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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign release ‘VULTURES 1’

Album drops following months of teasers
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

“VULTURES 1,” by Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign, was released at midnight on Feb. 10 to much surprise. Even with its many delays and highly anticipated release, “VULTURES 1” is ultimately a lackluster album that only raises concerns about West’s lost spark of creativity and sanity.

The 16-track LP features uncredited guest appearances by YG, Playboi Carti, Travis Scott, Freddie Gibbs, Quavo, Nipsey Hussle, Lil Durk, Bump J, Rich the Kid, Chris Brown, India Love, J. Rey Soul and West’s daughter, North. The LP also features over a dozen producers including West himself, Ty Dolla $ign, London on da Track, JPEGMafia and Mike Dean.

Despite West facing innumerable controversies over the past few years, his fans still persistently waited for another release following “Donda” in 2021. Last week, West and Ty Dolla $ign performed at listening parties in stadiums in Chicago and  New York City. Following the performance in New York City, “VULTURES 1” was released to most streaming services around midnight. The album became accessible on every streaming platform by the end of the weekend.

Over the past few months, the hype concerning West’s upcoming project has been impossible to ignore on social media. When “VULTURES 1” was officially released on streaming platforms, online music communities blew up. At one point, the album’s entire track list was featured on Spotify’s daily chart for the U.S., which tracks the most-streamed music in the U.S.

Before the release of “VULTURES 1,” there were several indications of legal disputes over features and sampling that presumably contributed to the album’s long-delayed release. Some disputes included Nicki Minaj’s refusal to clear her feature. Ozzy Osbourne also posted on Instagram publicly declaring that West used his sample without permission at one of the “VULTURES 1” listening parties.

The album is softly introduced with an angelic choir in the first track “STARS.” As an introduction to this long-awaited album, you would expect the powerful choir to lead up to an eccentric beat drop, yet the song remains entirely mellow.

Another song, “PAID,” features an irksome and repetitive beat that accentuates West’s awkwardly brief and monotonous verses. Ironically, Ty Dolla $ign’s chorus, “I’m just here to get paid,” drives the song onwards. The beat itself is similarly dull and progresses through a predictably tiresome bass-centered beat.

“HOODRAT” is another challenging listen through its irritating sample, in which “hoodrat” is repeated nonstop. West’s subpar lyricism raps over the droning sample. The song features a disappointing lack of lyrical creativity, making it one of the most obnoxious songs on the album.

The 12th track on the album, “CARNIVAL,” features a chanting choir and uninspired lyrics. The song’s structure begins more powerfully than previous songs on the record, but it shortly becomes redundant like the rest of the album. The outro of the song follows the same structure as the intro and is ultimately an unimaginative highlight of the album.

“VULTURES 1”’s release was subpar compared to its high expectations. Through its countless features, producers and its shift in aesthetic, the album ultimately feels boring compared to West’s earlier releases.

“VULTURES 1” failed to highlight West’s strong suits despite his previous peaks in music production and lyricism. It feels like West is solely catering to his obsessive fans with this album and further elevating his confidence. Even though the highlight of the album is supposed to be West, Ty Dolla $ign outshines him.

The release of “VULTURES 1” stresses the importance of separating the art from the artist, as many of West’s lyrics are very offensive, degrading and just flat-out unnecessary. With West’s explosive public image, he has chosen to increasingly radiate his inappropriate and narcissistic reputation.

West’s lyrical themes in “VULTURES 1” amplify the rapper’s self-absorbed and bigoted ideology. His lyrics throughout the album objectify women, promote antisemitism and ultimately intensify his egocentric tendencies.

In “CARNIVAL,” West exerts his self-absorption through his lyrics, rapping “Now I’m Ye-Kelly, b****, now I’m Bill Cosby, b**** / Now, I’m Puff Daddy rich, that’s ‘Me Too’ me rich.” Through what West may excuse as humorous lyrics, the rapper compares himself to celebrities with sexual assault charges in a song that glorifies sex and himself.

Another song with prominent themes of self-absorption is in the final track “KING.” The entire theme of the song features West’s ignorance towards taking accountability for his actions, further amplifying his narcissistic image. Besides the obnoxious lyrics, “Crazy, bipolar, antisemite and I’m still the king,” the beat is over the top and low quality. There is very little to take away from the song besides the distasteful lyrics.

“VULTURES 1” was ultimately a very disappointing release. West has severely lost his creativity and ambition, demoting him from his throne in hip-hop history. There are few moments that stand out on the album, and it’s difficult to find any reason to revisit or give the project a second thought.

Reportedly, “VULTURES 2” and “VULTURES 3” will be released within the next few months. However, these albums will likely be no better than this release.

Crissy Saucier can be reached at [email protected].

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