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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

“VULTURES 1:” The Mighty Have Fallen

Kanye West reaches a new low in the first installment of his “Vultures” trilogy.
Photo Courtesy / YouTube Kanye West

“That’s enough, Mr. West, please, no more today” Kanye West states on his 2007 track “Everything I Am,” which is a statement that rings more true 17 years later.

On Feb. 9, Kanye West surprisingly released his much delayed and much anticipated collab album with Ty Dolla $ign, “VULTURES 1.” The release of his 13th studio album sees West under a myriad of controversies—mostly surrounding his appearance on Alex Jones’ “InfoWars” where West praised Adolf Hitler, which led to other anti semitic remarks West repeated on Twitter. 

In the months following this outburst, West continued to publicly unravel as Adidas and Balenciaga ended their sponsorships with him. Causing him to “apologize” on Instagram, saying that Jonah Hill’s performance in “21 Jump Street” made him “like jewish people again.”

After all the controversy, West still released “VULTURES 1” to mass divide. Some praised the project as continued brilliance from West while others saw it as a massive disappointment. So, which is it?

It is an absolute disaster in every sense of the word. The 16 song tracklist is home to West’s most uninspired work with some of the most distasteful lyrics to ever grace a mainstream rap album. 

The album is completely devoid of any of the self loathing or understanding seen in his previous projects. Take “The Life of Pablo” or the self-titled “ye,” which saw him accept his flaws and take some responsibility for his actions, but he almost doubles down on his remarks in “VULTURES 1.”

Many have run with this comparison to “The Life of Pablo,” due to the chaos and almost incoherent flow that “VULTURES 1” exhibits. But here this chaos is a casualty–disorientingly so–instead of the clever, deliberate anarchy woven into all of “The Life of Pablo.” This chaos stems from the horrid production of each track. 

Whether it be the annoying earworm sample in “HOODRAT” or the incessant repeating of an even more annoying phrase from the film “Dogma” in the fifth track “BACK TO ME,” it’s clear that West has completely lost his ear for sampling. All of these beats are abrasive and sound completely unfinished; it doesn’t help that the aforementioned lyrical content is disgusting at best.

Kanye West is no stranger to questionable lyrics but “VULTURES 1” contains his most insensitive verses. The highlight of this insensitivity being on the most popular track: “CARNIVAL.” In a shameless display, West compares himself to R. Kelly, Bill Cosby and Puff Daddy (three known sex offenders) then says he is “MeToo rich,” which is perhaps the most tasteless way to say you’re wealthy. 

As the project goes on, West continues with jarring lyricism such as his verse on the title track. On this verse he disputes those that call him anti-semetic by speaking of his past relations with a Jewish woman and then mentioning the Columbine tragedy, a line that repeats a number of times in the song. 

West closes this album with the track “KING,” he dispels the labels he has garnered. “Crazy, bipolar, antisemite and I’m still the king” he proudly proclaims which could not be further from the truth.

The second half of this collab album, Ty Dolla $ign, is barely even worth mentioning. Sure, he has some solid crooning moments and nice choruses but any contribution he has is dwarfed by the massive ego of Kanye West.

Just like any other Kanye West album, there are a number of guest features from some big names. Artists like Travis Scott, Quavo, Chris Brown and YG make appearances but these features feel a little weak and don’t add much to the final product. Travis Scott specifically disappoints with a very disjointed and awkward verse on “FUK SUMN.”

Playboi Carti also appears on this track, being one of his two appearances on the album. Carti is not a saving grace for this project but he does fine with what he is given. His verse on “CARNIVAL” is fun, as is Rich The Kid’s performance on the same song. 

Likely the best addition to this project is Freddie Gibbs, who does his best to salvage “BACK TO ME” with a solid feature. North West is funnily enough more enjoyable to listen to than most other features with her goofiness on “TALKING.” While these features don’t make the whole experience worth enduring at all, they add some value to this trainwreck.

“VULTURES 1” can best serve as a warning sign to other artists, showing how hard someone so successful can fall. It is borderline unlistenable and in comparison to West’s other work it seems like a joke. For the crowd saying to separate the artist from the art; it is impossible when the art is the artist and especially when the art is this bad.

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About the Contributor
James Williams, Asst. Sports Editor
James is a sophomore journalism student serving his first year as Assistant Sports Editor. Outside of writing for The Torch, James can be found rooting for every Philadelphia sports team, watching a wide variety of shows and movies or listening to his favorite artists Beach House and Bob Dylan while on runs. James can be reached at [email protected]
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    Young SantiagoMar 11, 2024 at 3:23 pm

    STILL THE KING 👑

    Reply