Amid the Pusha T and Drake beef, Kanye West has debuted his first full-length project since 2016’s The Life of Pablo.
During an intimate album listening party in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Thursday evening, the rapper, 40, revealed the seven new tracks off the EP entitled simply YE. The album has yet to be released on any streaming services.
A group of handpicked stars including Chris Rock, Jonah Hill, Big Sean and Pusha T, as well as media and industry heavyweights gathered around bonfires to listen to the album with the Rocky Mountains in the background just after 10 p.m. local time.
The short seven tracks – featuring Kid Cudi, Ty Dolla $ign, Frank Ocean and surprise features by Nicki Minaj and Willow Smith – addressed everything from his mental health and drug addiction to Tristan Thompson‘s cheating scandal and wife Kim Kardashian West‘s reaction to his infamous declaration that slavery was a choice.
The rapper revealed how Kardashian West reacted after his comments about slavery on one track.
“Wife calling screaming saying we’re about to lose it all I had to calm her down ‘cos she couldn’t breathe/I told her she could leave me now but she wouldn’t leave,” he rapped. “This is what they mean for better or for worse huh?”
Addressing Thompson’s cheating on sister-in-law Khloé Kardashian, West rapped, “All these thots on Christian Mingle/That’s what almost got Tristan single.”
The Yeezy designer also name-checked Stormi Daniels, his mother-in-law Kris Jenner’s boyfriend Corey Gamble and Russell Simmons, who has recently been accused of sexual assault.
“Russell Simmons want to pray for me too/ I pray for him because he got Me Too’d,” he rapped. West did not, perhaps surprisingly, mention President Donald Trump.
West also spoke about his struggles with drug addiction and his mental health, confirming he is bipolar and calling it his “superpower” declaring “ain’t no disability, I’m a superhero.”
West did not talk before debuting the album but walked into the crowd arm-in-arm with Kardashian West and followed closely by his former manager Scooter Braun.
It was left to comedian Rock to introduce the rapper.
“Welcome to the world premiere of the latest opus from the one and only Kanye West entitled YE,” Rock announced.
“Remember this rap music, hip-hop music, is the first art form created by free black men. And no black man has taken more advantage of his freedom than Kanye West,” adding, “Listen without prejudice.”
After West publicly announced his album in a series of tweets in April — writing “my album is 7 songs” — the father of three released two songs, “Ye Vs. The People” featuring T.I. and “Lift Yourself.” Neither made it on the album.
That same month, West teased the artwork for the album when he tweeted a text conversation between him and his friend Wes. “This is my album cover. This is plastic surgeon Jan Adams. The person who performed my moms final surgery. Do you have any title ideas?” West wrote along with a photo of the California doctor who operated on his late mother Donda before her sudden death in November 2007.
Wes also suggested that West call the album Love Everyone to which the rapper enthusiastically responded with “I love that.”
However, it seems he had a change of heart for the cover with his wife revealing the designer shot the cover on his iPhone on the way to the party.
Kanye shot the album cover on his iPhone on the way to the album listening party 😂🔥❤️🔥🙏🏼🔥
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 1, 2018
West’s album comes weeks after his headline-making social media activities before he retreated to Jackson Hole with his wife, with whom he celebrated four years of marriage on May 24.
The outspoken musician dominated the news cycle in April and May with Twitter sprees, explosive interviews and a controversial alliance with President Trump.
West received major backlash for suggesting slavery is “a choice” during a TMZ interview, which aired the same day he told Charlamagne tha God in a sit-down that he suffered from an opioid addiction after becoming dependent on the pain medications following a liposuction procedure in 2016.
Shortly before West’s media attention, sources told that he cut off contact with multiple people in his inner circle and confirmed that he stopped working with a manager and lawyer. (Braun, who helped launch Justin Bieber to fame and also works with Ariana Grande, was on West’s team for the over two years. However, Braun was by his side Thursday night. West also split with his longtime manager Izvor “Izzy” Zivkovic.)
An insider previously that West was so excited about his latest projects that he sometimes forgot to respect other people’s boundaries.
“He’s all over the place. Excited. Loud. He’s sleeping very little, texting at all hours of the day or night. Coming up with ideas, sending them to people and instructing everyone to drop everything and collaborate. He truly feels like it’s the most exciting stuff in the world,” the insider said during the production of the album.
“He’ll get something in his mind – a lyric or even a phrase, and he’s so excited that he’ll send 23 texts about it at 2:30 in the morning,” the friend continues. “It’s like he has discovered a cure for cancer.”
Another friend of West reiterated similar sentiments at the time: “The way he says things with such affirmation, he genuinely believes he’s God and a genius and that he can do everything on his own.”
The latest album is over two years in the making as ‘Ye told fans in February 2016, “My next album is titled ‘Turbo Grafx 16’ as of now.” (The Turbo Grafx 16 was a popular game console in the ’80s.)
But West is known to change the creative direction of albums in the 11th-hour: He recently changed Pusha T’s cover art for his new album DAYTONA by paying $85,000 to license a photo of Whitney Houston‘s drug-covered bathroom.
Back in early 2015, The Life of Pablo went through several name changes from So Help Me God to SWISH before its official release in February 2016.
West will also be releasing his joint project with Kid Cudi, titled Kids See Ghosts, on June 8 before Nas’ album, his first since Life Is Good in 2012, on June 15 and Teyana Taylor’s sophomore album on June 22, both of which West is producing as part of G.O.O.D Music.