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Kim and Kanye at ye listening party
Kim and Kanye at ye listening party in Wyomingvia Def Jam Records/Instagram

Reactions to ye: the memes, the mixed reviews and accusations of stealing

How fans and critics really feel about ye

Kanye West's latest album, ye, has been out in the world since Friday, June 1, and almost immediately, it has fans and critics alike dissecting, reacting and posting about it. Compared to other Kanye offerings, it's easy to dismiss ye if only because it clocks with seven tracks (his shortest album to date). It feels even easier to dismiss it since it has arrived only weeks after Kanye made controversial and contentious remarks in regards to his current political leanings and his views on slavery. Fans were cautious, to say the least.

But with ye available to stream on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal, fans have been able to consume it and react accordingly. For the most part, it looks like ye has garnered positive reviews, with comparisons made to Kanye's previous albums, notably 808s & Heartbreak, Graduation and The College Dropout. Some have argued that it's necessary to separate the art from the artist because in the case of ye, asking listeners to push aside Kanye's controversial remarks and focus on the strength of his lyrics and musical arrangements. For every positive review, there seems to be a more critical one, taking aim at the problematic timing of ye's release as well as the music itself.

While the music of ye is getting mixed reviews, the album cover is getting its own special attention because of its meme-worthy potential. The original cover features a photo of the Wyoming countryside (which Kim revealed was taken by Kanye while they were en route to the ye listening party earlier this week) and has the words "I hate being bi-polar it's awesome" written over it in neon green lettering. The simplicity of the cover's design and its homemade feel inevitably opened the door for fans to make fun of the artwork's simplicity. As a note: this is also a phrase that's been seen on fridge magnets and Camden market tshirts, likely making it even more recognisable to fans.

As a final note, amidst this flurry of mixed praised and viral memes, it looks like ye is also facing some serious allegations of sampling without first getting permission to do so. On Friday, Bill Kouligas, president of the German record label PAN, came forward claiming that he believes Kanye may have used a sample from "Fr3sh," an ambient/electronic track by PAN artist Kareem Lotfy, in the opening track on ye, "I Thought About Killing You."

Speaking to Pitchfork, Bill comments that "It’s sadly another case of an artist who capitalizes on culture without any original ideas and because culture trickles up, this means we are all basically working for him. Everything leads to him, he’s the ultimate narcissist."

Neither Kanye nor his reps have released a statement to confirm or deny Bill's allegations.