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.