Much has been said about Kanye West’s most recent album “The Life of Pablo,” from the media baiting theatrics of its release to its qualifications as an album as we traditionally know it. However, one thing is certain: gone is the “old Kanye” of College Dropout, Late Registration, 808’s and Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and even Yeezus. Welcome the “new Kanye, the bad mood Kanye, the always rude Kanye, spaz in the news Kanye” because he’s not going anywhere -and nor should he.
Kanye is uniquely singled out among artists to maintain his “College Dropout” aesthetic. We typically expect artists to evolve over time. No one is questioning the maturation Justin Bieber of My World against Justin Bieber of Purpose, although the dreadlocks might say otherwise. If you want predictable, listen to Bruce Springstein. Pablo Picasso, arguably one of the best artists of all time and someone Kanye frequently associates himself with, is known specifically by his "periods": the Blue Period, the Rose Period, the African Period, Cubism and the Crystal Period.
How can one expect the Kanye West of 2000 to represent the Kanye West of 2016? In this stretch, he has experienced the death of his mother, the marriage to Kim Kardashian and the embrace of fatherhood. In the same time frame, Uber, Spotify and the iPhone were invented. Why do we hold him to such an unfair standard?
Perhaps it’s because the new Kanye is so volatile that we do not know what to expect, and therefore it’s much more comfortable to revert back to the familiar Kanye. However, it is his unique status as a self-proclaimed creative genius that got him there and has also provided us with the visual of Mary in the club before she met Joseph. But honestly, the only expectation at this point is that each album launch represents his charting new territory. "He's changed the genre's DNA with every album," says Rolling Stone senior editor Jayson Greene.
So Kanye, egomaniac in all, I accept you.
And please don't make me wait another three years for the next album.