BLOG: I Heart Kanye West (A Preview of Sorts)

I know I’m in the minority when I say this, but I actually like the music Kanye West is putting out right now. Forget the fact he’s using the now-cliché Auto-Tune effect. Forget the fact he can’t sing. Forget the fact he’s not rapping. Forget the fact he broke from the theme of his four-part album series (Remember, album four was supposed to be called Good Ass Job?) Forget the fact he’s going with some scruffy Pee Wee Herman look. Forget everything that you want Kanye to do right now, because as usual, he’s doing him.

What I like about the music I’ve heard so far off 808s & Heartbreak is the fact that Kanye is being 100 percent real. Over the past year the man lost his mother and has endured a rocky relationship with his girlfriend. Now he’s tapping into his emotions and writing from his heart. For better or for worse, that’s led Kanye to sing, but neither his limited vocal ability or his usage of Auto-Tune for an entire album is my concern. My focus has been on his lyrics.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been there myself—more times than I’d care to admit—but Kanye’s music reflects the mood of a man that’s been hurt. No matter how many cocksure choruses (“Can’t Tell Me Nothing”), braggadocios bars (“Swagger Like Us”) or self-righteous raps (“Good Life”) an artist makes, pain is one of the purest emotions and is something that everyone can relate to—whether or not the average hardrock cares to admit it.

Now, I’m not saying that just because Kanye is tapping into his pain that his music gets a pass, because like I said earlier, the man can’t sing, but neither can T-Pain, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Nelly, Flo Rida or Lil Wayne. We’ve forgiven these artists for their vocal flaws because of one overriding reason: Their music speaks to us. Whether you choose to listen or not, Kanye’s music is speaking to me right now—with or without an Auto-Tune effect.

Still, some folks might not be able to get over the whole singing and Auto-Tune thing. So here are my personal picks for notable lyrics off the leaked 808s & Heartbreak tracks.

LOVE LOCKDOWN
I’m not lovin’ you/Way I wanted to/I can’t keep my cool/So I keep it true/I got something to lose/So I gotta move/I can’t keep myself/And still keep you too/So I keep in mind/When I’m on my own/Somewhere far from home/In the danger zone/How many times did I tell you/’Fore it finally got through/You lose, you lose/I’m not lovin’ you/Way I wanted to/See I had to go/See I had to move/No more wastin’ time/You can’t wait for life/Were just racin’ time/Where’s the finish line…”

Yes, at times ’Ye sounds like his mouth is rewired shut and doesn’t enunciate all of his words. Yes, the lyrics are simple, but sometimes feelings don’t need to be explained in complex ways. The lesson I take from this verse is that life is a race and no matter what hurdles we face on the way to the finish line, you have to keep your eyes on the prize.

HEARTLESS
How could you be so, cold as the winter wind when it breeze, yo/Just remember that you talkin’ to me though/You need to watch the way you talkin’ to me, yo/I mean after all the things that we’ve been through/I mean after all the things we got into/Hey, yo, I know of some things that you ain’t told me/Hey, yo, I did some things but that’s the old me/And now you wanna get me back and you goin’ show me/So you walk around like you don’t know me/You got a new friend, well I got homies/But in the end it’s still so lonely.”

Less Auto-Tune on this track so the haters should be happy. Still, I’m more focused on the lyrics. In this brief exchange Kanye encapsulates the tricky game that is a breakup. We’ve all been there (if not, you’ll be there eventually). No matter how many new “homies” you acquire, you’re still gonna feel a certain way when you see your ex with someone new and realize that quantity can never replace quality.

COLDEST WINTER
If spring can take the snow away/(If spring can take the snow away)/Can it melt away all of our mistakes/(Can it melt away all of our mistakes)/Memories made in the coldest winter/Goodbye my friend I won’t I ever love again…Never Again….”

Okay, this one really doesn’t have that many lyric options as Kanye repeats every other line a million times. Actually, listening back at it and analyzing the lyrics, I can see why some folks might hate this one. The coldest winter metaphor also could have been stronger, but I like this one, too. Sue me.

ROBOCOP
I won’t even play myself and try to quote anything from this track. This one doesn’t get a pass from me. Way too much Auto-Tune. The track is some ’80s synth hodgepodge that’s more Studio 54 than Baseline Studios. Then to top it all off, I have no idea what he’s trying to say with the whole analogy. Okay, he says “drop it” on the record like RoboCop used to say in the movies, but that’s a bit of a stretch to call a nosy girlfriend a RoboCop. Sorry, I’ll pass on this one.

Overall, I’m feeling three out of four of the leaked tracks and looking forward to 808s & Heartbreak. In my humble opinion, Kanye’s off to a good start for a making a decent experimental album. Hip-hop needs to be shaken up a bit, and I commend one of our biggest stars for taking a risk by going out on a limb and trying something new. Does this mean another “classic” from Mr. West? Only time will tell, but what do y’all think about the music so far? Are you down with the new direction or can’t wait for this rapper to get back to rapping?

Speak your piece…

NWSO

  • Phil

    Thanks a lot. Now you’re ENABLING this idiot.

    • Re-yo

      Co-sign

      • EReal

        No Diggity Co-Sign mang,

        XXL has been straight SLOBBIN Kanye and Wayne all damn year!!

      • Stuey

        I can’t believe some people are accepting this garbage as music just cuz they like Kanye’s old stuff. I mean com’on! This is almost as bad as soulja boy. It’s for some dumb mutha fuckahs! Honestly if some other dipshit made this no one would like it. Get a fucking grip XXL.

  • Flip

    Are you serious?? This is going to be his worth album to date.

    • capcobra

      lmao…you type with a lisp.

      • og bobby j

        Pure comedy…lisp….shit had me rollin.

        Anyway….I been said Kayne is is for skateboarders and pussies. Canr respect this clowns mic skills….

        he need to put the mic down…stay behind the boards. I love how Kanye dickriders are still gonna rock with some blantant cornball shit.

        • LEO

          HAHAHAHA LOL LISP…LOL GOOD TIMES…BUT UM YEAH…50 OVER KANYE ALL DAY…NO HOMO? LET THE TEDDY BEAR DO HI THING…LOL IM STILL LAUGHING ABOUT TYPIN WIT A LISP HAHAHAHAHAHA

      • yoprince

        classic shit. lmao. type with a lisp

  • Eric

    I agree with you when you say Kanye’s music is reflecting his emotions, which is what a good artist does. But he is a RAPPER! That’s why I’m a fan of Kanye. The only song that i like is Heartless (and lockdown just a little), but the hell with the whole album being like that. I’ll let Kanye get all of his “pain” out on this album and wait for the next one.

  • Roxx

    i cosign. dope drop. i have the same criticisms but i get down with it cuz I been there too. Thank god her and I are married now, lol

  • http://hiphoponmymind.blogspot.com DJ Daddy Mack

    “Forget the fact he broke from the theme of his four-part album series (Remember, album four was supposed to be called Good Ass Job?)”

    its hard to.

    but yea i c what you are saying. its funny how xxl makes the blog post i had in mind.

  • Dre “yeezy got a vision thats clearer than avion” Peoples

    Only nigga the can do this singing and rapping is 3 Stacks.yeezy almost can if he keeps that Rocafella feel to his misic.hey mama ain’t bad,Improvise ain’t bad,spaceship ain’t ba either.he been experimenting with hamonising not tracks that sound like 808′s and heartbreak.it just sounds like some over see’s contemperary music.robocop could be a classic song if he done it right.

    • TonyStackz

      Yo don’t forget Mos Def,Devin the Dude & Pimp C Can Sing too and none of them need that Vocoder Bullshit Like all these Wanna Be Singers Like Wayne Seriously I Don’t Know what the fuck would Possess Little dude to start Singing lol He sounds like hes Fucking
      Whining and Shit!!!

  • http://yerrxreality.blogspot.com m3lo

    it’s called evollution yo.

  • http://jumz.com JUMZ

    I agree.. I actually applaud this shit. He’s actually catapulted himself to a place thats gonna make him legendary. Whether you like it or not. he’s jimi hendrix, elton john, michael jackson.. he’s all them niggas.. and he did it with hip hop. He won’t deny that. When you do music you don’t close your ears to anything. you just love a good sound, a good set of lyrics and great songs. Every artist that reads these blogs wishes they could be like him. Wishes they had the permission to be who they wanna be and still cake off. He’s not making songs about pretty girls and champagne, he’s talking about being a human being.

    myspace.com/jumz

    • megagavelli

      please don’t compare kanye to jimi henrix or elton john…thats disrespectful to them and us…its disrespectful for us cuz its like saying that anything not involving complete idiocy (bitches,bling, etc) is jimi hendrix status to us…

      i play guitar and i also mess with the mpc2500 something serious…so i feel i can say this objectively: there is NOTHING that can be done with sampling/drum programing etc.. NOTHING that can equate to what hendrix did with guitar playing and songwriting…or what elton did with piano and songwriting…or what mj did with vocals and songwriting…hip hop is limited by nature due to the fact that you always have to be saying something–theres no space to create the same kind of textures and let things breathe..u have to rap on beat..its not the same as singing a riff way over the beat a la mj…i think this kanye shit would’ve been hot, but the vocoder killed it…i wish he had just taken a few months of singing lessons–he wouln’t have had to sing like mj…just be able to hold a note and express himself like jimi henrix did

    • yoprince

      don’t be ridiculous homey! this nigga is not jimi hendrix or michael jackson!

      thats just outrageous.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Dra$t-iQ Alkoholik

    nigga is you on crack this is the worst shit ever nigga should not drop such crap or he gon be a flop.

  • nlitwiller

    I have a theory about the whole four album thing that I haven’t seen anywhere and was wondering what anyone thinks about it.
    Kanye said that he was going to make Good Ass Job after Graduation.
    Has anyone thought that his album that is coming out in March or whenever will be GAJ and 808′s is just an extra album that he made b/c of what he’s been through in the past year?

    Just a thought, any opinions?

  • Mike Seriously

    lol @ the lisp comment! Also the fact that there is a DJ named Daddy Mack! I commend you for that one.

    Back to Kanye…

    I feel experimentation in music but an album full of auto-tune? Come on Man! T-pain been doin that and that’s only because he has no real singing ability! If I buy a Ye album I want rhymes. This nig’s stuff sound like some new millinieum Low Rawls.

  • ds

    r

    • Pierzy

      s?

  • http://www.beats4sale.tk/ layzie

    http://www.beats4sale.tk/ http://www.beats4sale.tk/ for the hottest beats beats4sale .tk

  • Manka Cat

    I see what you’re saying about lyrics on Lockdown and Heartless, especially Lockdown. The music isn’t “good” in a traditional sense. I certainly don’t bang it. Auto-tune sucks in every and all cases. Each raper should get one song. The only time I have ever been able to stand Auto-tune is on that one mixtape track from 50 that ended up on T.O.S.
    Anyway, I’ll still buy the album. I like Kanye, and hopefully there will be some Hip-Hop on there. I just hope he gets done with this all at once, takes a few months off, and then comes back with something awesome.

    As far as the lyrics in Lockdown, I don’t see the whole life is a race analogy. I think its a race thing as in his blackness. Look at the video. Kanye is in an all white room, in white, in an atmosphere that is very metro and modern. Suddenly he is “haunted” or whatever by traditional Africans. “I’m not lovin’ you/ the way I wanted too…” He’s talking to his heritage. I think the music was designed the same way. Very modern sounding, with the Auto-Tune, mixed with sinple oldschool drums. He’s torn, and trying to apologize while still defending himself.

    Maybe I’m crazy. It’s just what I hear.

  • nf

    sfsd

  • Matt

    From a longtime Kanye fan, I hated Love Lockdown, but I’m feeling Heartless and Robocop. I’ll probably buy the CD.

  • http://www.prettypancakes.com amar

    i’m not hating, i’m gonna wait to hear the whole thing before saying anything.

    So far i enjoy the tracks but…thye all sound very similar and for me, don’t have much replay value at all. Less replay value than a young jeezy album at this point…but i’ve only heard heartless and ll, so we’ll see…

    for me personally, “can’t tell me nothing”, as odd of a song as it was, is the most relateable. It’s like an anthem for being broke but on the road to correcting yourself financially and getting what you want and making smarter decisions. Shit, it should’ve been obama’s campaign song!

    http://www.prettypancakes.com

  • Enlightened

    Corny ass music from a corny ass dude. And for the record, T-Pain can sing. You’re still stuck on that bullshit? Also, 50 Cent and Nelly might not be able to “sing” but they can do what is called “holding a note.”
    It means that if a C is played on the keyboard, you can actually hit that note. They just don’t gave good singing voices. But when 50 sang, “all through the hood I keep hearing niggas say, I’m spose to die tonight…” you can’t tell me that shit wasn’t on key based on what the melody of the song was. And when Nelly did that “Do you wanna ride…dosie do” – ass shit. You can’t tell me that niggas wasn’t in key the whole song (until that bullshit ending – I don’t know what that was).

    The point is Kanye and Lil’ Wayne are on some other shit and need to chill and keep rapping.

  • mike b

    robocop is about a getting sweated too much by a chick

  • Drama

    man, dats everythin dat i wanted to say. lol, i like dem 3 out of 4 songs and i feel wut he doin even tho its not classic, i jus went thru sum shit 2 so im feelin da shit

  • DANJA29

    I’m kinda feelin’ the same way now… I hated “Lockdown” the 1st, 5th, and 10th time I heard it. But I really gave it an open-minded shot one day and moved past the “ugggh, he’s usin’ AutoTune” and it’s actually not a bad song. I liked “Heartless” off the bat, same as “Coldest Winter”. But that “Robocop” shit can kick rocks.

  • floss

    I like how people are quick to judge this album and critisize Ye for being different but i bet most of the haters are gonna wait till the album sales and the songs catch up and start gettin spins and we all know once its on the radio and tv it will eventually grow on you even if you dont like it and then you haters will be buying downloading or borrowing that shit asap “LOW KEY” and i know you know it to HATERS !!!!

  • CW24

    Kanye is getting WAY TOO much credit for making music from his heart. Music should be that way. That being said, it’s still terrible, and lacks the power it should have considering the topics he wants to address. The singing is awful, the production is sloppy, and the lyrics are simple and obvious. Please do not insult the great songwriters of hip hop/soul history by over-analyzing below average music just because it’s coming from someone with star power.

    • Stuey

      Co-Fuckin-Sign
      Thank You! Some one with a brain. This guy should have the fucking blog. At least he doesn’t have biased opinions.

  • DV8

    Ill just wait for Good Ass Job. Only way i’ll be listening to this is if my girl has it and insist on playing it.

  • bb

    lmao at capcobra, type with a lisp. That’s a classic.

    Anyway the only rappers I know that step out the box and still produced good as music is outkast. Kayne is and never will be on they level.

  • El Tico Loco

    Sorry homey the album gets no pass in no way, if you rap and cannot sing stick to the script, I give 3 Stacks his props but that’s where it stops, unless Phonte from Little Brother does an all singing album, now that cat can sing, even just playin around. Now Kanye need to stick to producing. Point blank!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=28299 floss

    You dudes may hate now but i bet you will all get the album and bump it low key once it starts to sell …..808′s in 08 , like Obama what !!!

  • Roxx

    i love when people say he should stick to “this” or “that” maybe you should’ve stuck with your first job at Burger King instead of college…

  • d

    Why is everyone acting like this is so original??? HE IS JOCKIN ANDRE 3K… have any of u idiots heard love below… im out u non hip hop fucks

  • harrison

    true speech man.. i totally agree. im a kanye diehard fan and im upset that he isnt rapping as much anymore, but i love how his music is really comin from his emotions and past epxeriences….fuck the haters man. i cant wait for 808′s, kanye you got my money man

  • CHILDofTRUTH

    im feelin this blog 100 man n i appreciate it. all you haters don understand art man. the dude is a hip hop ARTIST, so how u gonna hate on him for expressing his feelings. thats what the fuck he’s supposed to do. I aint know there was a certain standard to art. This the same thing as hatin on a Da Vinci for the mona lisa after he painted the last supper and all his religious shit. i co sign the blog and everybody who understand what the fuck art is.

    EVERYBODY’S A FUCKIN CRITIC!!!

  • REAL TALK 08

    ‘Ye still in my top 5..it could be worse..he could be Yung Berg or Soulja boy..lol…imma still cop da new album….

  • Ali

    I gotta be honest, I agree…the fact that he’s being real is all I need…I’d rather take real autotune singing then that same old club rap any day……outta these 4 im only feelin Heartless, but still at least he aint afraid to show his emotions, which I always like…..some of my all time fave songs r the pain songs cuz they are the realest by far

  • Bang

    Dont care. Fuck you

  • styles11

    hmm well im a literature person so i do understand what your tryin to relate. but that shit dont even make up for lyrics or a decent song. he repeats his words like history. which shows pain and an inability to think but no lyrical genius at all. it also makes the album look like he was singing it to himself and is only putting it on the market to pay for the studio time.
    xxl and all you kanye lover boys should stop and smell the roses. Dont even try to pass this idot as a hip hop messiah whos doing somethin diffrent and comandable. there is nothing in his lyrics at all you just like the beat and the auto tune effect.
    so no point in buying this album at all

  • Cinsere

    I was with Common on his “new direction”

    I was with Andre on his “new direction”

    So I have nothing against new directions…

    but…

    This new Kanye shit is, at best, unexciting and boring…and at worst, utter trash!

  • Rae Tha Great

    HELL YEAH. I JUST WENT THROUGH A BREAKUP PHASE IN AUGUST AND WHEN LOVELOCK DOWN CAME OUT IS WAS HURT CAUSE I KEPT THINKING ME AND THE GIRL WAS GONNA GET BACK TOGETHER (LIKE A WEEK TOPS). THEN SHE TOLD ME SHE WAS TALKING TO SOME OTHER GUY AND HEARTLESS CAME OUT. THAT SONG SPOKE TO ME CORRECTLY AND IT HURT SPECIALLY “So you walk around like you don’t know me/You got a new friend, well I got homies/But in the end it’s still so lonely.” PEACE I’M STILL SINGLE.

  • internet thug slapper

    I just want to inject my two pennies to the charity of opinion in three questions. First, since when did men get all sensitive about breaking up with females like the guy above me and the writer or this article. I’m not sayin’ you can’t be in touch with your feelings i’m just saying you can’t be in touch with your feelings in public. There are plenty of birds in the sky and i’m just fly enough to get ‘em ya dig? Next, I can see how people might feel that Kanye is experimenting with placing his name amongst the pop icons, but is that really what he is doing? I believe that he may not have wanted to put out any music for awhile with the death of his mother, but maybe Def Jam reminded him of his contractual obligations. So instead of breaching contract he decided to give them a bunch of tracks they would not know how to market properly. And last, would any of you be as likely to accept this music if it was from a lesser known or underground artist? Sight unseen? Plus 808′s and Theater of the Mind are supposed to come out on the same day. Do you think Def Jam is going to make that mistake in this industry climate. I just think Kanye feels that people are going to give him an “artistic license” for a cd he threw together a little too quickly. I’m not hatin’ I just don’t think everyone is gonna give him a pass.

  • internet thug slapper

    sorry for the long post…I just think if these same songs were from anyone else everybody would hate on that shit.

  • internet thug slapper

    sorry for the long post…I just think if these same songs were from anyone else without as much hype as Kanye everybody would hate on that shit!

  • grant ny

    one thing i liked about kanye is he was original did something new, this is just so predictable at the moment, nothing new his worst stuff to date and hes potentially ruined his RAP career with this, why are rappers singing STOPPP ITTTT, you see this is why i prefer gangsta rappers,they keep it HIP HOP.
    kanye buy some new clothes cut your hair stop bieng a pussy wipped faggot and make a rap album, you know that shit you real good at.

  • bongolock

    ok so i had only heard the lockdown song til now. and i’ve been avoiding the others ….til now when i just gave them a partial listen. …
    partial because thats all i could tolerate.
    heartless is sorta ok but the rest is trash.
    but hey, people will buy anything ye does these days….

  • Chris S

    wow, very well written article. i agree with you in everything except for the last 2. i like robocop more than coldest winter and i am looking forward to hearing the remastered version.

    again, not my favorite kanye style but i think in 10 years people will look back at this and graduation as being way ahead of their time

  • http://myspace.com/diamondmindstudios Nic Diamonds

    Ye’s fresh and ahead of the rest of hip-hop…some nigga’s is gonna keep hatin and some nigga’s is gonna keep gettin money.

  • http://www.myspace.com/sniperskaos Kaos

    This shit is gonna be terrible
    music should be from the heart anyway
    but he should be able to do it through his chosen medium of rap otherwise whats the point? He’s just a bandwagon jumpin wasteman.

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