Peach-orange back drop, columns of bold black letters, an old wedding photo and a picture of model Sheniz Halil. That is what comprises the cover of rapper Kanye West’s newest album “The Life of Pablo”, or “T.L.O.P.” Contrary to what fans have come to expect from the hip-hop mogul, the cover art of “T.L.O.P” strayed from the typical vibrant designs seen from West, and took a more simplistic approach.
However, the simplistic design is quite fitting for this particular album. In all of West’s previous works: “808s and Heartbreaks”, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, “The College Dropout”, etc., West has redefined the trends in the rap genre. Yet with “T.L.O.P”, he is not redefining anything. West may be one of the best producers on the planet, but the majority of his new album does not represent his true musical ability. While his past projects have been as complicated as their covers, this album is almost as one-dimensional as it looks.
It is not that the songs are repulsive, but that compared to his previous work this one mightily disappoints. Many of the songs sound rushed, and the scattered use of auto tune and spotty production makes the album look more like a patchwork quilt, than a finished masterpiece.
One of the only bright spots on “T.L.O.P” was West’s collaborations with other rappers. The song “Ultralight Beams” almost carries the album on its own, as Chicago-born rapper Chance the Rapper has perhaps one of the best verses so far in 2016. In addition, the song “No More Parties in LA” is spectacular due to fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar’s monster verse. “The Life of Pablo” is decent, but only when West is not rapping. Ultimately, I would still recommend giving this album a listen, but only because it is Kanye West. Do not expect to be impressed though, because “T.L.O.P” is as much a mess as West has become in recent years.