Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreak

I’m pretty conscious that with my extensive listening habits I end up listening to a lot of average music. Of course, there is lots of good; I rave about bands and musicians all the time – my poor housemates – but really there isn’t much GREAT; the stuff that makes you want to hit repeat immediately, stuff that raises the hairs on the back of your neck, something which you just have show to someone else right now! The stuff that changes you from the moment it begins… That feeling, having that experience, is a rare, rare thing. As a producer then, of a different creative medium, writing, okay, but nonetheless similar in that we suffer a familiar plight. There is lots of mediocre, and not much brilliant. So where does this leave us? Hard work counts for nothing if the talent isn’t there; one can learn, and be proficient, and accept there are those more talented. Talent is natural, so naturally most are average. Listening to music that’s had to jump through industry hoops and is yet still average makes me question my own ambitions. Publishing is a different industry, but I’ve read many books I won’t be reading again. Why, I wonder, contribute to the slush?

The above is Kanye West’s fourth LP, 2008’s 808s & Heartbreak a welcome rebound after the flat Graduation party, West’s third outing. This record is much more minimal in production style, the beats are mellow and ‘Ye is singing love songs. The autotune debate reared its head with this record, although I see no problem. It’s a stylistic choice some chose to go overboard with, Kanye here is experimental in my view. It gives the record a sound departure in hand with opting to drop the rapping, these new boundaries pushed Kanye to develop the instrumentation of his beats, embracing the chillwave and slow electronic movements that were hip and happening at that time. Kanye West remains one of the most interesting figures in hip hop and rap, this RnB lovesongs record proves it.

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