Is Kanye West’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’ About Pablo Escobar? These Lyrics Offer Some Strong Evidence
First, we watched Twitter with hawkish eyes waiting for Kanye West to drop a hint about what T.L.O.P. might stand for. Then, he revealed that it was the abbreviation for The Life of Pablo, the title of his seventh solo album. But really, that didn't answer all the questions. Who is this Pablo of which he speaks, we wondered? Now that the album has finally dropped, West may have offered some bread crumbs at last that point to this elusive Pablo. Is The Life of Pablo about Pablo Escobar?
In "Freestyle 4," West raps: "Pablo bought a Roley and a rottweiler / Seem like the more fame, I only got wilder." In Snoop Dogg's classic "Drop It Like It's Hot," he coined "Roley" as a term for a Rolex when he sang triumphantly, "I got the Roley on my arm and I'm pouring Chandon." Thus the scavenger hunt begins for a Pablo who owned a Rolex or a rottweiler, or, ideally, both. It turns out, Pablo Escobar owned one of the most decadent watches to ever come out of Rolex: solid gold, encrusted with tiny diamonds all across its face and over the band, and with a retail value of approximately $70,000, according to The Guardian. (It was sold at auction for just $8,500 in 2013 to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous because, as he told the Guardian in the same story, "You never know who might track you down and ask for their things back.")
What of the rottweiler, though? Escobar had a well-documented affection for hippopotamuses, according to the BBC, but there's no evidence that he owned a rottweiler — or any dog, really. Still, if the premise is the extravagances that come with fame and fortune, a rottweiler doesn't seem like too much of a leap. Rottweilers are commonly perceived as guard dogs, a reasonable acquisition for a kingpin with enemies. We may have found our Pablo.
Some have also hypothesized that Pablo might refer to Pablo Picasso, noting that the phases of West's career have in many ways mirrored the late cubist (with 808s and Heartbreaks as West's "blue period," My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as his "rose period," and Yeezus as his "cubist period").
It makes a compelling case. At least, enough of a case to lead Yeezy fans everywhere to believe that this wasn't just a giant joke, after weeks of flip-flopping on the track list and album title. On Thursday, it all happened. Even if we don't know exactly which Pablo is the subject of West's album title, we can safely guess that it's one of these famous namesakes.