Following a 2008 of misfortune (the death of his mother, the dissolution of his engagement), hip-hop's enigmatic impresario Kanye West returns, a bit more somber, slightly more urgent, but still pushing boundaries, on his fourth record, 808S & HEARTBREAK. From the first track, the sprawling, drum-n-bass-propelled "Say You Will," and from the ubiquitous lead single, the propulsive "Love's Lockdown," it is clear that West is venturing further into the electronic sound he explored on GRADUATION.
West has decreed that all beats on 808S be derived from the Roland TR-808 for a more "tribal feel," and he distorts his voice at will, producing a surreal sound, one bordering on a robot having a mental breakdown. On this adventurous album, West is King Lear's Edgar, a sharp-minded philosopher lost in the forest of despair, unsure how to react, how to perceive reality. That's not to say that he's simply wallowing, even on the most despondent "Welcome to Heartbreak," a tribute to his mother. While 808S is an album that may be challenging at times, it's also often hypnotic and unquestionably catchy--basically, everything one might want from a Kanye West album.
- Format: Vinyl
- Released: 3/18/2014
- Genre: Pop