Kanye West 808s & Heartbreak


808s & Heartbreak is the newest album from rapper, producer, singer, Kanye West. Yes, Mr. West has added “singer” to his musical repertoire with his fourth studio effort. The album’s title explains the subject matter of this 12 track project – heartbreak expressed over 808 drum beats. The self-proclaimed “voice of this generation” ventured to a place far, far away from the typical Kanye on this album. Then again, there is nothing remotely typical about Mr. West. This isn’t a hip-hop album, nor is it R&B. ‘Ye says 808s & Heartbreak is part of a new genre and “this sound is called pop art.” Through generous use of the vocoder, Kanye sings about fractured relationships & internal struggles. The hit singles, “Love Lockdown” & “Heartless” are good indicators of the album’s sound.

On the track “Coldest Winter,” Kanye asks “If spring can take the snow away, can it melt away all our mistakes?” It was written about Kanye’s late mother, Dr. Donda West and samples “Memories Fade” by Tears for Fears. Lil Wayne makes his guest appearance on the battle-like song “See You in My Nightmares.” Wayne & Kanye vent about how a fairytale became a nightmare & ultimately express bitterness with “tell everybody that you know/that I don’t love you no more.” On “Welcome to Heartbreak,” Kanye realizes that although he seems to have it all, he is missing out on the simple & more fulfilling joys of life. At the end of the album, Kanye pours his heart out on the tear-jerking freestyle “Pinocchio Story.” West sings about wanting to be “a real boy” like Pinocchio and that “there is no vacation spot I could fly / that could bring back a piece of real life.”

Artists tend to regurgitate the cliché “this is my most personal/reflective effort” but for Kanye, this is truly a, deep & personal album. Even with appearances from hip-hop notables Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy & Kid Cudi, 808s & Heartbreak is undeniably all about Kanye. With the new “pop art” genre he has masterminded and his sentiments “hip hop is over for me,” perhaps Mr. West has opened a new chapter in his life as an artist. 808s & Heartbreak shows how the multi-faceted Kanye continues to evolve as an artist, leaving no musical stone unturned. The creative direction Kanye took on this album was risky, but a risk worth taking.

Heartless Video

To preview the entire album, visit Kanye West on Myspace

* 808s & Heartbreak is in stores today, November 24, 2008 *

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