Have you ever gone down a huge hypothetical rabbit hole that has a silly premise but makes perfect sense to you and the voices in your head?
No? You have a life?
Anyways, I was thinking to myself when I realized, “You know what? There are a lot of parallels between Kanye’s latest album, The Life of Pablo, and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.”
I’m sure everyone thinks about this all the time.
Now Mom, before you schedule a drug test for me, allow me to explain myself: Both works are the seventh albums/movies in each brand’s catalog, and both dealt with unprecedented amounts of hype leading up to their releases.
In the case of Star Wars, the outside hype was the conflict that drove the movie. As movie critic Andy Greenwald argued upon the film’s release, the film isn’t about Kylo Ren, three-pronged lightsabers, or that giant hole that Han Solo falls into. Rather, The Force Awakens is about Hollywood’s finest attempting to do the impossible: Make Star Wars great again. All that mattered was whether or not it was possible to capture the original excitement of the Star Wars franchise in 2015.
And for the most part, director JJ Abrams uses nostalgia and past plot lines (growing up on a desert planet, blowing up a death star, bringing in R2-D2’s soccer ball cousin) to fulfill expectations. Although most will not put The Force Awakens as an equal to the original trilogy, it’s still considered a worthy addition to the franchise.
A similar story can be said for The Life of Pablo. Rather than go in a brand new direction, Kanye uses an amalgamation of his past sounds in his latest work. You can hear 808s and Heartbreak’s icy autotune of in Wolves, College Dropout soul-sampling in No More Parties in LA, and the Yeezus inspired industrial synths on Feedback. The people wanted more Kanye and they got it, even if some of it was repackaged.
With that, I’m going to stretch this metaphor all the way out to the Arkanis sector and match each Star Wars movie to its “Spirit Kanye Album.” I will also give my personal rankings of each Kanye album since you didn’t ask.
*Note: I’m not the biggest Star Wars or Kanye buff, so I apologize if my “lore” of either subject is not up to snuff. Also, I do not mean to trash any of the movies or albums as I have enjoyed them all in at least some capacity. I’m just here for the memes.
Life of Pablo Personal Album Rank: #5
EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE
Spirit Kanye Album: The College Dropout
What better way to kick things off than with the original? In these projects, we see Kanye and Luke Skywalker start out as major underdogs; Kanye coming back from a major motorcycle wreck that forced doctors to wire his mouth shut, and Luke facing a similar mouth catastrophe after kissing his sister (although apparently that scene wasn’t until the next movie so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
Personal Album Rank: #3
EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
Spirit Kanye Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Everyone and their grandma (on their mom’s side) has a different ranking of Kanye’s albums. It’s something that we’ll never reach a consensus on. However, I think it’s safe to say that his most critically acclaimed album (albeit not by everyone) is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which is why we’re putting it next to Empire and its 94% Rotten Tomatoes score. Darth Vader’s iconic “I am your father” quote pairs nicely with Kanye’s “Imma let you finish” interruption as memorable surprises from their respective years. Luke and Kanye subsequently fall down literal and metaphorical holes respectively, only to come back stronger.
Personal Album Rank: #2
EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Spirit Kanye Album: Graduation
At the end of their respective original trilogies, there is an overwhelming sense of celebration that comes with each of these projects. Graduation catches Kanye at his peak animated bear phase, while Return of the Jedi bring Ewoks into the fold. Just as Luke pays tribute to his mentors Obi Wan and Yoda in the final scene, Kanye gives thanks to his “Big Brother” Jay-Z on the final track. Although both would have perfectly (w)rapped up (<–it’s OK I’m cringing too) their respective sagas, there was too much money left on the table for it to truly be the end.
Personal Album Rank: #4 (I imagine most people disagree with this ranking.)
EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE
Spirit Kanye Album: Yeezus
Taking a different direction from its predecessors, no album elicits a stronger reaction (both positive and negative) from fans than Yeezus. Meanwhile, ask anyone over 30 about The Phantom Menace and you can expect to hear groans and something about ruining their childhood. (Note: I’ve only seen The Phantom Menace once because my family would never let us waste family movie time to watch it again). Although most people do not love The Phantom Menace, any kid can agree that at least Darth Maul and that final lightsaber fight were cool. Likewise, if you hate Yeezus, at least there are some salvageable bangers.
(Yes, I know Desiigner didn’t show up until The Life of Pablo. However, I figured that Desiigner repeatedly saying “Panda Panda” was the Kanye cinematic universe’s answer to Jar Jar Binks. Just in case you didn’t think I took this metaphor too far).
Personal Album Rank: #6
EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES
Spirit Kanye Album: 808s and Heartbreak
Whereas 808s comes as a response to the personal turmoil in Kanye’s life (losing his mother, breaking his engagement with ), Attack of the Clones chronicles Anakin dealing with the loss of his mother as he exposes his broken heart to the dark side. Kid Cudi plays Count Dooku in this increasingly baseless analogy, as several Kanye “clones” begin to take up the smooth auto-tuned 808s sound. Whereas 808s is one of the most influential albums of its era, setting the foundation for artists such as Drake, Episode II sets the stage for…uh…Episode III?
Personal Album Rank: #7
EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH
Spirit Kanye Album: Late Registration
I don’t mean to say that Revenge of the Sith is the best that Star Wars has to offer. However, it may be the most slept on movie in the series. Just like how Anakin challenges his mentor Obi-Wan in the movie’s climax, Late Registration is the point when Kanye rises to become Jay’s peer. Although Anakin’s betrayal of the Jedi order and Kanye’s stunning decision to leave Broke Phi Broke are the closest that either project gets to any semblance of plot, there are still plenty of great moments to keep both fanbases satisfied.
Personal Album Rank: #1
Rogue One == Watch The Throne
Neither project is considered to be canon, yet both are action packed and tide fans over until the next movie/album.
Cruel Summer == The Star Wars Holiday Special
Are we sure either of these happened? Also both go for a seasonal theme in the title.
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi == Turbo Grafx 16
Just as Episode VII left old man Luke Skywalker all alone on a secluded island planet, sources are reporting that Kanye is currently “holed up” in a mountain retreat in Wyoming, trying to find inspiration for his next album. Whether or not it’s Star Wars themed is anyone’s guess.
Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2 == Chance the Rapper
A colorful remix of the Marvel superhero movies meets Kanye’s only optimistic protégé. Chance’s unconventional flow mirrors the unconventional superheroes that Guardians has to offer, as neither Chance nor Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord are fond of CDs. Backed with an “Awesome Mix” of soulful production and blessings from Kanye himself, Chance and Guardians are fresh new franchises that aren’t going away soon.
Thanks to everyone who read this and at least tried to follow my unscientific logic.
Have a nice day.