Monday, January 25, 2016

Song of the Day #257 - Kanye West - No More Parties in L.A.

I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news!

Since GOOD Friday track #4 is still MIA, we'll catch up with #3. We got something way more exciting than any single track, though... Is this the greatest tweet of all time? I mean, if you consider both the content of the tweet and the contextual meaning of the tweet, absolutely for sure it's number one. It's Kanye declaring Swish finished, and showing us the complete tracklist for the first time. It's history. But if you just consider the actual content it has some contenders with this one and Tao Lin tweeting "Whole Foods is fucking closed" (which I guess he's since deleted). I dunno, though, I might still give it to Ye, like... really think about this tweet, think about every word of it:

"So happy to be finished" is an admission of how long it's taken, how much work it was, how much everything has suffered for him to complete it, it feels human, it feels involuntary, it is an expression of relief beyond any sort of composure... but then:

"with the best album of all time" ahhhh hahahaha, a complete pivot. But the humbleness sorta carries through, so you begin to think he's saying "best album of all time" with the same sort of unassuming honesty that made him confess his relief. I love that it's "best" album, not "greatest" or "most significant", or any sort of qualifier like "of my career" or "in hip hop" or "in 2016", like, absolutely nothing was done to make it a reasonable statement. And you know he's having fun with it, like, he obviously isn't saying this seriously, and that joy comes through. But on another level, you believe that he believes it, and when you hear this song, you believe it too...

This is an absolute monster of a track. Madlib beat bringing back that classic Ye soul sound. A hook that sounds both triumphant and defeated, with a Ghostface sample from another Kanye classic, which is like... he's defined the problem he faces in terms of his own music, there's an inherent struggle there unlike anything else. There's a type of "3500"-esque superlativeness to this, where it feels like everything adds up to a song maybe 4 minutes long, but nah, this is 6 minutes long and every second is packed.

The length comes from two absolute monster verses from Kendrick and Kanye. Kendrick's verse weighs in at 367 words and Kanye's a towering 611. It's long enough that they can contain complete narratives unto themselves alongside several philosophical tangents without feeling hurried or overstuffed. It's all spread expertly across several flows - at times feeling tight and restrained, at times bursting at the seams. There's way too much to hope to cover everything and still go to bed while it's dark out, but a few highlights I can't resist mentioning:

"She said she came out here to find an A-list rapper/I said baby, spin that round and say the alphabet backwards" - I love how absurd this sounds initially, and then it just gets cleverer and cleverer the more you think about it.

"Make me believe in miracles, Buddhist monks, and Cap'n Crunch cereal" - the voice/flow he uses here is sheer gold, and this list really highlights Kendrick's expertise in even the simplest aspects of writing, i.e. the rule of three

"I was uninspired since Lauryn Hill retired/And 3 Stacks, man, you preach it to the choir" - this intersection between respectful/tragic/arrogant is quintessentially Kanye

"I be worried bout my daughter, I be worried bout Kim/But Saint is baby Ye, I ain't worried bout him" - The first namedrop of his new son in music, with a perfect contrast that does more to empower Kanye than anything, instant-classic

"I know some fans who thought I wouldn't rap like this again/But the writer's block is over, emcees cancel your plans" - This is maybe the possible way best way to address your fanbase losing faith in a way that completely 180s any doubt

"Pink fur, got Nori dressing like Cam, thank God for me!" - lmao

"I feel like Pablo..." - These lines make me really happy. Kanye's said in interviews that he aspires to be thought of as a Picasso figure in his generation. I mean, the perspective you have on this attitude is basically THE Kanye West divisor, but the view of my "camp" is that why would you want your favorite artists to aspire to anything less? To see that Kanye hasn't lost sight of the grandness of his ambition, and is really FEELING it, like, really gearing up to make himself a Guernica, it's thrilling.

"And as far as real friends, tell all my cousins I love 'em/Even the one that stole the laptop, you dirty motherfucker" - oh MAN this line. Like it's a bit weird cause on the album this song comes before "Real Friends", but in the release order, hearing this a week after "Real Friends", it was like... my mind shorted out for a second, lol. It's like on MBDTF, during "Guilt Trip", when he samples himself saying "All of the Lights", the album is anticipating its own success, its own memetic place in your mind... this is something way beyond. And the sentiment expressed in it? The complex space of sarcasm and genuineness that you could only have with someone close to you, like a cousin, that we get to witness this clear but distant facet of? The weird self-negation between this and "Real Friends", the feeling that only one of them is telling the "real story", even though they're on the same album, which is, of course, the exact sort of strife that really makes something human? Oh man, are you guys ready for this? Are you at all ready for this? Swish is coming soon!!!

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