Kanye has blessed us this New Year’s Eve with a song. It’s called “Facts,” and, well, it’s not what you would expect from the most creative man in music. Regardless, Ural Garrett and I are here to present our facts, and because we know you’re busy pre-gaming this holiday we’ll cut right to the chase.
Is “Facts” A Return To Form For Ye?
Ural: I’m estimating that Yeezus may be the last “old industry” Yeezy we see in quite some time. There seems to be an honest struggle he’s having balancing so many projects at once. Hence delaying Swish indefinitely and making Pusha T the new president of GOOD Music as his role in fashion becomes more noticeable than his actual musical output.
“Facts” literally sounds like it was recorded within the past few weeks for better or worse. Regardless of how solid the production assistance from Southside and Metro Boomin is, it doesn’t sound too far off from current Atlanta trap standards. Strange considering how forward Ye’s sonic ambitions have been in the past. Then there’s the “Jumpman” cadence that has Billboard’s Top Ten Rapper of all time playing follower to both Future and Drake?
And that’s where things start to make a little sense despite feeling like an uncomfortable listen. Kanye has always been known for being off the cuff in interviews, speeches and everything in-between. For the first time in his music career, he’s less calculated output wise. Music could be considered an afterthought for Ye. Then again, Ye’s afterthoughts are better than a lot of full-on attempts. Not only did Mr. West earn GQ’s Most Stylish Man Of The Year, but the Yeezys won a Footwear News Achievement Awards for Shoe Of The Year. All while his partnership with Adidas became well known as a significant reason Nike fell in sales this year. Makes sense as to why Nike would be the perfect target for his last single for 2015. All West’s complaints about the Swoosh company over the years as far back as “New Slaves” led to him finally feeling as he came out as victor. That was teased earlier this year through his guest verse on Tyler, The Creator’s “Smuckers” track. So yes, we get it: He checked Nike. Between those accomplishments and child number two with the internet’s most legendary thirst trap, Ye is being the overwhelmingly petty asshole we all know and love. Just disappointing that the music doesn’t really reflect all of that much, even with halfhearted bars about Bill Cosby and Steve Harvey.
Andre: The short answer is no. This one’s not a song, really. It’s more like the awkward conversation you have with a friend of yours when you’re so-so and need to get some stuff off your chest. The most disheartening thing is that Ye´ seems to have put this one without much thought. That’s strange for Ye, since all his moves are carefully calculated except when they’re not. It slanders Nike, sure, but if you’re in a better place then why are you still talking about your ex?
In a lot of ways, despite me writing a piece stating I was worried about Yeezus, Kanye’s had a pretty good year. His production has been top notch. His guest verses have been fun asides dripping in Kanyeisms. His fashion moves have been brave save that stripped down post-apocalyptic stuff that was Yeezy season 2.
This, though, isn’t particularly good. It’s a riff of Future and Drake’s “Jumpman” that has hints of jealousy. There are moments there, where he transforms his voice that you can’t help but think if Yeezy wishes he made that song. That’s strange for Ye. He’s always been about one-upmanship, but “Facts” felt like a stiff case of FOMO.
All-in-all, I’ll pass on this one from our emperor, and I won’t go so far as to say Yeezy is lost, but I will say that he’s looking for something and he is not finding it.
Andre Grant is an NYC native turned L.A. transplant that has contributed to a few different properties on the web and is now the Features Editor for HipHopDX. He’s also trying to live it to the limit and love it a lot. Follow him on Twitter @drejones.
Ural Garrett is a Los Angeles-based journalist and HipHopDX’s Senior Features Writer. When not covering music, video games, films and the community at large, he’s in the kitchen baking like Anita. Follow him on Twitter @Uralg.