New York (AFP) – The omnipresent Kanye West returned Friday with his second album in as many weeks, this time a darker take on life’s anxieties with his protege Kid Cudi.
After a year of silence in which he sought treatment for mental health, West roared back in April with typical headline-grabbing antics as he became a rare African American celebrity to support President Donald Trump.
West on June 1 returned with his eighth studio album, “Ye,” in which he turned introspective about his insecurities but, with a hasty seven tracks, showed himself to be less ambitious than when he put out sprawling opuses a decade ago.
The rap superstar made good on the schedule promised over his Twitter feed as he released another seven-track album on Friday, a collaboration with Kid Cudi called “Kids See Ghosts.”
While “Ye” harked back to the soul samples and danceable beats of early West, “Kids See Ghosts” is much more a work of Kid Cudi, whose trippy electronic clouds accentuate the dark reflections in his rhymes.
“Freeee (Ghost Town Part 2)” opens with an inspirational quote from the early 20th-century pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey before the rap duo respectively say that they have found peace.
“I don’t feel pain anymore! Guess what, babe? I’m free!” they each rap separately, West presumably about the furor over his controversial comments and Kid Cudi likely on his struggles with depression.
The album closes on a track that is based on Kurt Cobain’s “Burn the Rain,” a downcast acoustic guitar riff released as part of the “Montage of Heck” documentary on the late Nirvana frontman.
“Lord shine a light on me / Save me, please / Stay strong!” they rap together.
Proving himself ever topical, West inserts a line in the song saluting Alice Marie Johnson, who spent nearly 22 years in prison for a non-violent drug offense until Trump commuted her sentence Wednesday following an appeal by West’s wife, reality television star Kim Kardashian.