Kanye West's "Wyoming Sessions" - Was The Music Worth The Headache?
So there you have it! Those were the Kanye-produced projects that we were waiting for. Pusha T's "DAYTONA", Kanye's "ye", Kanye & Cudi's "KIDS SEE GHOSTS", Nas' "NASIR" and Teyana Taylor's "K.T.S.E". Five projects, all primarily produced by Kanye West.
I don't know about you, but bloody hell. All that hullabaloo before the actual music! Was not worth it.
But I don't want this to be a rage session. It isn't a rage session. I am not a Kanye stan but I respect him as a producer. Everything else? Miss me with all of that. I want to look at it all from a bird's eye view. Let's look at the past few months and really try to contextualise the feat that Kanye has taken.
This is how I will frame this. Firstly, I will start with the negatives, then the positives and then look at the "albums" in the lens of said positives & negatives!
Negative - They're EP's, Not Albums
Now this can be subject to opinion, but according to the Official Charts Company, they class a digital album as:
"Over 25 minutes OR more than four songs where the format does not qualify as a “Maxi” single or remix single as defined by singles eligibility."
So since EP's are a step below albums, it means that a "by-the-book" EP are under 25 minutes or four (or less) songs. But let's look at the keyword there. OR. You can have an EP over four songs and under 25 minutes. Sounds a lot like the five "albums" in question!
Granted, this is a personal negative, a personal "grind my gears" if you will, but it does bring me to the next negative.
Negative - The Sloppiness
I'm sorry. I know that nobody will care about this 10 years from now and I'm most likely going to sound like a snobby music fan saying this... But how can you fail to deliver projects on the release dates YOU GAVE YOURSELF?! Nobody asked Kanye to stack these projects up and release them week after week. If you confirm release dates, release them!
In no other form of entertainment, can you get away with saying that "This will drop on this date" and miss it. If you're in film, print, radio, TV, fashion, whatever job where there's deadlines! If you miss that deadline, your credibility is immediately called into question. I repeat, he gave himself(!!) the deadlines! I am not here for day late EP's! In the long run, it doesn't matter, but I think you can either see it as Kanye trying to push himself, or Kanye knowing that we'll wait regardless of whether he sets the date or not.
Let's be real, it's the latter.
We can also look at the fact that at least three of the five EP's were finished hours before their releases. Oh, how edgy to get the artwork of your EP on the way to the listening party of said EP! Miss. Me. With. That. That isn't genius. It's simplistic and gets the job done. Clearly he had some more pressing matters to attend to, such as FINISHING THE TRACKS.
Positive - With That Said... This Was An Incredible Undertaking
Think about this. One of the greatest producers of All-Time, produced five half decent-to-great 7-track EP's, all with their own unique elements in the space of less than a year. That is quite a feat. Regardless whether you think he failed or succeeded with these "Wyoming Sessions", the fact that he even attempted this after a very turbulent time in his life, that will ultimately be the overriding opinion 10 Years from now. This is one of those legacy moves that can truly be appreciated in this social media era and we may not be able to see it now, but this is a significant chapter in the book of Kanye West.
Pusha T - DAYTONA - In my opinion, the most "complete" project out of the five. I think the first track "If You Know You Know" says it all. If you have been about Pusha T, you will like this, simple as that. And... You know... He handed Drake his first official L so that's a bonus.
Kanye West - ye/KIDS SEE GHOSTS - Yes, I am putting these two projects together. Let me tell you why. Because it is clear that the two are connected, the most notable thing we can point out is that there is a "Ghost Town" parts 1 & 2. But even as I say that, it is also clear that Kanye put way more focus in the Kid Cudi collab than his own project. "ye" is pound for pound his worst project in my opinion, KSG is probably the 2nd best out of the "Wyoming Sessions" and while I'm here, let me ask you something.
I wonder if Kanye really wants the aura Cudi has but can never bottle it like Cudi. The hums, the cadence. I have always had this niggling thought that Kanye only messes with Cudi so he can one up Cudi at his own game. This is pure speculation on my part but honestly, I wish they would just do KSG but actually long enough to be an album.
We really don't respect Cudi's influence to music & culture enough.
Nas - NASIR - This was without a doubt, the most disapointing of them all, maybe the most disappointing body of work in 2018. Out of all the artists with their names on these projects. Nas is the only one that can say with legitimacy that he is a bigger name than Kanye.
Nasir Jones. How can you tell me, two years ago on a DJ Khaled record, that your album is done and then this is what I hear? Let me be crystal clear. I am not criticising Nas' lyrics or subject matter. As a lyricist, he got the job done as always. But the reason why I said in the previous paragraph that he could say he's bigger than Kanye, is because he shouldn't have given Kanye all of the keys. How the hell is Kanye going vocal for vocal with The Dream (Who is an ACTUAL VOCALIST) for half a track? No! You don't have time to waste on a seven track EP! He had his chance to sing his heart out on two projects, I don't want to hear this on your EP Nas!
I say all this, in the belief that the real "Nas Album Done" is somewhere on a couple of hard drives. Kanye scratched Nas' back here and vice-versa, but you can't tell me that was the album Nas talked about two years ago. So. Once again. I'm sit in waiting.
Teyana Taylor - K.T.S.E - I feel a little sorry for Teyana Taylor, because I think we can all agree that this was the least anticipated EP of the five. She was overshadowed by everybody else, but at least the project was okay. Full disclosure, I only listened to this for the sake of writing this article, but then again, she didn't do this for my demographic. Again, it was a good listen though.
So... Five EP's to stand the test of time, amongst a lot of political angst, sloppy delivery and personal issues. I ask again, was it all worth the trolling, triggering and collective shaking of heads? In my opinion, no. He could've easily just dropped release dates and then focused on the work. But heaven forbid, we have to have the extra stuff. This all takes me back to an article I read a couple of months ago by Ta-Nehisi-Coates, give it a read if you want, I highly recommend it. But if not, let me say this.
Kanye West is a person that wants to be understood so badly, and tries very hard to express it in his music, but his actions away from the music ends up hazing the art, causing us to wonder which is true and, for some of us, get exhausted trying to figure it out. It's frustrating but, as always, it's very enticing.
Still not buying his crap shoes though...