Locals Kirk Franklin and Post Malone Are On The New Kanye, Could Not Be Handling It More Differently
We're still not sure which Pablo that Kanye West is referring to with the title of his The Life of Pablo LP, but we do know of a couple interesting area ties to Mr. West's seventh studio album.
The album, which is currently available exclusively on Tidal, will be made available on KanyeWest.com and other streaming outlets following a one-week period. One of the tracks is allegedly still being tinkered with, but the version that's currently up on Tidal, at least, varies slightly from the one that was debuted live at the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show at Madison Square Garden this past Thursday.
As for those aforementioned ties to this unprecedented roll-out? Well, most notably, Fort Worth-native Kirk Franklin appears on the album's gospel-heavy opening cut, “Ultralight Beam.” And, when Kanye took to Saturday Night Live a few nights ago to promote the new disc, he had Franklin in tow along a whole bunch of others.
Franklin, a Grammy-winning gospel performer, lends some credibility to the gospel choir-backed “Ultralight Beam,” evangelizing before a prone Kanye. This followed fellow guest appearances in the performance from Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, The-Dream and El Debarge.
In West's earlier performance for SNL on Saturday, Franklin was mostly underutilized during the song “Highlights,” spending most of his time dancing around while Young Thug, Kelly Price, The-Dream and El Debarge took their turns on the mic.
The decision to collaborate with Kanye is one that's drawn plenty of criticism for Franklin's Christian fan base. These same batch of self-righteous Christians are the ones Franklin speaks out about in his own new album, Losing My Religion, which was released back in November. Last month, Franklin told NPR that his decision to move away from any one denomination is based on exactly the kind of sanctimonious thinking that would make it inherently wrong for the two musicians to work together.
“Religion can create so much of a dogma and so much of a cloud to that simple story that people don't want to know God,” he told NPR. “They see God as someone with the big belt, that's gonna whoop you every time you do wrong.”
About the Kanye decision, specifically, Franklin had a rather beautiful response to those criticisms, which he voiced through an Instagram caption that was posted yesterday under a picture of the pair.
Kanye is not me. I am not him. He is my brother I am proud to do life with. No sprints, but Marathons; like most of us are on. Before one song was released, I was crucified because my brother asked me to take a picture. Again "no Kanye, you're not good enough"? No. That is a dangerous message I believe we send to the world when our posture is they have to meet certain requirements before they are worthy to kiss the ring. It says people are not redeemable, forgivable or candidates for grace. That my friend is religious. I will not turn my back on my brother. I will love him, prayerfully grow with him. However long he'll have me, and however long the race takes. To a lot of my Christian family, I'm sorry he's not good enough, Christian enough, or running at your pace…and as I read some of your comments, neither am I. That won't stop me from running. Pray we win.
Pretty powerful stuff.
As for the other local ties to TLOP? Just as the album opens with a track featuring a prominent North Texas artist, it closes with one as well. Putting a capper on the thing is the Post Malone-featuring “Fade,” which we first heard back in September when it was released in conjunction with the Yeezy Season 2 spring fashion show — y'know, back when the album was still being referred to as SWISH.
Post and Franklin couldn't be handling things more differently, though. Whereas Frankin seems to be approaching things from a coming-down-to-Kanye's-level and/or breaking-bread-with-the-sinners perspective, Young Posty's juvenile ego only seems to have been inflated to the level of his idol's, per this TMZ vid that was posted just this morning.
Also, while we're not entirely sure what yet his involvement in TLOP is — if he even has one — we do know thanks to his Instagram account that Kanye's Fort Worth-based cousin and sometime backing vocalist The World Famous Tony Williams was at least around during some of the final recording sessions for the disc.
No formal word yet on if he's the cousin who stole Kanye's laptop, although we're guessing that the “dirty motherfucker” who did that probably wasn't around those recording sessions.
Of course, much like all else associated with TLOP's release, that's pure speculation for now.
Oh, and as for us? We just miss the old Kanye.