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‘Vultures 1’ and mixed feelings for Ye

Image courtesy of Billboard
Collectively known as ¥$, “Vultures 1” is Kanye West, Ye, and Ty Dolla $ign’s first collaborative studio album.

After a quiet 2022 and 2023, Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) is now making up for the lost time, having recently released the new album “Vultures 1” with singer Ty Dolla $ign on Feb. 10, 2024. Collectively known as ¥$, “Vultures 1” is their first collaborative studio album. As of Feb. 24, the album debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and has been doing so since its release. 

The duo first revealed their collaborative album during a “Vultures Rave” listening event at Wynwood Marketplace in Miami on Dec. 12, 2023. Ye’s ten-year-old daughter, North West, performed her first verse with her dad by her side. She is featured on “Talking” in “Vultures 1.” It was truly heartwarming to see the young girl passionate about singing and rapping like her father and doing so in front of a large audience. Her feature was supported by accompanying artists Lil Durk and Future at the listening party. Ye and North twinned in all-black attire, vibing along with the audience to each other’s musical talents. 

“Vultures 1” is the first album from West since he legally changed his name to Ye. Even though Ye is a controversial artist, he has always been adored in pop culture since he released “The College Dropout,” his first album released exactly 20 years before “Vultures 1.” His discography is unmatched, yet due to the latest controversy surrounding him, attention towards Ye has steadily declined. 

However, Ye managed to come back into the musical space because of his uniqueness—he produced an album that seamlessly incorporates various musical styles, while also maintaining a sense of completeness. This album was a chance for Ye to mark an identity as a new artist apart from his past experiences and music. And he successfully does so. 

The beats on “Vultures 1” are extremely unique, making the album mesmerizing to listen to. The whole album itself is groovy, and despite the intricate beats of the songs in the album, they complement, rather than overshadow, Ye’s lyrical prowess. For example, in the production of “CARNIVAL,” featuring Rich the Kid and Playboi Carti, Inter Milan soccer fans were recruited to sing the hook. This enthusiastic start adds to the lively vibe heard in the song, and Carti’s hyped-up flow, as well as Rich The Kid’s melodic twist, supplement Ye’s hard-hitting bars and subtle disses. 

“VULTURES” is another popular song on the album, featuring Pump J and Lil Durk. The artists Ye brings to the table all provide a unique element that elevates the listener’s experience. For example, Lil Durk raps his verse in his Chicago-style drill dynamic, and Bump J’s witty lyrics work to complement ¥$’s melodic verse at the end. 

My personal favorite from the album is “BURN.” The refrain is energetic, reminiscent of the start of a pop song, while the entire track revolves around a “fierce woman whose love is so dangerous that it burns.” The melodies paired with Ye’s hard-hitting bars are a reoccurrence throughout the album. However, I think that “BURN” does the best job of contrasting the styles of the two artists. Ty Dolla $ign sings the catchy and sanguine refrain and chorus, immediately followed by Ye’s quirky adlibs and wordplay. The two artists are so different, yet they work amazingly when paired together. 

However, while listening to the album, I found myself searching for something more. Perhaps not more witty lyricism or catchy melodies, but rather lyrics with more meaning, and diverse melodies easily distinguishable between the songs of the album. 

There are many promising tracks on the album, but compared to Ye’s other works, “Vultures 1” becomes less substantial. Although the production of “Vultures 1” is visionary, as the album is rich and varied, it could have been a better project had there been more time for the two artists. 

“Vultures 1” is allegedly just the start of a three-album series, and this first album is some of the most interesting work Ye has produced. Based on Ye’s release plan, the second volume is expected to arrive on March 8th, and the third is suspected to follow on April 5th. Yet, these dates may be subject to change. The production and dedication to creating this album are truly phenomenal, and I can’t wait to listen to the next albums of the series to see what inventive melodies and rhythms Ye will bring to the table.

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