‘Vultures 1’ Proves Giving Up on Kanye Is Harder Than It Looks

Midway through the project, we’re reunited with Old Kanye. On “Burn,” Ye addresses his recent controversies with technical chops and wit that make you remember this is the guy who wrote “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” 

Still, he, unfortunately, is more interested in the occasional bad joke than introspection or anything resembling genuine contrition. He’d rather compare himself to Bill Cosby and R. Kelly than reckon with his thoughtless antisemitic tirades. His brazen barbs can be found scattered throughout various points of the album, with each inane punchline serving as a reminder that Ye hasn’t exactly learned his lesson. On “Vultures,” he delivers an especially tacky remark about his recent flurries of antisemitism, rapping, “How I’m antisemitic? I just fucked a Jewish bitch.” That particular line led Ye to issue an apology when fans first heard the track in December, but even that was suspected of being an AI-generated sham

On “Stars,” ’Ye makes light of antisemitism allegations once more, rapping, “I’ma come through and just black out/Just black out/Keep a few Jews on the staff now.” It’s a petty jab in a time where hate crimes against Jewish people were reported at record highs in the U.S.”

For Kanye, moral obligations are less mandatory touchstones of humanity than chains to break free from. It’s a sort of shallow self-martyrdom that occasionally puts dents in an otherwise compelling project. Simultaneously, some of Ye’s most powerful moments in Vultures 1 are as much reminders of his self-centeredness as they are the result of it. 

On “Carnival,” which sounds like a part 2 of “Hell of a Life,” we get one of the most inspired Rich the Kid performances in years; unfortunately, it’s the product of controversy—and questionable ethics—conjoined with the album and Kanye himself. In a tweet he posted last week, Ozzy Osbourne made it clear that he denied Ye’s request to sample a vocal-less section of Black Sabbath’s 1983 performance of “Iron Man,” citing the rapper’s antisemitism as the reason. In a bit of twisted, practical maneuvering, Kanye just injected “Carnival” with a sample from “Hell of a Life,” a 2010 offering that already includes the necessary clip. 

Kanye repeats his nihilistic problem-solving with “Good (Don’t Die).” The late Donna Summers estate claims that Kanye used an unauthorized interpolation of her 1977 single, “I Feel the Love” for the track. According to Summers’ widowed husband, Bruce Sudano, “Kanye changed the words, had someone re-sing it or used AI, but it’s ‘I Feel Love.’” If this is true, it’s a move threaded by a misguided idea of revolution—one that positions Ye as the hero of his own twisted self-mythology. 

In reality, Kanye is acting as a mad scientist. And if you have qualms about listening to an album from someone who lobbed compliments at Hitler, or if you don’t think you can be a decent person while listening to a man who implied that slavery was a choice, you’ll need to perform the same intellectual gymnastics to face his latest LP. After all this, how can you give Donda’s only son one more chance? It would be the latest in what’s been an endless stream of them. Why should you or anyone else give him a platform?