Music, Arts

Ye and Ty Dolla $ign Create Catchy First Collaboration with ‘VULTURES 1’

After multiple expected release dates coming and going, Kanye West released his new album VULTURES 1 with Ty Dolla $ign on Feb. 9.

The debut album for the hip-hop duo ¥$, composed of West and Ty Dolla $ign, VULTURES 1 has been teased since fall 2023, when Ty Dolla $ign confirmed the existence of a collaborative album with West. From hints and listening parties to delayed releases and tracklist alterations, fans of West have anxiously awaited the album’s release.

Now that it’s here, it’s easy to see why it was worth the wait.

With a range of uncredited features to back up West’s known producing skills, VULTURES 1 contains well-used sampling and a general trap sound that immediately hooks the listener. The opening track, “STARS,” takes the synthesized sound hip hop often uses and slows it down. 

The combination of rhythmic, muted background vocals and slow rapping creates a sense of profundity to kick off the album, showing that, despite its release struggles, this album is still worthy of a listen.

West also uses the first song to address some of the issues he has come under scrutiny for, most notably anti-semitic comments he has made in interviews and posted to social media.

“Keep a few Jews on the staff now / I cash out / We finna go where the stars at / And beyond that / This that rip up the contract,” raps West.

A significant reason for why this album was never a guaranteed release was due to West’s continued anti-semitic comments, beginning in 2022. One song on the album was even meant to feature part of Ozzy Osbourne’s 1983 live performance of  “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath, but Osbourne denied West permission due to his anti-semitic comments. 

West seems to address this right away, not just alluding to his anti-semitism in his lyric of “Keep a few Jews on the staff now,” but also referencing how brands like Adidas and Balenciaga ended their relationships with West in wake of his controversial remarks.

While it is often difficult to listen to artists who make such blatantly hateful comments regarding certain groups, separating art from the artist can still reveal great albums. Despite the fact that West should not be supported in any way for his anti-semitic remarks, VULTURES 1 can still be praised as a musical project.

Even after a late release, fans quickly picked out “BURN” as a standout on VULTURES 1, and for good reason. With a steady drum beat to support Ty Dolla $ign’s easygoing refrain, the song blends easily into the simple yet catchy chorus.

West, in the background of the chorus, questions, “Are you not entertained?,” slowly getting louder until the chorus turns into verse.

“Your love is, my love is, our love is / Burnin’ like a candlelight (Are you not entertained?) / Your love is dangerous / Your love is (Are you not entertained?),” sings Ty Dolla $ign, with exclamations from West.

West’s verse hits, and one can’t help but bop their head to the impossibly slick lyricism. The well-timed and melodic rapping is not confined to “BURN,” and is equally notable in “CARNIVAL.” While “BURN” is more old-school West, “CARNIVAL” embraces a newer age of rap, featuring Playboi Carti and Rich The Kid.

“CARNIVAL” adds range to the album, beginning with chanting before a powerful bass kicks in as background to Carti and Rich The Kid’s more intense rapping. In contrast to “BURN,” the deeper bass and lack of lighter singing makes the song more intense, demonstrating the impressive variety West and Ty Dolla $ign were able to achieve.

One of the final tracks, “GOOD (DON’T DIE),” slows down, emulating “STARS.” With even, synthesized beats carried throughout and soft singing by both Ty Dolla $ign and West, this is one of the more seemingly heartfelt songs of VULTURES 1. As both artists lyricize about longing to see a woman’s smile, the dulcet singing of a woman breaks through to add to the song’s loving nature.

“In the dark of night, thesе thoughts of mine keep me up all night / Got my heart on icе, don’t die, don’t die / (Ooh, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive, ooh) / On this hopeless night, came a thousand miles to see you smile tonight,” sings West.

Based on a conversation between an unidentified woman and the duo behind VULTURES 1, “GOOD (DON’T DIE)” easily conveys emotion to the listener. Tugging right at the heartstrings, it tops the album off with a sense of satisfaction.
With an impressive range in sound and numerous features to act as support, it’s easy to say that VULTURES 1 was worth the wait.

February 18, 2024