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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Kanye Might Be A Dick, But That Hasn't Stopped A Record Number of People From Streaming The Life of Pablo

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2016 at 2:37 PM

click to enlarge virgilabloh_2016-feb-11.0.0.jpg
It's only the fourth month of 2016 and I already know — WITHOUT A DOUBT — that Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo is the best album of the year. The eclectic, gospel-infused album, which features the likes of Ty Dolla Sign, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, and Chance The Rapper, to name but a few, is a masterpiece. Sure, I might be biased, but I'm by no means a Kanye fan. Before TLOP, I was the-egomaniac-known-as-Yeezus' biggest hater. He's a narcissistic and a jerk and a misogynist. Not to mention, his last album, Yeezus, was a cacophonous disaster that melded too many disparate sounds and genres into one package. 

Given Kanye's penchant for patchwork quilt-esque songs and bumbling, far-from-subtle transitions, I had low expectations for TLOP. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that my boyfriend copped a burned CD of the album, I probably wouldn't have even given it a listen. But I did. And I've been listening to it on repeat ever since. (The album dropped on Feb. 14, so that means I've been jamming to it for seven weeks straight now.)

Like Yeezus, TLOP is diverse and rooted in more than one genre (dub, hip-hop, gospel, soul, R&B, and electronic). But this time around, it works. Each song is different from the next — there's a capella freestyles, gospel solos, trap bangers, pop ballads, and mellow raps. And there's also a whole lot of auto-tuning, which, though overdone at times, actually sounds pretty good in some cases. Kanye has a harsh voice and the auto-tuning definitely softened it up when needed. 

Is this a biased review of TLOP? Yes, but I'm not alone. Today, Nielsen Music announced that the album was streamed 250 million times globally in its first 10 days of release. (That's 150 million more streams than Justin Bieber got when Purpose came out in November. Who knew there were more Yeezus acolytes than Beliebers in the world?) UPDATE: As of Monday, March 28, the album had been streamed over 400 million times. 

Not only that, but the album is ONLY available for streaming through Jay Z's music streaming service Tidal, which is saying a lot in terms of how badly people wanted to hear the album. 

Let's not forget, too, that Kanye is a dick. Legions of people, including myself, hate the guy. And yet, as the numbers prove, there's no denying that he's a talented artist/producer. 

In other words, haters gonna hate, but they're also gonna listen. 

Update: Def Jam has confirmed that the album will be available for streaming on all major sites by midnight on Friday, April 1. Whether this is an April Fool's joke or not, we'll have to see. 

Update: It's not an April Fool's joke. Stream the album below. 

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Jessie Schiewe


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