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Where the New Ye Meets the Old Kanye

Ye is almost exclusively rapping in the clipped, nonlinear style he’s largely used for the last decade — short bursts of words, verses that have very little narrative cohesion. It salts a track with his essence, with a minimum of emotional commitment. (“Beg Forgiveness,” on which he’s practically howling, is a notable exception.)

Where “Vultures 1” makes more sense is in its production, which is scabrous and tense, moodily emotive and urgent. The music says things the words don’t, or can’t.

It also indicates where Ye currently sees his legacy. Two of the dominant strains of contemporary hip-hop can be traced back to him: Drake and the melodic rap that emerged in his wake, which is in many ways indebted to “808s & Heartbreak” (2008); and the texture-focused darkwave rap perfected by Travis Scott and, more recently, Playboi Carti, which can be traced back to “Yeezus” (2013).

“Vultures 1” is an album that reads as a response to, and sometimes with, the artists in this second camp. It sounds current, which is to say it has mastered the electrifying gloom of arena-scale claustrophobia.

Ultimately, “Vultures 1” is a simulacrum of a strong Ye album — sometimes thinly constructed, but thickened with harsh sound and polished to a high shine. Some of West’s recent albums have been brittle inside and out, but this is music that, for better and worse, matches the moment, with songs that are pugnacious, brooding, lewd and a little exasperated.

Most revealingly, he is not going it alone. Broadly speaking, collaborators are re-embracing him (if, indeed, they ever chose otherwise). Guest verses are delivered by Freddie Gibbs, Quavo, Lil Durk, Playboi Carti and more. Producers include well-known long-timers like Timbaland, No I.D. and Mustard, alongside umpteen newcomers. ¥$ was announced as a headliner at Rolling Loud in Los Angeles, the annual hip-hop festival of record.

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