“We’re all self-conscious, I’m just the first to admit it,” rapped a young Kanye West on The College Dropout standout “All Falls Down.” With that one line, he sealed his place as one of rap’s most charismatic, honest, refreshing voices, traits he’s both used and abandoned on his following albums. Listening to his past two albums – Yeezus and The Life of Pablo – it can be hard to hear Kanye as self-conscious over brash claims such as “I made that bitch famous,” or “I am a god.” Yet I’m reminded of that College Dropout single when I listen to the latest track added to the ever-evolving Life of Pablo, “Saint Pablo.” A main reason is West’s candid lyrics, where he discusses his self-proclaimed financial struggles during the first verse, before turning his own struggles into something universal on the second verse. “400 years later we buyin’ our own chains,” he proudly raps at one point, seeing how far he’s come. But no matter how far he comes, Mr. West stays the same. “I feel like I’m the only one not pretending,” he reminds us at the beginning of the track. It’s there it becomes clear that his multitude of claims – as outlandish as they may seem – are just a manifestation of all the things we aspire to be. If one thing is for certain, it’s that Kanye West is real.
Stream “Saint Pablo” via Apple Music.