I realize that I’ve never been known for a balanced review, but this album is a solid 11/10. That’s an irrefutable fact. Therefore, Kanye West is currently living one of the greatest stretches of his career. Here’s how KIDS SEE GHOSTS ties all that together, and as a bonus for my loyal readers and to stir up some controversy, my ranking of all Kanye’s albums at the bottom).
Kanye began this spell of greatness with a much less clearly-focused spell of political outbursts. When you look at the evidence, it’s not actually that surprising, but it was surprising for many at the time. I’m talking, of course, about how Kanye came out as a Trump supporter in a very progressive, anti-Trump music industry culture. While it could have been done a little better (see Ye vs. the People for an interesting attempt at explaining itself), his goal underneath it all was to push for a national dialogue , and that’s really not the worse thing in the world.
Chance the rapper’s initial take on the issue also raised some legitimate points about how people tend to assume political affiliation based on race. This was an important distinction in a time when people tend to look past the limited-government principles of conservatism when making their judgements about the Grand Old Party.
Also, I thought that song where he goes “whoop dee scoop dee poop” was hilarious. But we weren’t really at peak-genius Kanye.
Then, all of a sudden, out of the sky like a lightning bolt of G.O.O.D. music, 3 albums were birthed into existence by Kanyeezy himself. 21 Tracks re-defined this man’s career.
1 – Daytona by Pusha-T (7 tracks)
I won’t get too much into this one, but it was really exciting to see Kanye as a fully-fledged producer again, and this album was super fly.
2 – Ye by Kanye West (7 tracks)
Within the span of like a week, we went from the hard-hitting bangers of Daytona to Kanye’s most introspective album yet. Ye (the album not the person) has almost a punk-rock sound to it, and sees Kanye being a lot more old-Kanye than new-Kanye. That is to say fewer bells and whistles with the production, and a much more inward focus. He explores the same political idea from earlier asking if “driving while black” and wearing a MAGA hat would cancel out in the eyes of the law. He gives the impression that he’s just been thinking aloud this entire time. I’m not sure if that’s an effective way to approach political commentary, but it definitely gets people talking which might be the underlying goal. Kanye talks about his life and makes himself vulnerable in ways we’ve never heard before through, but we’re not here to talk about this album either.
We’re here to talk about this one.
3 – KIDS SEE GHOSTS by KIDS SEE GHOSTS – 7 more tracks
Anthony Fantano, the internet’s busiest music nerd, gave this album one of only two 10/10’s he’s ever given in his career. It’s that good. I don’t really need to say more, but I will anyways.
Essentially, in this project with Kid Cudi, introspective Kanye suddenly turns back into Yeezus-era God-Kanye (also Kid Cudi turns back into not-weirdly-bad-era Cudi). It’s absolutely surreal.
It’s short, but this album has everything. It has godlike moments (and also sassy ones from Cudi) on Freeeeeeeeeeeeee. It also has some signiature Kid Cudi chill vibes on Reborn and the Cudi Montage.
I love it because it’s a return to the old-Kanye greatness with a totally new sound. What more could you want?
My ranking: (which makes very clear how young I am)
Kids See Ghosts if it’s allowed on the list takes the 1 spot.
808’s and Heartbreak
Yeezus (which is one of my most favorite albums of all time)