Ye (album)

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Ye
A view of the Teton mountain range with green text in the centre reading "I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome"
Studio album by Kanye West
Released June 1, 2018
Recorded May 2018[1][2]
Studio West's ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Genre Hip hop[3]
Length 23:41
Label
Producer
Kanye West chronology
The Life of Pablo
(2016)
Ye
(2018)
Kids See Ghosts
(2018)
Singles from Ye
  1. "Yikes"
    Released: June 11, 2018[4]
  2. "All Mine"
    Released: July 24, 2018[5]

Ye (/j/; stylized as ye) is the eighth studio album by American rapper Kanye West. It was released on June 1, 2018, by GOOD Music and Def Jam Recordings.[6] Following controversy surrounding his sociopolitical views, West re-wrote and recorded all the work on the album, completing it over the course of just two weeks at his ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.[7]

The album features guest vocals by PartyNextDoor, Ty Dolla Sign, Kid Cudi, Jeremih and 070 Shake, among others.[8] West produced the album in its entirety, with additional production by Mike Dean, who serves as a co-executive producer,[9] as well as Francis and the Lights, Benny Blanco, Irv Gotti, 7 Aurelius, Noah Goldstein, Che Pope, Caroline Shaw, Pi'erre Bourne and Ty Dolla Sign, among others.

Ye is the second of five seven-track albums produced by West in what have been referred to as the "Wyoming Sessions",[10][11] and set to be released weekly following the release of Pusha T's Daytona. The album preceded the release of West's collaboration with Kid Cudi titled Kids See Ghosts, Nas' Nasir, and Teyana Taylor's K.T.S.E.. The album was supported by the lead single "Yikes". Despite being released to lukewarm critical reception, Ye became West's record-equalling eighth consecutive album to debut at number one on the US Billboard 200. Upon its release, every song on the album managed to enter the top forty on the Billboard Hot 100, with "Yikes" reaching number 8.

Background and recording[edit]

On February 24, 2016, West tweeted that his upcoming new album, titled Turbo Grafx 16, would be released during the summer, naming it after the video game console of the same name.[12] West associate Ibn Jasper posted a photo on Instagram showing West and longtime collaborators Mike Dean, Plain Pat, and Kid Cudi in a recording studio working on West's new album.[13] In March 2016, Quavo posted an image on his Instagram of him in a studio with West, with the words "TURBO GRAFX 16" written on the wall behind them.[14] The other artists were present in the image, including Lil Yachty, Vic Mensa, Offset, Big Sean and Tyler, the Creator. The expected summer release of the album was not met, and West began his Saint Pablo Tour in August of that year. The tour ended abruptly, with 22 out of 41 dates being cancelled, after West, on his Sacramento stop, embarked on a rant lasting roughly 20 minutes, ending the show.[15] West was admitted to psychiatric observation at UCLA Medical Center after the incident.[16]

In May 2017, news began to surface that West was working on his new album "on top of a mountain in Wyoming" in seclusion.[17][18] In March 2018, similar reports had emerged through various artists, including West himself, who was being spotted in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.[19] The other artists were pictured or rumored, including Kid Cudi, Nas, King Louie, Pi'erre Bourne, ASAP Bari, Wheezy, The-Dream, Travis Scott and The World Famous Tony Williams.[20][21] Record producer Mike Dean alluded in a Twitter post to the recording sessions for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which were similarly recorded in secrecy in Hawaii.[22] In April 2018, West met with Rick Rubin, who is the executive producer on West's previous two albums, Yeezus (2013) and The Life of Pablo (2016).[23] West previewed the album for radio host Charlamagne tha God.[24]

In an interview with West conducted during the album's listening party, West said he "redid the whole album after TMZ," referring to a controversial interview on May 1 in which he implied that slavery was a choice, and suggesting that the entire album was re-recorded in a month.[25] Featured artist 070 Shake said in a later interview that the album was still being worked on up until the day before it came out.[2] West's wife Kim Kardashian reconfirmed this saying that she had West cut a line from the album on the way to the May 31 listening party and that Ye was redone over the course of just two weeks.[7]

Artwork and title[edit]

A view of the Teton Range from the Jackson Hole valley, similar to the view depicted in the cover art for Ye.

The artwork for Ye was taken by West on his iPhone on his way to his album listening party on May 31, 2018, hours before the release of the album. It features a view of the Teton Range from Jackson Hole, the area where the album was recorded and produced, with the text reading "I hate being Bi-Polar / its awesome [sic]" scribbled on it in green.[26] West explained the album title, which is a diminutive of his own name commonly used in his songs, by stating: "I believe "ye" is the most commonly used word in the Bible, and in the Bible it means "you". So I'm you, I'm us, it's us. It went from Kanye, which means "the only one," to just Ye – just being a reflection of our good, our bad, our confused, everything. The album is more of a reflection of who we are."[27]

Release and promotion[edit]

West announced the release date for his eighth solo album, June 1, via Twitter on April 19, 2018. Additional announcements included the release date of his collaborative album with Kid Cudi titled Kids See Ghosts to be released on June 8, a Teyana Taylor album to be released June 22, and Pusha T's album, Daytona, released on May 25.[28] On April 22, West announced over Twitter a Nas album to be released June 15, and then clarified that all albums announced by him were to be produced by him.[29]

West promised on Twitter on April 27 to "drop a song with a verse that will bring Ebro the closure he's been seeking" referring to Ebro Darden's criticism of his recent support for President Donald Trump.[30] The song, "Lift Yourself", starts with an instrumental for the first two minutes, heavily sampling "Liberty" by the group Amnesty. When West appears, he begins rapping nonsensical words, including "Poopy-di scoop / Scoop-diddy-whoop" and then the song abruptly ends shortly after.[31] West premiered a song two hours after "Lift Yourself" titled "Ye vs. the People" featuring T.I.[32] The song is structured like a back and forth conversation between T.I. and Kanye West, with T.I. playing the role of West's fans offended by his political views, with West replying to him by defending himself and his stance.[33][34]

On April 28, 2018, Kanye West tweeted a text conversation between him and Wes Lang.[35] The text conversation included West showing the initial cover for the album, and an explanation of its concept, followed by him asking for help naming the album. Lang replied, "LOVE EVERYONE", to which West replied "I love that." The presented cover art showed plastic surgeon Jan Adams who performed a liposuction and mammoplasty operation on West's mother, Donda West, which led to complications and eventually her death a day after.[36] Within the texts, West explains that he wants to "forgive and stop hating", implying that the situation regarding his mother's death led to him harboring hatred for the plastic surgeon.[citation needed] On April 30, Adams responded to the news of the cover in the form of an open letter, asking West to "cease and desist using my photo or any image of me to promote your album or any of your work", citing evidence from the official coroner's report on Donda West's death which shows negligence of Donda West's nurse in the aftercare being a factor in her death, that the actual surgery was performed properly, and adds that he is willing to sit down with West to have a face to face conversation.[37] West responded to the letter on his Twitter saying, "This is amazing. Thank you so much for this connection brother. I can't wait to sit with you and start healing."[38]

West posted a video on Twitter on May 15 that featured possible working track-listings of the upcoming albums he is working on.[39][40]

A listening party took place for the album on May 31 in Jackson, Wyoming, with West broadcasting a livestream of the listening party through the WAV app. The listening party invited a variety of guests, such as Chris Rock, Ty Dolla Sign, Kim Kardashian, Kid Cudi, Lil Yachty, Nas, Pusha T, Fabolous, Desiigner, 2 Chainz, Big Sean, Candace Owens, Cyhi The Prynce and others, and the album title was announced.[41][42]

Singles[edit]

On June 11, "Yikes" was released as the lead single from the album.[4] The song had charted at number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 upon the release of the album. After it had been released as a single, the track made its debut at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart.[43] The song, "All Mine" was released on July 24 as a single as well. It peaked at number 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Music videos[edit]

There were never any music videos released for the album, but lyric videos for "All Mine" and "Violent Crimes" were released on Jun 18, 2018 to West's Vevo account.[44] Both were themed with the album's cover art. There is also a 1:45 second promotional video of the album listening party that plays on Kanye West's website featuring the song, "I Thought About Killing You" and "Ghost Town".[45]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?6.2/10[46]
Metacritic64/100[47]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[48]
The A.V. ClubB[49]
Consequence of SoundB[50]
The Daily Telegraph4/5 stars[51]
Entertainment WeeklyC+[52]
The Guardian4/5 stars[53]
The Independent2/5 stars[54]
NME3/5 stars[55]
Pitchfork7.1/10[56]
Rolling Stone2.5/5 stars[57]

Ye received a lukewarm response from critics, most of whom found it inferior to West's previous albums.[58] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, Ye received an average score of 64, based on 32 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[47]

In a positive review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis stated: "For all its brevity, Ye doesn't feel slight. Substantially more focused than its predecessor, it packs a lot into 23 minutes. It is bold, risky, infuriating, compelling and a little exhausting: a vivid reflection of its author."[53] Lucy Jones of The Daily Telegraph wrote that Ye is "an album about Kanye's state of mind, his family, and a narration of what's been going on in his "shaky-ass year". The beats are great. Lyrically, it's fine. Whatever you think of his politics, his songwriting, sample-hunting and beat-making remain dynamic, surprising and ballsy."[51] Clayton Purdom of The A.V. Club concluded that Kanye West "can still create thunderous blasts of sound on par with anyone on the planet, and Ye's best moments are reminders of that. It's a prismatic album, reflecting its creator's entire body of work—and also whatever you think about him going in."[49]

In a mixed review for AllMusic, Neil Z. Yeung stated that the album "can feel uneven, sometimes boring, and more indulgent than usual, but it's a fascinating peek into West's psyche", praising the "delectable beat" and "addictive flow" of "Yikes", the "glimmer of hope" in "Ghost Town", the "touching" "Wouldn't Leave" and the incorporation of West's earlier style in "No Mistakes".[48] Kyle Mullin from Exclaim! wrote that "if West had better delved into his emotional and psychological turmoil in Ye's lyrics, instead of getting bogged down with click-baity asides, then this LP would've been a classic."[59] For Billboard, Eric Brown stated: "It's tough to ignore Ye's musical stasis; known for his forward motion, on this set, West remains mired in the past", also commenting that "It's a missed opportunity in the sense that it fails to measure up to his previous work and change the conversation around him."[60] Similarly, Wren Graves of Consequence of Sound believed that "on Ye, he's consolidating old skills, not testing out new ones", adding that "the lack of wow-factor, combined with the short length, makes the album feel somewhat slight", however he noted that West "restores focus to his artistic vision", praising the album's concise nature.[50] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone described Ye as "wildly uneven" with "enough sporadic flashes of brilliance to make you hungry for much, much more."[57] Robert Christgau gave the album a one-star honorable mention in his capsule-review column for Vice, calling it a "half-assed attempt to make asshattery germane again", while singling out "All Mine" and "Yikes" as highlights.[61]

In a negative review, Zachary Hoskins of Slant Magazine described the album as "a mix of the weakest moments from The Life of Pablo", stating that it "just feels unfinished, as if he wanted to avoid another debacle like the rollout of the also-unfinished [Pablo] and turned in a rough draft to make deadline."[62] Ross Horton, writing for The Line of Best Fit, criticized the album, stating that "there's no through-line. No concept. No consistency. There's certainly no quality control."[63] Meaghan Garvey of Pitchfork wrote that "the problem with Ye is not that it was made by an unrepentant asshole, but that it is thoroughly, exhaustingly boring—a word I never imagined would apply to a generation's most reliable innovator."[56] When discussing the album's content concerning mental health, HipHopDX believed that West is not able to "cover such a weighty subject in just 23 minutes."[64] For Spin, Jordan Sargent wrote that "there is nothing new to be learned from this album burdened by crudely formed raps about his already exhaustively covered life and deeply muddled politics". He criticised West's "parasitic" presence on the album as "unrepentantly sour and hopelessly misguided, rapping about both universal issues and those entirely of his own creation with the insight of a thumbtack", but praised the album's musicality, which he wrote "at times almost makes it worth it". Sargent concluded: "Kanye used to justify such flights of imagination, his albums obsessively dissected, ranked, and considered in the grand pantheon of human artistic achievement. Ye makes expending that sort of mental energy seem incredibly silly. Let us never speak of it again".[65]

Commercial performance[edit]

Ye debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 208,000 album-equivalent units, of which 85,000 were pure album sales, making it the fifth-biggest week of the year, and the seventh-largest streaming debut week ever with 120,000 SEA units. The album was West's eighth number one in a row, helping him tie Eminem (2000–2018, a still-active streak) and The Beatles (1965-1968) as the only acts to accumulate eight consecutive number-one albums. West also became the only other act apart from Eminem to achieve eight consecutive number-one debuts.Ye also recorded the second largest per-track streaming average ever, receiving 25.7 million on-demand audio streams.[66] The album dropped 65% in its second week, moving 74,000 units.[67]

All seven tracks debuted in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, helping place West joint-tenth on the list for most top 40 entries on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as the eleventh act with as many as seven simultaneous top 40 Hot 100 entries.[68] Also, all seven tracks debuted in the ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles Chart.[69] As well as this, the two tracks "Ghost Town" and "All Mine" charted in the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart, along with lead single "Yikes". [70]

Track listing[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal[71] and Qobuz.[72]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."I Thought About Killing You"4:34
2."Yikes"
3:08
3."All Mine"
  • West
  • Dean[a]
  • Francis and the Lights[b]
  • Scott Carter[b]
2:25
4."Wouldn't Leave" (featuring PartyNextDoor)
3:25
5."No Mistakes"
2:03
6."Ghost Town" (featuring PartyNextDoor)
  • West
  • Dean[a]
  • Francis and the Lights[b]
  • Benny Blanco[b]
  • Goldstein[b]
4:31
7."Violent Crimes"
3:35
Total length:23:41

Notes

Sample credits

  • "I Thought About Killing You" contains an uncredited sample from "Fr3sh", as performed by Kareem Lotfy.[73]
  • "Yikes" contains a sample from "Kothbiro", as performed by Black Savage.[74]
  • "Wouldn't Leave" contains a sample from "Baptizing Scene", as performed by Reverend W.A. Donaldson.[74]
  • "No Mistakes" contains a sample from "Children (Get Together)", as performed by Edwin Hawkins Singers; and "Hey Young World", as performed by Slick Rick.[74]
  • "Ghost Town" contain a sample from "Take Me for a Little While", as performed by The Royal Jesters; and "Someday", as performed by Shirley Ann Lee.[75][76]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[71]

  • Mike Dean – engineering, mixing
  • Mike Malchicoff – engineering
  • Zack Djurich – engineering
  • Andrew Dawson – engineering (tracks 2, 7), programming (tracks 2, 7)
  • William J. Sullivan – engineering (track 5)
  • Noah Goldstein – recording engineering (tracks 2, 4), engineering (track 6)
  • Mauricio Iragorri – recording engineering (track 6)
  • Sean Solymar – assistant recording engineering (tracks 1–5)
  • Jess Jackson – mixing
  • Mike Snell – assistant remix engineering (track 7)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2018) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[77] 1
Australian Urban Albums (ARIA)[78] 1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[79] 12
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[80] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[81] 18
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[82] 1
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[83] 3
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[84] 2
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[85] 3
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[86] 10
French Albums (SNEP)[87] 51
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[88] 25
Irish Albums (IRMA)[89] 1
Italian Albums (FIMI)[90] 18
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[91] 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[92] 2
Scottish Albums (OCC)[93] 13
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[94] 59
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[95] 5
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[96] 7
UK Albums (OCC)[97] 2
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[98] 1
US Billboard 200[99] 1
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[100] 1

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label Ref.
Various June 1, 2018 [6]
July 20, 2018 CD [101]
July 27, 2018 Vinyl [102]

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