Kanye West Single "All Day" Proves The Rapper Still Has A Few Tricks Up His Sleeve
If there's anyone who knows how to cultivate a brand, it's Kanye West. The rapper/speech-ruiner extraordinaire has a new album titled So Help Me God in the works and he's been dropping singles and collaborations left and right leading up to its "surprise" release. His latest track, "All Day" shows that West, for the first time in a long time, might be grappling with who he is as an artist. We know that West is capable of producing work that has as much ego and swagger as it has depth and raw emotion (Yeezus, 808's & Heartbreak). With "All Day," West spits a lot of hyper-machismo attitude and shades of socio-political commentary. He's at his best with the latter, and feels just average with the former, which is unfortunately where most of this track lives.
West's celebrity has the ability to overshadow his music. The releases leading up to So Help Me God beg the question of where "Kanye West of Kimye fame" begins and where Kanye West, the rapper ends. "All Day" gives the impression that West wants as all to remember that he's still hard, even though his public image has been domesticated and reality television-ified intensely over the years.
But then again, when "All Day" gets over its self-aggrandizing nature half-way through and actually starts digging into what's beneath all of the ego, it really does hit. The line, "Like a light-skinned slave boy, we in the mother-f*ckin house," comes in unexpectedly and hits you harder than the start of the track would have you believe. Like West's best work, it surprises you, makes you re-think everything you just heard, and want to go deeper into the brain of Kanye West.
On a second listen, it's what's surrounding the lyrics that really throw you for a loop. Metal riffs, acoustic guitars, angelic choirs, and video game stings take you from the most pit to Paris, then to church, and Kanye-only-knows where else. It's those kind of moments that elevate "All Day" from a, "Come at me" anthem into something much more viceral and meaningful. "Hands up" means something more in the wake of Ferguson and Staten Island and when it pierces through an interlude, the track again, takes a sharp left turn into West's strong socio-political commentary. He should spend more time in that space rather than the one that calls out the Allstate guy and shopping malls.
"All Day" starts as try-hard and then picks up mid-way for a refresher course in Kanye West, the artist.
Take a listen to the full song here.