The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | Mediocre ‘Vultures 1’ showcases West’s delusion on a new level

Photo courtesy of Genius
Ty Dolla $ign and Kanye West.

Rating: 2/10

Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign released their long-awaited collaboration album, “Vultures 1,” on Apple Music at midnight on Friday.

After isolating himself as one of the most polarizing figures in popular media, Ye, formally known as Kanye West, is back to dropping his music on mainstream services after restricting his previous album, “Donda 2,” to fans who purchased his $200 audio mixing device. This was an act of protest against services like Apple Music and Spotify.

The lead-up to this was nothing short of chaos — West went off the rails back in 2016 with the nightmare rollout process of “The Life of Pablo.”

Once again, the rollout process of “Vultures 1” was overly complicated. The project’s release experienced multiple delays after the record was scheduled to drop back in December, and upon its February release, it was only put on Apple Music. After it was later released on Spotify, it was temporarily pulled from Apple Music before being reinstated on the platform hours later.

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However, that’s far from all the havoc West has wreaked recently. His support of Donald Trump and his wearing of a T-shirt reading “White Lives Matter” while matching with conservative political commentator Candice Owens feels far removed now. 

In late 2022, West broke the internet by launching a campaign of antisemitism across X, formerly known as Twitter. Yet he didn’t stop there. West later went onto InfoWars — the talk show hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — along with white supremacist Nick Fuentes, where West praised Nazism and Adolf Hitler while unloading a barrage of antisemitic jokes.

“Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler,” West infamously remarked.

Before this, West was very controversial, and his harassment of comedian Pete Davidson didn’t help. However, late 2022 marked the true downfall of someone who was regarded as one of the best and most influential musicians of all time. 

Over the course of just a few months, West’s talent agency dropped him, he lost his multi-million dollar partnership with Adidas and his connections throughout the music industry greatly diminished. Most prominently, he was regarded as a Nazi worshipper by the public.

West seemingly lost everything. However, after all of it, he still had one thing left — the thing that brought him into the public eye in the first place: music.

All of this build up brings us to his collaboration album with Ty Dolla $ign — “Vultures 1.” 

While it’s marked as a collaboration project, it’s inherently clear that this is really West’s album. You can tell by looking at the album cover, which features West in the black mask he’s been wearing out in public over the last year, with his wife Bianca Censori to his right, essentially wearing no clothes. 

Censori and West are an off-putting couple. He often posts racy pictures and videos of her on social media, and Censori is often seen with West wearing strangely revealing clothing. Back in August, Censori was spotted performing sexual acts for West while the couple was on a boat together on a river in Venice, Italy.

The couple is constantly together, so it’s unsurprising that Censori is one of the most prominent themes throughout the album.

Composed of 16 tracks and a 56-minute runtime, “Vultures 1,” a culmination of a man’s mental illness and obsession with his new wife, starts quite dull. 

The first two tracks, “Stars” and “Keys to My Life,” are a fitting representation of what most of the album looks like. “STARS,” while having fantastic production, is paired with a West verse that falls flat while Ty Dolla $ign delivers smooth vocals that pair well with the beat. 

This is a repetitive formula throughout “Vultures 1.” West still has his wits as a producer, and remains capable of putting together a wide array of beats even 20 years after his debut album. However, his lyrics didn’t hold up as well. 

Unsurprisingly immature, oddly lustful and careless, West’s rapping ruins track after track on the album despite a solid list of feature artists and fantastic performances from Ty Dolla $ign. 

“Ever since I lost my mom, you was like my foster mom/ Hold me like your only son,” Kanye raps on “Keys to My Life.”

West brings his first solid song to the table with “PAID,” the third track on the album. Heavy synths and bass create an electric dance groove reminiscent of “Fade” from “The Life of Pablo.” Ty Dolla $ign’s vocals and verse mixed with the outro to the song carry the track over the finish line, making for the first of three good songs on this nearly one-hour-long album.

The other two tracks that the record delivers on come much later in the album: “Fuk Sumn” and “Carnival.” West brings subpar verses on both songs, but the two are enhanced by great feature artists and strong production.

The former, slotted in at the 10th spot in the tracklist, provides a drill beat similar to “Off the Grid” from West’s 2021 album “Donda.” Guest verses from Playboi Carti and Travis Scott bring a lot to the table while Ty Dolla $ign provides a catchy hook.

“Carnival,” which skyrocketed to the number one song on Apple Music after its release, features Kanye West’s production at its finest. Another verse from Playboi Carti takes the track to the next level while Rich The Kid is solid in his own right, paired with a choir that provides a hype chorus.

Besides “Paid,” “Fuk Sumn” and “Carnival,” “Vultures 1” is a complete and utter faceplant of an album.

West has always been known to throw symbolic middle fingers to his critics from the day that he came onto the scene as a producer with Roc-A-Fella records. On “Vultures 1,” he keeps this up. 

Braggadocious and egotistical as ever, West often flexes his wife like she’s a material possession while also trying to brush off his history of antisemitism. 

“I’m not racist, it’s a preference/ and my b—- lookin’ like a reference,” West raps on “Problematic.”

A fitting name for that track, he de-humanizes his wife by calling her a “reference” due to her eerie resemblance to his ex-wife Kim Kardashian.

This is far from the only bar on this album that raises red flags — the album in itself is a massive red flag. However, it’s not worth it to harp on the many other terrible lines throughout the album.

Still, if there’s one song that represents West’s attitude on this album, it would be the outro track “King.”

“‘Crazy, bipolar, antisemite’/ And I’m still the king,” West raps on the song.

A two-and-a-half-minute-long tangent, the song shows that no matter how many things you take away from West — millions of dollars, his famous wife or public support — his narcissistic complex will never go away. 

Part of that is because of the artist’s mental illness, but it’s certainly not helped by a cult-like fanbase that will stick by his side no matter what he does. 

The grasp West has on his fans was evident when some of them even backed his antisemitic remarks in 2022. In one instance, people hung a banner over a Los Angeles freeway reading “Kanye is right about the jews.”

It’s needless to say that his fanbase is not going anywhere; they’re already uniting online, attacking critics of “Vultures 1.” Praise is pouring in across the internet for what is really a mediocre at best album.

But besides being just a mediocre album, it’s important to realize “Vultures 1” for what it can provide us: a psychological case study.

This is an interesting album to listen to for reasons of clinical psychology alone. The man is despised by the public and disgraced in the media but he’s “still the king”? 

We already knew West was delusional, but the way he addresses his recent actions throughout this album brings the artist to a whole new level of narcissism.

His supporters may say that this is West’s magnum opus, but it’s not. “Vultures 1” is easily one of the artist’s worst albums to date. West, once one of the best musicians in the game, has reached the point of complete mediocrity. 

We’ve reached the point of no return. It’s doubtful that West’s public demeanor or music will ever improve from this point forward.


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Jack Larson
Jack Larson, Audience Director
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