2016 was a tumultuous year for Kanye West from the infamous ‘BILLY COSBY INNOCENT’ tweet to his hospitalisation at the end of the year. In the midst of this chaos Kanye released the unfinished (and subsequently updated) The Life of Pablo. Kanye’s eighth studio album is a mixed bag and there’s a lot to complain about; not enough Kanye, questionable lyrics, ridiculous release saga. However ‘Ultralight Beam’ shines in an album bogged down by its attempt at profundity.
Kanye has never been one to shy away from bringing religion into his music. But unlike 2004’s ‘Jesus Walks’, Kanye does not attempt to critique the status of religion in the media. Instead ‘Ultralight Beam’ wouldn’t be out of place in church on a Sunday morning. Kanye enlisted the help of Kirk Franklin’s gospel choir as well as veteran R ‘n’ B singer Kelly Price, and The Dream. However it is Happy Man of the Year, Chance the Rapper who steals the show on this one. His verse is packed with powerful Biblical verses next to whimsical pop references.
‘Ultralight Beam’ is powerful yet understated. A goosebump-inducing Track of the Year.