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The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

The Student-Run News Site of Carnegie Vanguard High School

Upstream News

Review: The wait for Vultures 1 is over, but was it worth it?

An honest review of Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign’s collaborative album from two die-hard Kanye fans
Cover art for the first single, Vultures, released on November 22nd, 2023 from Kanye and Ty Dolla $igns collaborative album.
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Cover art for the first single, Vultures, released on November 22nd, 2023 from Kanye and Ty Dolla $ign’s collaborative album.

Kanye West, now legally known as Ye, is a man who needs no introduction. To some, he’s the man who made “Graduation”. To others, he’s the man who has made every offensive and controversial statement under the sun. Either way, West has successfully thrust himself into the spotlight, whether that be one of honorable esteem or infamous notoriety.

In Aug. 2023 when Ye announced that he was in the process of writing and producing a new album in collaboration with fellow acclaimed rapper Ty Dolla $ign, the news became naturally contagious. This anticipation, along with frustration, only grew as the artists repeatedly claimed the album was to be released on a certain date, only for listeners to see no new music when they opened their streaming apps. 

The long, exasperating wait came to its end on Feb. 10 as the 16-track album titled “Vultures 1” made its debut. After days of sampling disputes between Ye and artists such as Donna Summer and Ozzy Osbourne, while one song was taken down, the album now looks as though it is here to stay on all streaming platforms for fans and critics alike.

However, after just one week it seems that Ye’s new work has already gone in one ear and out the other for listeners. With such an anticipated drop, the first days of its advent on streaming platforms have been relatively anticlimactic. While several tracks such as “Back to Me” and “Burn” held spots on Billboard’s Top 50 for the first week of sales, they are already beginning to creep their way out of the Top 100. 

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Carnegie students, however, have largely shared satisfaction with the album. An impressive 52% showed their ardent support — it’s clear he has built quite a dedicated following among our students. When questioned whether the wait for the album’s release had been worth it, over half (57% to be exact) answered with a yes. After months of buildup and anticipation, the results indicate students were thrilled just to finally have new music from their favorite artist in their hands, or rather, their ears.

While many expressed their support for the album, there were also some critics. Nearly half of respondents believed the “hype” leading up to the drop outweighed the final product. A disappointing 43% felt underwhelmed after the painful wait.

When compared to Ye’s past musical endeavors such as “The Life of Pablo” and “The College Dropout”, it’s a challenge to place “Vultures 1” even close to its predecessors musically, lyrically, and ideologically. 

Every aspect of Ye’s musical production throughout the album is deliberate and masterfully premeditated. His samples are both diverse and dynamic as he ranges from using an iconic line (that we will refrain from quoting for the sake of academic civility) from the 1999 film Dogma in “BACK TO ME” to drawing inspiration from his own past works in “CARNIVAL”, sampling his 2010 track, “Hell of a Life”.

Ye and Ty Dolla $ign at their listening party for the new album.
(Source: Miami New Times) (Zac Chuss )

The rapper’s lyrics, on the other hand, struggle to keep up as they prove to be artistically immature and rushed. Ye has always been known for controversially authentic lyrics that demand the listener’s attention due to their brutal honesty, whether that is towards sex, wealth, family, enemies, or himself. 

However, it’s hard to describe just what purpose the new album’s lyrics serve, especially when they are as violently meaningless as “I hit it from the back/Wh***, wh***”. It’s even harder to attribute those lyrics to the same artist who skillfully weaved together in his 2016 song, “Wolves”, today’s definitions of love and sex with biblical allusions to Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, in the lyric, “What if Mary was in the club / ‘fore she met Joseph with no love?”. 

Carnegie students seem to have noticed the same shortcoming as many shared similar sentiments.

“Kanye’s lyrics were bad sometimes which took me out of the music,” said one student.

Another shared, “I disliked how repetitive some songs were, I wish it had the same amount of work put in [. . .] rather than Kanye saying random stuff in the mic.”

This criticism is no surprise given exactly what the collaboration gave us: a loosely connected collection of tracks with skillful production working to make up for surprisingly noviced lyrics, grasping at a greater meaning that they ultimately lack. Whether this trajectory will continue and whether we are witnessing the downfall of one of the best creatives of our generation no one knows, but it’s safe to say that Ye and Kanye West have proven to be two rather different artists.

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About the Contributors
Audrey Piczak, Opinions Editor
Current senior and Opinions Editor, Audrey Piczak, has been a writer for the Upstream News for two years. However, her love for writing has been in her life for much longer than that. Audrey also loves to write poetry, songs, research, and anything else she can write about. She plays nine instruments, but her favorite is the cello. Her favorite musical artist is Phoebe Bridgers, but her top artist of 2023 was Drake, which makes for an interesting mix.
Esteban Gallardo, Staff Writer
Esteban Gallardo is a Junior at CVHS. In his free time he enjoys to open and sell Pokémon cards as well as drive and view cars. Additionally, he puts a lot of work into sports, spending on average 1 hour a day running and working out to prepare for the Cross country and Track seasons. He is very ambitious in his goals, as well as very direct with what he wants/achieves. He often works hard to improve himself, and is willing to go the extra mile to get there. He hopes to become a more sophisticated writer, to further his skills and knowledge in journalism.
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