Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Kanye West – All Mine

Want more Ye takes? We’ve got the scoop-di-dee-whoop right here!


Juan F. Carruyo: The first meaningless Kanye single, and thank God. 

Will Rivitz: Kanye the lyricist is dead and gone (“I love your titties ’cause they prove I can focus on two things at once”), but Kanye the producer and sonic overseer is at least still with us. Others will likely (and rightfully) excoriate the content of what he’s saying, but as of the past two album cycles Kanye’s remained excellent pretty much exclusively because of his instrumentals: here, the elasticity of the bass’s minimalism careens around untethered until the massively distorted claps of the second verse grind it to a halt. No matter how glorious his previous maximalism, nobody strips it down quite like Kanye.

Stephen Eisermann: As if his ridiculous politics weren’t bad enough, he follows up his ludicrous statements with… this? Between the weird Kardashian drama in here coupled with terrible lines like, “none of us would be here without cum,” I’m just not sure what to make of Kanye anymore. The production is interesting and makes me long for College Dropout Kanye, but I’m starting to believe maybe that was more of a one-off and everything after seemed better by association — because this, this is not good.

Katherine St Asaph: Ye, if nothing else, is proof that no amount of genius or creativity can make a polished masterpiece of a rush job. But to those concerned about the decline of Kanye’s lyrics and/or quality control, allow me to remind you of the existence of “Drunk and Hot Girls,” or his verse on “Knock You Down,” or — actually, if he can release an unedited brainstorm, I don’t need to finish either.

Alfred Soto: From bits on Beyonce and The-Dream songs to his own meisterworks, Kanye’s been stupid about women for years. Using staccato Trevor Horn-inspired shrieks with the help of Francis and the Lights, he conjures a private hell — his own VIP room in which he encourages no one to appear, not even his sexual fantasies. Too vaporous to make an impression — it’s received smut.

Jonathan Bradley: In 2005, Kanye thought he needed a Nia Long. In 2010, it was “some light-skinned girls and some Kelly Rowlands.” Now it’s Kerry Washington, Naomi Campbell, and — dear me, I nearly fell asleep writing this out — Stormy Daniels. In 2004, he was trawling through Black Planet; this year it’s Christian Mingle. My issue isn’t with West repeating himself — even if Ye gives the uncomfortable impression that its author’s once restless creativity can be resolved to a selection of tabloid quips and abrupt production punch-ins — but with the way he abandons any attempt at situating his pop-culture nods within a wider thematic or narrative context. It’s rap as listed trending topics: a refusal to allow us to consider that Kanye West might still be more than his Twitter account. From “On Sight” to Extremely Online in five short years.

Tim de Reuse: “Bound 2,” released almost exactly five years ego, was a fever dream collapsing, wherein Kanye wrestled with his own monogamous urges like a failed organ transplant; the lines “Maybe we could still make it to the church steps / But first, you gon’ remember how to forget” had an immediate, satisfying narrative finality, the kind of line that you hear right before the credits roll. Then, take this paper-thin single that sees the fever dream back up and running, like nothing ever happened — no deeper theme beyond Ant Clemons talking about his dick, no actual content beyond a few jokes that might have been worth a chuckle were the whole thing not so depressingly empty — a no-calorie cable TV spinoff held fast at an indeterminate moment of non-time, status quo tortuously maintained. If there’s actually something more interesting to talk about here, it’s buried under layers and layers of twitterverse context. You could spend your time digging through them if you wanted to, but you could also spend your time listening to literally anything else.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: “All Mine,” like the rest of Ye, is the work of a genius. I’m not saying it’s really that good — it’s weak lyrically and very inconsistent, but Ye‘s brilliance shines through every nook and cranny (this record, along with DaytonaKids See Ghosts and Nasir are proof that he’s still in the top five of the best rap producers ever). True genius does not care about clean and perfect; there’s always something broken, raw, real. Some people hate Kanye being called a genius, but almost no one in modern music fits that label as him. I compare Mr. West to Salvador Dalí (particularly on his obsession with money/celebrity and his problematic romance with ultra-conservative ideas) and, like him, his body of work is quite spotty. But also like the painter, there’s an insatiable search for transcendence, and one can recognize an innate ability to create something powerful and iconic in each of Ye‘s strokes. Like Kanye, Dalí had a weird, dark dystopian period (Yeezus), an ultra-religious phase (Pablo) and a time where he favored austerity (Ye). These all happened after he “peaked,” way after he actively tried to make something perfect (MBDTF). But genius doesn’t peak, it just evolves and travels wildly wherever it wishes to go. Kanye is rightfully criticised about a lot of things (like the Trump love or the slavery comments), but to “cancel” him would be to shut down a conversation that should remain open. This song is kind of a portrait on where he is in his life right now. Many call it a “dad/old man record,” and yes, that’s what he is too. Is it as good as others in his discography? Does it really matter? Are we really gonna shit on him for not trying to make a second MBDTF? Dalí unveiled his perceived masterpiece “The Persistence of Memory” in 1931. Then, his work ranged from dreamscapes, to historical and religious scenes. But sometimes he just wanted to paint his sister next to a window or his wife with a swan. That’s what “All Mine” is at heart.

Nicholas Donohoue: Nihilism, misogyny, crassness, and misery. Effective in making the listener sullen, and that’s most certainly the point. The organ dropping out, the debasement of sexuality to body parts and celebrity, a clunking beat mixed with horror movie stock sounds. I wish this were easy to brush off, but the production details work too well technically and the outside context of Kanye West and what he used to mean has me curling my fists. I guess I care despite it all. 

Reader average: [3.28] (7 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Comments are closed.