On the first day of this wonderful month of June, Kanye West released his highly anticipated album, which he named “ye.” It was greeted with extremely mixed opinions, with even some of the most devout Kanye fans failing to see the merit in the seven-song, 23-minute “album.” Everyone that is not a Yeezus stan seemed to echo that sentiment and often tweeted the trashcan emoji or shouted from the mountaintops that, “If Kanye released 30 minutes of blank space and told his fans to imagine the music, they would still call him a genius.” (As a devout fan of ye, I can attest to this fact and would even one up that and say if he released a 2 hour epic that was a six-minute track of silence followed by 1 hour and 54 minutes of literal diarrhea embedded into his normal beats, I would still listen twice a day).
This time of year is my favorite to write for Student Union because I get to write about guys that are technically not in college anymore, but can justify it with some bull shit like “well they haven’t been drafted yet so they still fall under our wing.” This led to one of my favorite articles I have written for the site, which compared six of the top draft prospects from last year’s class to songs off of Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.” which is and forever will be a masterpiece (you can read this as either a reference to my article or the album, it works both ways).
I decided that I would do a reprise of this idea, and luckily, Kanye released his polarizing track list just in time for me to listen to it the hundred times I feel necessary before writing anything of meaning about it.
I Thought About Killing You, Collin Sexton
This song is how Kanye opens his album, and honestly, only Kanye can open an album this way. It is two minutes and 19 seconds of a spoken monologue that is fairly ramble-y and has no main point other than, “I might kill you because I like you less than me and I consistently think about killing me.” Then the beat comes in and it is a really unbelievable piece of hip hop music. He even tells the entire Muslim community that he is about to “go dumb.” I can not imagine why Muslims would care that he is about to go dumb or even if they are aware of what he means by that, but he lets them know, and that’s honorable.
Collin Sexton is a killer. He has that mentality that somehow Kobe has marketed as his own. He does not want to beat opponents, he wants to rip their hearts out and step on the hearts and laugh at his opponents. This is honestly his biggest selling point outside of his finishing ability and his defense. But at only 6-1, his elite finishing ability and his high-level defense are a testament to his tenacity. He is a killer.
Yikes, Mo Bamba
Yikes is a commonly used exclamation. Even when you don’t shout it, it’s something that very often crosses your mind. It has hundreds of meaning. “Yikes, was that a rat in this restaurant?” “Yikes, is that twitter report real?” Even “Yikes! Maybe I should go help my buddy out of this incredibly awkward social situation.” In this song, Kanye gives it an entirely new meaning while speaking on his battles including mental health and bipolar disorder. It is the hard-hitting bop of the album and is one that can work whether you are alone or at a summer party. It stands out alone on an album filled with deeply introspective tracks, but attacks the same themes Kanye is considering throughout.
I wrote in depth on Mo Bamba on Monday, mainly making a case for him being the number one pick. The main reason I have to say something that outlandish in a draft where DeAndre Ayton appears to be the clear number one pick is because Mo Bamba makes me say “Yikes!” Following his freshman season at Texas, which included 3.7 blocks per game and leading a team while being a defense-first center, I said it. After his measurements of 6-11 with a 7-10 wingspan surfaced, I shouted it. When his 3/4 court sprint was marked at 3.04 seconds (faster than John Wall and Russell Westbrook), I inaudibly watched my jaw drop to the floor as I fell to the floor off my couch. Mo can be summed up in one word, and that word is “Yikes.”
Ghost Town, Michael Porter Jr.
Ghost Town is the masterpiece of this album. If you have not listened to it, but are familiar with Kanye, it is the Ultralight Beam of ye. As an outro, there is a resounding sentiment of “I put my hand on the stove/to see if I still bleed/And nothing hurts anymore/I feel kinda free,” which is an incredible outro by a new artist on Kanye’s label named 070 Shake. The most amazing part of this section of the song is it stands out in a song that also features hip hop mainstays Kid Cudi and John Legend.
All of this has a lot of sentiment for Michael Porter Jr. His back problems have been heavily documented and reported throughout his basically nonexistent college season and also his high school career. At some point (hopefully) he will be injury free. When this happens, he will be one of the best young players in the NBA. He has point forward abilities with a shot (I am directly taking a shot at the love of my life Ben Simmons here). Also, he has the ability to stand out on almost any NBA lineup, even as a young buck.
Violent Crimes, Miles Bridges
I’m not going to break down this song because I think it is beautiful and filled with interesting contradictions. But just looking at it, there are two ways you can think of this.
A) you haven’t listened to the song and think it’s about what the title is. In that case, it’s obvious Miles Bridges is the guy because he has and will consistently murder very large grown men on the basketball court.
B) you have listened to the song and you know what it’s about and in that case I need to explain the comparison. Miles Bridges is going to make a lot of NBA players his children this year. The song is of course about Kanye realizing what it means to be a parent and respecting women, but Miles is just going to be making grown men his kids by dunking them into the ground. He’ll do it to guards and bigs. He did it in college and he will do it again.