Kanye West & Ty Dolla $ign – Vultures 1 [Review]

I was going to delve into Kanye West‘s recent and turbulent history, but Vultures 1, despite being released on the twentieth anniversary of Kanye’s debut studio album, The College Dropout, is not a Kanye West album; it’s a collaborative project with Ty Dolla $ign (or ¥$). Moreover, the making and release of this project has it’s own confusing history, with multiple delays and changes to its tracklist before finally being independently released on February 10, 2024. So, grab your $20 Yeezy Pods, hockey mask, make sure it is still available on your music streaming platforms of choice, and let’s check out the first volume in the Vultures trilogy: Vultures 1.

Produced by Kanye West, FNZ, SHDØW, Digital Nas, JPEGMAFIA, Ojivolta, & Sean Leon
Some people have compared this song, “Stars,” to “Ultralight Beam” and I guess I can see it. In my head, the song samples some old, dusty, unknown church choir, but in actuality, it interpolates “Good Luck” by singer Dijon. (I also had no idea what the hook was saying until I looked up the words: “I hope he’s bright and big and strong.”) Either way, the song has this epic feel that I mess with.

With its feel, this is one of those songs that couldn’t fit anywhere else on the album but the intro. Kanye has the first verse, with Ty handling the second. Nothing really of note lyric-wise other than Kanye talking about “blacking out” and keeping “a few Jews on the staff now,” but I am not going to get too into that.

Produced by Kanye West, Timbaland, Hubi, SHDØW, Vinnyforgood, & VEYIS
Kanye West said a line on this song, “How does it sound when you got Yeezy over Timbo?” and I thought, “Wait, Timbaland produced this?” This is the most non-Timbaland-produced song I have ever heard. (Maybe I can hear it towards the end, I guess.)

Content-wise, Kanye West seems to be rapping about Kim Kardashian and unhealthy relationships in general. That being said, I wouldn’t rank it as Yeezy’s best rapping:

Ever since I lost my mom, you were like my foster mom
Hold me like your only son
Hold me like the homies in the Chi’ when they hold their guns
Hold me like a trophy in the sky when they know they won

But even with the so-so rapping and even though “Keys To My Life” sometimes feels like it was two songs mashed together, by the time it got to the “Can It Be All So Simple” sample, I was sold.

I am confused about why India Love is singing at the end. I am a fan of her Instagram page work, but it seemed kind of unnecessary.

Produced by Kanye West, Stryv, Wax Motif, Chrishan, & Anthony Kilhoffer
I have already spoken a few times about Kanye West’s rapping not being what it used to be, and the same is said here. It’s not “Lift Yourself” bad, but still bad.

I haven’t spoken much about Ty Dolla $ign yet, and let me point out that he is the best thing on this song, and because of him, I can see this song being a hit in the dance clubs (or whatever Drake was doing on Honestly, Nevermind). The whole song is built around the famous Marshawn Lynch quote.

Apparently, that is K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci singing at the end of the song, sounding like a 60-year-old man, and then I looked up his age, and he’s around that age. Now I feel old.

Featuring North West; Produced by Kanye West, DJ Camper, James Blake, No I.D., & Edsclusive
I know there is a trend of rappers putting their kids on songs (see Beyoncé with Blue Ivy and Drake with Adonis), but this is the best one and probably the catchiest song on the album.

The second half of the song is Ty Dolla $ign talking about his daughter, and while the first part of the song is the headliner, the second half is pretty good too. (Actually, when the video came out, I thought it was two songs, as it was originally titled “Talking / Once Again.”) I have always heard elementary kids singing this one, so it’s a win.

Sidenote: With this song, North West became one of the youngest artist to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 at age 10.

Featuring Freddie Gibbs; Produced by Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, 88-Keys, Wax Motif, AyoAA, Feez, Nic Nac, & James Alex Hau
Oddly enough, this may have been my most anticipated song just for the Freddie Gibbs verse alone. I was kinda annoyed that it takes over three minutes to get to said verse, but after a few listens, I was won over by Ty Dolla $ign’s hook, the beat, and (of course) the sampled clip from the movie Dogma of Jason Mewes saying, “Beautiful, naked, big-titty women just don’t fall out the sky, you know?” (I even like the quick “Rock Box” Run-DMC sample.)

Yeah, this is one of my favorite songs on the album so far.

Produced by Kanye West, 88-Keys, & DJ Camper
The constant and irritating “HOODRAT, HOODRAT, HOODRAT, HOODRAT” here turned me off of this song. (Is that a sample of Rick Ross?!) And while this could have been better, there are a few things to like here. As much as it can be too much, I can see people singing the beginning of Kanye’s verse:

You look like a piece of hallelujah
Wrapped up in—have mercy, Lord

It’s not a bad song (it may grow on me), but it could have been better.

7. DO IT
Featuring YG; Produced by Kanye West, Mustard, Wheezy, Chrishan, CuBeatz, LukasBL, & DTP
The production feels like a throwaway DJ Mustard beat…

**reads credits**

Oh, okay. So it IS a DJ Mustard beat (with the five other producers added after like most of Kanye West tracks).

This is a real west coast track, and with the YG feature, I guess this was Ty Dolla $ign’s idea, which I understand. But “Do It” feels average and like you could put this track on any other project; it doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to be here.

I do appreciate the unnecessary “Back That Azz Up” beat switch towards the end.

Featuring Quavo; Produced by Kanye West, Digital Nas, DJ Vitinho Beat, & DJ Roca
This is the first skip for me on this album. Angry synth sounds with Quavo and a mediocre verse don’t mix.

Produced by Kanye West, Azul, Morten “Rissi” Ristorp, Chrishan, The Legendary Traxster, & Leon Thomas III
If I had two favorites off this album, “Back To Me” is the first and this song, “Burn,” is the second (proof of that here). From the beat and the way it flips “Love Me or Leave Me” by Band of Thieves to Kanye’s rapping (“When my campaign turned to cam-pain”); this might be the closest we ever get to the “Old Kanye.” And when I say old, I mean pre-808s & Heartbreaks. Sadly, it clocks in right under two minutes, but it’s worth a listen.

Featuring Playboi Carti & Travis Scott; Produced by Kanye West, Timbaland, SHDØW, Hubi, Digital Nas, AyoAA, Chrishan, & JPEGMAFIA
Much to the dismay of my younger colleagues, I have never been that into Playboi Carti or Travis Scott. Nothing here really changed that. By the time it gets to Travis Scott’s verse, I was kinda checked out. The whole thing sounded messy and thrown together. But let me note that I am an old man, so the kids will probably eat this up.

Featuring Bump J & Lil Durk; Produced by Kanye West, Ty Dolla $ign, Ambezza, Fya Man, Gustave Rudman, Ojivolta, Chordz, Juice, Wheezy, & Adey
As the lead single for this album, this did not impress me at all. I know at one point Lil Durk was taken off the official version only to be added back, but it didn’t really matter to me. The song is just boring.

I do appreciate Bump J getting some shine though.

Featuring Rich The Kid & Playboi Carti; Produced by Kanye West, TheLabCook, Ojivolta, & Digital Nas
I thought this song sampled some obscure British punk song or something. Nah, Kanye went and got some soccer hooligans, Inter Milan Ultras, to do the hook, and weirdly, even without that backstory, it works, and this one of those songs that is gonna get the crowd amped when this comes on. It could even be another sports anthem if it weren’t for the “Head so good, she an honor roll/She ride the dick like a carnival” lyrics on the hook. (Apparently, there is a “Hooligans Version” of this song I did not know about.)

Sidenote: There needs to be an investigation into how Rich The Kid keeps getting these collaborations. Rich The Kid has songs with people like Kendrick Lamar, does whole projects with rappers like NBA Youngboy and Lil Wayne, and now he has the first verse on what will probably be the biggest song on this album. All that being said, he might have had the best verse on the track.

As for the rest of the participants on this song: Ty Dolla turns in a good verse. Yeezy sounds unhinged (more than usual), and I’m not sure if this was the best place to talk about the school placement of rich kids. Playboi Carti feels like he is overpowered by the beat, but it’s not that bad.

On the breakdown of the song, it originally sampled Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man,” but without Ozzy Osbourne’s permission, so the sample was changed to “Hell of a Life” by Kanye… which also samples Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.” Personally, for a second, I thought it was gonna go into Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme music. (That’s one for the wrestling fans… or Lil Uzi Vert listeners.)

After singing the hook for two days, I guess I can say the song is a hit. (Unless the Swifties have something to say about it.)

Featuring Chris Brown; Produced by Kanye West, London on da Track, VITALS, Digital Nas, JPEGMAFIA, & SHDØW
Having a Chris Brown feature only to distort his voice for most of it is an interesting move, but here we are (The same effect is used on Ty Dolla $ign’s vocals on “Back To Me”).

I could give or take the first half of the song as the only interesting thing is the voice distortion. Things pick up when we get to Ty Dolla $ign’s part, and the beat sounds like a frantic church choir in a school gym. It takes a while to get there, and I can see how some would think this is another mashup of two songs.

To me, it’s an okay song, but more importantly this song reportedly helped comfort a stranded skier who was stuck in California mountains overnight. So what do I know?

Produced by Kanye West & No I.D.
The drama behind this song is that it was originally meant to sample Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.” That didn’t happen, so they replayed and reworked it with singer J. Rey Soul (I have heard that A.I. was used to do this, but apparently that is not true). The estate of Donna Summers still feels the song is copyright infringement, thus the song is not available on streaming platforms as of me writing this.

The song has a pop feel, and the lyrics talk about the smile from a loved one being enough to keep going. It’s serviceable. I probably won’t play it again, but it’s okay.

Produced by Kanye West, 88-Keys, Slonka, & DJ Camper
There are some cringe and questionable lines on this album, but Ye kinda stacks them on this song:

I’m not racist, it’s a preference
And my bitch lookin’ like a reference

You might get you a trip to the Poconos
You might have to tell your man a Pinocchio
That was a jokey-joke
That wasn’t nowhere near as funny when you brokey-broke

African king in a different time
We got multiple wives too, just at different times
Picture this, if every room got a different bitch
Do that make me a po-nigga-mist?

I’m personally not offended, but cringe is cringe.

Still, when the horns came in on the second half, I was kinda sucked in and had to ask myself, “Does this sound epic?” I also liked the quick back-and-forth by Ty and Yeezy. Yeah, this works.

16. KING
Produced by Wheezy, Dez Wright, Lester Nowhere, & JPEGMAFIA
Here, Kanye declares that he is still the “King” even after being labeled “Crazy, bipolar, antisemite.”


This doesn’t fit as a proper ending or the exclamation point this album needed. Actually, this probably could have been left off the album altogether.

The beat sounds dated (which I’m sure was on purpose), and the (again) it’s not Ye’s best performance. Just not the best ending for Vultures 1.

Wait, what happened to that Backstreet Boys song?!


Beside being deemed “unreviewable” by some or people feeling for Kanye, Vultures 1 is not a terrible project and offers a mix of standout tracks with forgettable moments. While some songs like “Burn” and “Back to Me” shine, others like “Vultures” and “Paperwork” fall flat. Ty Dolla $ign sometimes steals the spotlight with his performances, while Kanye’s rapping, though not as sharp as in his earlier work and erratic at times, still delivers at moments. Despite its flaws, Vultures 1 showcases glimpses of brilliance, making it a compelling listen for fans of both artists but especially Yeezy fans.