Pablo was born. Pablo's first words are unknown. Perhaps he ached to speak for something, perhaps he never quite knew when to stay silent. Pablo's first masterpiece was made at thirteen. Mystical visages echoed and plagued his life, visions of grandeur and delusions of greatness. Is it fair to call his visions delusions if they were to come true? When the only thing more complex than the man with a god complex is the thing he creates. Pablo sits in a room. He tunes the radio in. And as Pablo whistles while he thinks of his next masterpiece, his thoughts stray to the same topic: heartbreak, humiliations, strokes of genius; they all seem so small with hindsight. So inconsequential. Then his thoughts stray to his current masterpiece. The New New Testament. Then... what's next? Who knows. He knows. He knows there can be only one king. He knows empires are created with blood and fire. Pablo gets to work.
"God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things." — Pablo Picasso
"Sometimes I feel like God..." — Pablo Escobar
In 2015, Leonard Cohen wrote a poem called "Kanye West Is Not Picasso", before this album was even announced, where he wrote the words "I am the Kanye West of Kanye West" which could easily slot into more than a couple of tracks on this album I wonder what Cohen thought of PABLO, because while it would appear while Kanye West is not Picasso, he was never trying to be, and he was already so much more.
PABLO is such a change of pace from YEEZUS, both literally and in the way that Kanye approaches his reflections — rampant digressions into religion and family and reflexive ramblings about his life. The frequently ethereal tones and near meditative way Kanye and co. string together their verses, the album often dips into undeniably poppy and catchy moments (a complete 180 from YEEZUS' abrasiveness). It pummels you like a wave, the album crashes forward, constantly rolling and dipping and peaking. This is a poem for the idea of creation and joy and everything Kanye stands for. Essentially, it is a 20 track dissection of the moments and people that brought him to the attention of the world and his excitement to spread his messages bleeds through every resounding note, from the first hum of synth in “Ultralight Beam” to the last breath of “Saint Pablo”.
THE LIFE OF PABLO could have easily been the climax of Kanye’s career; littered with an eclectic cast of characters from throughout his tenure as the self-crowned Christ figure of hip-hop, this feels like the cataclysm of everything he has been preaching to us for over a decade. It plays like a microcosm of Kanye's mind, his insecurities and inner thoughts. PABLO is the gospel of Kanye. This is the church of Kanye West. Bow down, or step aside.
"I feel like Pablo when I'm workin' on my shoes
I feel like Pablo when I see me on the news
I feel like Pablo when I'm workin' on my house
Tell 'em party's in here, we don't need to go out"
- Written and Designed by Bryson Edward Howe