On the song’s second part, Chance the Rapper says more with the eager, hopeful humanist inflections of his voice than with his precisely enunciated rhymes, though they are spectacular. “This is my part, nobody else speak,” he asserts. The voices return, a simple trap-kit beat staggers on, a preacherly invocation by Kirk Franklin builds and builds and crests and then the music cuts. Gasp. The colloquy of gospel-soul voices continues on “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 & Pt. 2,” over a meditative 808 trap flutter from Future producer Metro Boomin’.
Kanye chants, “I didn’t wanna feel liberated” and “If I instigated, I’m sorry” and then dips our feet into a sketchy after-hours Tribeca tryst that features at least one punch line that probably should’ve been edited out after the Twitter #bootyhole situation. Suddenly it kicks into “Pt. 2,” an urgent orchestration of glossolalia — Kanye’s remembrance of his father’s life struggle, Travis $cott’s disorienting escapades, snatches of shouts and trills, and more (Auto-Tuned) cries of forgiveness. Though Kanye adopts Atlanta’s stuttering decadent ooze, he could never replicate Future’s woozy melancholy. He’s too dogged, too inquisitive, too convinced that he can figure out the world or at least bullshit his way out of trouble.
There are hypnotic interludes and goosebump moments galore, whether it’s Ye simply yelling, “Wake up, nigga, wake up!” on “Freestyle 4,” while a synth warps and curdles, or the elegantly glorious entrance of Rihanna’s rasp on the chorus of “Famous,” or Kanye’s deliberate incantation, “I’ve been living/Without limits/As far as/My business/I’m the only one that’s in control,” framed beautifully by delicate chiming. As on Yeezus, the production points to its cut-and-paste quality, so you can marvel at the seams and feel the abrupt shifts, both in rhythm and tempo. It echoes what seems to be the constant whirl of Kanye’s brain. If the cast of emotions from Inside Out tried to keep up with him, the entire staff of Pixar would be on Lexapro or passed out in the parking lot. Life comes at Kanye fast on Pablo, but would he have it any other way?
And that’s really the theme of Pablo and of Kanye’s career, in general: He’s out here fucking up right and left working hard and struggling to be an iconoclastic artist who changes the world and people are always gonna get hurt — well, women and children and parents are always gonna get hurt. But it’s art and he means no harm and besides, he’s sampling Nina Simone, and believes in God’s grace. That’s the deal. At one point, Kanye asks if we ever knew any artists who weren’t crazy, like that’s not something every Kanye fan thinks about constantly.