Kids See Ghosts – KIDS SEE GHOSTS – Review


By Jackkids insertI miss the old Kanye. You probably do too. Well, the good news is he’s back. Sort of. KIDS SEE GHOSTS has its fair share of misfires and head-scratching moments, but when it’s on, it’s really on.

If the barely finished ye last month left you cold, then this will be a welcome tonic. This isn’t quite as slick as the near perfect polish of The College Dropout, but the production is absolutely fantastic. Hard-edged, jagged, muscular, the mix is in your face but allows detail to shine through. ‘Fire’ is rendered in fragments, a snippet of distorted riff here, vocals cries there, scratchy acoustic outro. I SEE GHOSTS is more collage than a collection of singular tracks.

‘4th Dimension’ rides a Louis Prima sample into a bizarre farrago of distorted sounds, including the toe-curling appearance of maniacal laughter. “You only want two and a half minutes” echoes the late great Prima in the final moments. This could be self-awareness. Much of the merit of this EP(?) comes from it’s short, punctuated blasts, with only one track breaching 5 minutes.

It can be sublime though, when the elements come together. ‘Freeee’ teases out a fantastic lead from Ty Dolla $ign, along with a distorted riff and lo-fi beat recalling Rick Rubin’s work on The Black Album. He does not lend his touch to production here, but appears the only person on Earth who did not – with seventeen producers on board. Perhaps a smaller roster would give this collection a more cohesive sound.

‘Reborn’ is a direct through-line to classic Kanye. Confessional, hooky, a little spiritual, Kanye owns the track front to back. As the beat ratchets up to a glitchy, trap rat-a-tat, ‘Reborn’ reaches a peak that the further tracks cannot match.

Kids See Ghosts is a supergroup with legs. On their debut album they have provided an inspired, contemporary collection of tightly controlled and highly stylised hip-hop. One on which Kanye confirms what we already knew – “Yes, I never listen.”Despite his bizarre and offensive blathering online about Trump and slavery (among many other things) the guy is still possessed of genius. Kids See Ghosts is a step in the right direction.

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