top of page

The Life of Pablo

by Kanye West

Released February 14, 2016 via GOOD Music / Def Jam Recordings

Reviewed February 25, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
No More Parties In L.A. (82%), Saint Pablo (66%), Ultralight Beam (47%)

While The Life of Pablo may not be the midpoint of Kanye West’s career up to this point, it feels like the ultimate crossroads of his diverse catalog. The “Old Kanye,” the “New Kanye,” and even the Kanye that would appear in his future work, all make appearances on the rapper/producer’s seventh record. The turbulent shifts in mood and energy throughout the tracklist represent his ever-present willingness to break tradition and challenge convention, all while he alternates between the boldest and most brash aspects of his personality and the more soulful, introspective, and spiritual Kanye. This results in TLOP being quite possibly his most erratic work, but five years later, it has only become more significant within one of hip-hop’s greatest discographies. – Dominick (9.2/10)

The Life Of Pablo is a very special member of Kanye West’s enigmatic and legendary discography, bridging the best elements from several eras of his music into a very colorful experience. The rapidly shifting, scratchbook, sound collage profile of Pablo is perhaps its most unique quality; however, its defining quality is that of compromise. Kanye and his colleagues revisit the soulfulness of his classics, the edginess of his recent works, while very clearly signals the manic/depressive temperament that was to define his next efforts. Not only does TLOP work against the barriers of popular music, it even goes as far as to challenge the process of how albums are released and consumed, taking advantage of music’s streaming age and repeatedly making improvements to the album. – DeVán (9/10)

While slightly bloated, The Life of Pablo is a well-rounded and self-aware summation of Kanye’s career up until 2016. It is versatile in emotion, timbre, and vocals, but remains a cohesive and consistently thrilling experience, for the most part. Here, West isn’t trying to haphazardly redefine himself in the same ways his last three records were. Instead, he is self-reflective, braggadocious, and sonically experimental in subtler ways, the same you’d see in adapting a theatre-performance to film. Even with a few digressive lines and intermissions, West appears mature and calculated, basking in bright optimism in some moments and cautiously navigating ominous atmospheres in the next. Boasting some of his most iconic beats, samples, lyricism, and vocal-feature-curation, The Life of Pablo continues to thrive five years on, and it's looking like it will continue to age well for many more. A 9/10 for sure. – Cam (8.5/10)

Jared: 9.5/10 | Alan: 9.3/10 | Dominick: 9.2/10 | Daniel: 9/10 | DeVán: 9/10

Hadley: 9/10 | Cam: 8.5/10 | Enth: 8/10 | Jacques: 8/10 | Pax: 7.8/10 | Peter: 7.5/10


bottom of page