy fields of Bayfront Park, in a part of town where the stereotypes of Miami tend to meet, there is one example of honest humanness to be seen. Ironically enough, it is captured by fifteen sable sculptures brought to the area by the Nader Latin American Art Museum. Depicting a voluptuous man and woman in several of the poses, the statues created by the world-renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero, embody confidence and channel character.
To start, the infinitely happy expressions on the couple’s round faces belie the low self-esteem issues expected of people with less popular body types. Likewise, the exhibit challenges other social stigmas: One figure is a display of the male body only from the neck to the thighs; and its muscles and gait are augmented while its genitals are notably miniscule in comparison. I interpret the sizing of the figure’s features as a declaration that humans have greater self-worth, potential and impact than what is determined by the size of their genitalia.
All in all, the statues of the Botero Exhibit stand like sentries over the bustle of Miami’s denizens and act as tethers to truths we all--as people susceptible to being hurt by societal opinions-- should carry with us. If in need of reminding, stroll on down to Bayfront Park, while the Botero exhibit still stands. You won’t regret it.