This Tuesday Kanye West releases his sixth studio album Yeezus. Pictured above is what the physical album will look like in stores. Its minimalist design features no album album artwork, only a transparent jewel case with some red tape. There is no link from iTunes or Amazon to preorder the album. It drops June 18 and that’s the day you can snag it. ‘Ye hasn’t done much in terms of promoting the album in the traditional sense. He performed on SNL and after that he projected images and sound on buildings around the world for fans to flock to and discover his new sound.
The most hype is emitting from a recent interview he conducted with The New York Times. In it ‘Ye opens up about his past mistakes, his problem with the Grammys, the inspiration behind previous albums 808s & Heartbreak and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, parenthood (his girlfriend Kim Kardashian gave birth to their daughter days after the interview posted), fashion, and more. Expectedly, Kanye stroked his ego more than once throughout the back-and-forth describing himself as ”the Michael Jordan of music” and saying about his career “I knew I was going to make it this far; I knew that this was going to happen.” He also calls himself the “Steve [Jobs] of Internet, downtown, fashion, culture.” And he concluded the interview with this:
I think that’s a responsibility that I have, to push possibilities, to show people: “This is the level that things could be at.” So when you get something that has the name Kanye West on it, it’s supposed to be pushing the furthest possibilities. I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.
It’s a must-read for fans of the undoubtedly talented artist who has certainly evolved in many ways since his 2004 debut The College Dropout. Read the interview in full here.
Now what can you expect from Yeezus? The Times‘ Jon Caramanica describes it as “a turn away from [Kanye's] reliable maximalism to something more urgent and visceral.” He describes the songs as “becoming more skeletal and ferocious.” He goes on to say, “The music of Yeezus — spare, direct and throbbing — is, effectively, a palate cleanser after years of overexertion, backing up lyrics that are among the most serrated and provocative of his career.”
And even Mr. West, who thinks of himself as a “black new wave artist,” shared some of his influences: “It’s like trap and drill and house. I knew that I wanted to have a deep Chicago influence on this album, and I would listen to like, old Chicago house. I think that even “Black Skinhead” could border on house, “On Sight” sounds like acid house, and then “I Am a God” obviously sounds, like, super house.”
After the break, a brief clip of Kanye rapping new track “I Am A God” on headphones with an appearance by collaborator Rick Rubin. Under that, a short film inspired by the movie American Psycho starring Kourtney Kardashian’s boyfriend Scott Disick (who actually really does resemble the movie’s star Christian Bale) and Kim’s friend Jonathan Cheban in the role orignially made famous by Jared Leto.
Kanye West is about to explode onto the music scene once again, this time with his upcoming sixth studio album and the followup to his critically acclaimed 2011 release My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Over the past few months ‘Ye has been working hard on the album at an undisclosed recording studio in Paris, France. It was only until very recently that the rapper resurfaced with new material. His most public debut of two brand new tracks came last night when he performed “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead” on Saturday Night Live. The album titled Yeezus has an overall dark tone according to those few who’ve heard samples from it already, and that description is immediately apparent upon hearing the new tracks. ‘Ye embodies a form of rage with distinct political flair here, a quality fans of the genre would typically attribute to Lupe Fiasco. See for yourself in the SNL performances embedded after the break.
A day before his visit to Studio 8H, Kanye tweeted a link to his website that provided fans with a map of highlighted cities around the world; 66 buildings located in cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Berlin were specially marked for fans to flock to to get a first listen of ‘Ye’s new sound. A giant image of Kanye’s face was projected onto these buildings, looping the fresh track “New Slaves.” Though it hasn’t been confirmed, sources say Frank Ocean is featured singing towards the end of the track. See how the unique fan experience went down in a clip posted after the break.
Yeezus is expected to drop June 18. For a sneak peek at the “golden” album artwork, you know where to look. (Click here for more…)
Wu Tang Clan leader RZA is about to make his directorial debut with The Man with the Iron Fists, a martial arts film that promises a bloody good time. The cast is led by Russell Crowe, Lucy Lui, and RZA, and the pedigree behind it is high with Eli Roth writing (with RZA) and producing and Quentin Tarantino is credited as “presenting” the movie.
With RZA’s background in mind, it should come as no surprise that the soundtrack for Iron Fists features a lineup of great rappers. They include Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli, Raekwon, Pusha T, and Kanye West. The track headlined by Kanye West and produced by West, RZA, Tapez, and Boogz is called “White Dress” and it sits above for your listening pleasure. If anything it will take you back to Ye’s College years as you’ll instantly recognize the classic sound.
After the break you’ll find the full soundtrack tracklist plus a trailer for the movie. The music releases October 23, and the The Man with the Iron Fists hits theatres November 2.
Update: The entire soundtrack is now available to stream for free here.
01 The Black Keys and RZA: “The Baddest Man Alive”
02 Ghostface Killah, M.O.P, and Pharoahe Monch: “Black Out”
03 Kanye West: “White Dress”
04 The Revelations: “I Forgot to Be Your Lover” [ft. Tre Williams]
05 Talib Kweli and RES: “Get Your Way (Sex as a Weapon)”
06 Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, and Kool G. Rap: “Rivers of Blood”
07 Method Man, Freddie Gibbs, and StreetLife: “Built for This”
08 24 Carat Black: “Poverty’s Paradise”
09 Killa Sin: “The Archer”
10 RZA and Flatbush Zombies: “Just Blowin’ in the Wind”
12 Corrine Bailey Rae: “Chains”
13 Pusha T and Raekwon: “Tick Tock”
14 Frances Yip: “Green is the Mountain”
15 The Wu-Tang Clan: “Six Directions of Boxing”
16 Mabel John: “Your Good Thing Is About to End”
At last, Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music collaboration album Cruel Summer is out. To celebrate its release, Mr. West has released a video in which he discusses the inspiration behind the music. The rapper speaks candidly above.
Kanye West is cutting it close, but he’s just going to make it. His G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer is set to hit stores September 18, three days before the sweltering season comes to a close. Since the album is now available to preorder digitally at iTunes, the official tracklist is out in the open. You may be surprised to discover that ‘Ye reached out to artists outside his G.O.O.D. Music label to contribute to the album. Such guests include R. Kelly, The-Dream, and Ma$e. A total of 12 tracks make up Cruel Summer, and five of them we’ve already heard: Mercy, Cold, I Don’t Like, New God Flow, and Clique. Disappointing? Perhaps. Even more so is that Kid Cudi is only featured on a single track (all by himself) and Mr. Hudson is no where to be seen.
Jump after the break to view the full tracklisting. The video embedded above features an animated rendition of the artistic tri-fold packaging. [Preorder a digital copy at iTunes / Preorder a physical copy at Amazon]
The latest single off Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer is “Clique.” It features verses from Big Sean, Mr. West, and the other half of The Throne, Jay-Z. The track is produced by Hit-Boy and it’s a hot one. Hear it below and get ready for Cruel Summer due out September 18.
Though this docu dropped over a year ago, Paradigm Magazine’s recent interview with filmmaker Robert Lopuski successfully launched the ten-minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of Kanye West and Jay-Z collab album into the wild for the masses to finally witness. The interview, which can be read in full here, tells the story of how Lopuski randomly bumped into West in New York City and how that act of fate fashioned the opportunity for the filmmaker to collaborate with the musician in Sydney, Australia during the production of Watch the Throne. Lopuski was forced to shoot most of the video with cheap Flip cams but the result is quite grand. West is known for his secrecy, and this is an exciting (even if very brief) glimpse into his life as he’s amongst friends (Jay, Beyonce, Russell Crowe, other producers) and making music. The best part, however, is when we get to see Kanye’s life-long mentor Jay in a rapper’s predicament as he practices his verse from “Why I Love You”; this starts at the 7:30 mark.
Lopuski shines a candid light on the typically private life of these rappers and the final product is definitely worth a look. The video attempts to bring things full circle as the WTT footage is mixed with archived clips from the early days when Jay was helping producer Kanye elevate his game as a solo rapper. Says Lopuski, “In the world of hip-hop, anybody who does something different is a genius, anybody who does something successful is making history; you know it all becomes these exaggerated, bombastic endeavors. And so, for me, I was not interested in that; I was more interested in the smaller moments. The quiet power of talent.”
[Via Paradigm Magazine]
A mouthful, isn’t it? But so is this two-part music video. DJ Khaled sixth studio album Kiss the Ring is out tomorrow (August 21) and to kick-start the hype machine he enlisted famed hip-hop clip director Hype Williams to shoot a music video for the album’s single “I Wish You Would” that features Rick Ross the boss and Kanye West. At 3:53 that track comes to a halt and ‘Ye’s controversial “Cold” (formally “Theraflu” and “So Cold”) starts up. Though the track is edited and gets cut short there is a brief cameo from West’s current girlfriend Kim Kardashian, so don’t blink. Though the clips are literally all over the place with shaky cam business, Williams did a good overall with it; I especially like the parts when West’s eyes go dark and are replaced with those glow-in-the-dark slits. How does it compare to the unofficial clip from Caleb Harper aka mini Kanye? Can your headphones go louder? Check it out.
Summer is about to turn cruel. On August 2 Kanye West took to Twitter to share the provocative, bright white, raised cover art for his upcoming G.O.O.D. Music collaboration album Cruel Summer. In addition to the art, he also posted a side shot of the album’s packing, revealing that it is of the tri-fold variety much like his previous release Watch The Throne. What’s inside? The CD, of course; but what else? That’s still a mystery. For now, eye the art above and jump the break for the angled shot.
We’ve seen Kid Cudi cover don the cover multiple times, but now nearly every member of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label has the time to shine in this month’s issue of Complex Magazine. In a four-page interview (available online and in print), Complex’s Noah Callahan-Bever talks with G.O.O.D. Music members Big Sean, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Common, John Legend, Q-Tip, and 2 Chainz about what it’s like working with Kanye West inside the studio and how he helped jumpstart and innovate their careers. Since ‘Ye advocates a “no press” policy, this makes for an interesting read for all fans of ‘Ye and his labelmates because it dives into material that otherwise would never make it out in the open.
The interview starts off with the artists talking about what G.O.O.D. Music means to them. John Legend sums it up nicely when he says, “We want to be known for quality. We want to be known for stuff that we all can be proud of. That creativity, that attention to detail, that quality control—that’s what distinguishes us from other folks who might just be chasing a hit. Kanye picks artists who care about making great art. We all want to make money and do well, but we also want to make great art that’s important and interesting.” From there they discuss how Kanye carries the torch and gets involved in their respective music making processes. In the end, these hip-hop musicians are a family, and under Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Music umbrella they help each other push out quality music that pushes the boundaries of the genre to new heights.
Read the interview in full right here. Look in the gallery below to browse pictures from the zine’s photoshoot. Jump after the break to watch a behind-the-scenes video from said photoshoot; in it you’ll hear the various G.O.O.D. artists expound their statements put forth in the interview.
And, for those of you wondering, the G.O.O.D. Music album Cruel Summer is now set to release September 4.
Update: During the photoshoot, Complex pulled Kid Cudi aside to ask him a few questions regarding his relationship to ‘Ye and Cud explained how his mentor will always remain an integral part of his music making process. He also comments on his upcoming solo album dubbed Indicud saying, “I’ve been writing some really serious raps. I’ve been writing some sh*t that’s going to fu*k people up. And it’s about that time that I let n****s know.” Read the mini interview here.
G.O.O.D. Music opened the 2012 BET Awards tonight with a spectacular performance of “Mercy.” Featured artists Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz spit their respective verses with absolute confidence and tore the venue up. When it was Kanye’s turn to take the spotlight, he transitioned to “Cold” (the track previously known as “Theraflu” and “Way Too Cold”) and then went on to preview a brand new, still unreleased track “New God Flow.” ‘Ye went hard and did it a cappella, impressing everyone in the crowd and at home. See how it all went down in the clip embedded above. When “New God Flow” drops, you’ll know.
For a list of the night’s big winners, click here.
Update: “New God Flow” featuring Pusha T and Kanye West has arrived. Is it the best G.O.O.D. Music collaboration yet? Hear it here, now.
Kanye West and a chunk of his G.O.O.D. Music crew Big Sean, Pusha T, and 2 Chainz light it up in this black-and-white set in widescreen music video for “MERCY,” the first single off the G.O.O.D. compilation album now officially titled Cruel Summer. As the camera swerves left and right the rappers take turns spitting verses, all the while their egos replicate thanks to the inclusion of some neat special effects. Also, a Lamborghini and a couple motocycles linger in the background as they should. Kid Cudi, Cyhi da Prynce, and Teyana Taylor make special appearances.
Cruel Summer is on track to drop sometime this year.
G.O.O.D. Music: The Throne drops “No Church In The Wild” music video, Pusha T teams with The-Dream for “Exodus 23:1″
It’s been a rather busy week for valuable members of the G.O.O.D. Music family. On Tuesday the music video for “No Church In The Wild” dropped; it’s the third single off Kanye West & Jay-Z’s collaborative effort Watch The Throne. Unlike the previous two singles that also received clips (“Otis” and “Ni**as In Paris“), this riot-themed music video directed by Romain Gavras and shot in Prague does not feature the Throne duo nor featured artist Frank Ocean. Still, like everything West outputs it is visually pleasing and deserves at least one go-around. Watch it after the break.
Rising G.O.O.D. Music rapper Pusha T released a new track titled “Exodus 23:1″ featuring The-Dream. The very colorful clip does include Pusha as he stirs controversy with rival rapper Lil Wayne and his Young Money crew. Watch above, then snag a free download here. (Click here for more…)
A long overdue music video for Kanye West’s “Lost in the World” released late last week. The Justin Vernon-assisted track comes from West’s 2010 masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the visionary rapper entrusted filmmaker Ruth Hogben to direct this black-and-white clip. ‘Ye stars alongside his trusty models in this flashy, artistic rendition that certainly complements the heavy drums and emotions that this standout track elicits. Enjoy, above.
Also last week Kanye dropped not one but two new tracks on his website: a remix of the Cheif Keef song “I Don’t Like” featuring Pusha T, Jadakiss, and Big Sean and a track titled “Burn” featuring Big Sean and Maybach Music Group’s Meek Mill. Listen and download after the break. (Click here for more…)
Caleb Harper is a G. The youngster stars as mini Kanye West in this unofficial, brilliant music video for Ye’s new DJ Khaled collabo track “Way Too Cold” (formally titled “Theraflu”). It comes from director Ashley Smith and aside from the seemingly random masked political figures, she did a fantastic job putting this clip together. Little Caleb doesn’t miss a lyric or a beat, and he’s the reason why you should drop whatever you’re doing and mash play right this second. Mad props, kid.
G.O.O.D. Friday: Kanye West drops single “Mercy” featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz (Also inside: DJ Khaled-assisted “Theraflu”)
Mr. West is in the building. And so are his record label mates. Today Kanye West dropped the first official single off his upcoming album that promises to bring together the artists that are housed under his Getting Out Our Dreams record label. The track is titled “Mercy” and it features Big Sean who is Finally Famous and rising rappers Pusha T and 2 Chainz. Much like his previous G.O.O.D. Friday releases, ‘Ye gives ample time to his featured guests before popping with his own hard verses. The beat literally explodes when ‘Ye puts his grill to the mic. The reggae infused chorus is sampled from Super Beagle’s Dust a Sound Boy. Take a listen below, and download “Mercy” at the iTunes link provided. The G.O.O.D. Music compilation album–with raps and croons from other G.O.O.D. artists like Kid Cudi, John Legend, Common, Mr. Hudson, and Cyhi the Prynce–is expected to come out this spring.
BONUS! Yesterday Kanye leaked a slick new track called “Theraflu” produced by Hit-Boy and featuring DJ Khaled and DJ Pharris. You’re going to want to hear this one, too. West goes hard and gets some things off his chest, to say the least. The audio is embedded after the break, along with a download link and the racy, hilarious George Condo designed artwork. (Click here for more…)
Following “Otis“, “Ni**as In Paris” is Kanye West and Jay-Z’s second single off their collaborative effort Watch The Throne. For the music video, ‘Ye and Jay spliced together footage from their recent Watch The Throne tour and edited in sexy models, jungle cats, and an insane amount of strobe lights to create a psychedelic, if not headache inducing, trip. West, who directed the clip, had to include a “Viewer discretion is advised” warning at the front of it for people with photosensitive epilepsy… so there’s that. If you think you can handle it, mash play and see what it was like to experience the WTT tour through the trippy, admittedly creative mind of Mr. West. If you can get past all of the lights, that kaleidoscope effect is actually pretty neat and effective.
On December 1 the 2012 Grammy nominations were announced and rapper Kanye West leads the pack with seven nominations. Though this may sound like great news, of the seven nods only one falls in a major category. And that nod is for “All of the Lights”, a cut off West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy which competes against Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave”, Bruno Mars’ “Grenade”, Bon Iver’s “Holocene”, and Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” for Song of the Year. Twisted Fantasy and his latest effort Watch The Throne were snubbed and didn’t find a seat at the Album of the Year category. Instead, West’s albums will be competing against one another for Best Rap Album, along with Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter IV, Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers, and Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday. West also landed nominations in the following categories: Best Rap Performance (with Jay-Z on”Otis”), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (with Rihanna, Kid Cudi, and Fergie on “All of the Lights”), Best Rap Song (“All of the Lights” & ”Otis”), and Best Recording Package (Watch The Throne). Following close behind ‘Ye’s seven nods is Adele, Foo Fighters, and Bruno Mars with six each. Rapper Lil Wayne and newcomer Skrillex landed five a piece.
Click here to view the full 2012 Grammy nominees list. The 54th Grammys airs Sunday, February 12 at 8PM on CBS.
Kanye West & Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne tour kicked off last week on Friday in Atlanta, and so did their all-access pass website called VOYR. The Throne teamed with ad agency GlobalHue to create a video-based portal that gives fans inside access to behind the scenes during the length of the 26-city tour. The cost of entry is $4.99/month, and according to Complex that gives you “a 720-degree look of the stage, rehearsals, personal exercise routines, an exclusive Kanye documentary, and an animated series based on Kanye’s Runaway film.” Five episodes of behind the scenes footage will be uploaded to VOYR each week. Visit VOYR to watch a couple previews and you’ll find a link to sign up and subscribe there, too. Paying anything to view BTS footage from a music tour might be steep for most people, but if you consider yourself to be a big fan of Kanye and Jay-Z’s collaborative effort and missed out on purchasing tickets for the tour, this kind of exclusive content should do you some good.
Following the recent success of previous Watch The Throne single “Otis,” Kanye West and Jay-Z (collectively known as The Throne) have released the Ricardo Tisci-designed single artwork for the next two singles (see above and after the break). The art direction follows in the tradition started by “Otis”; American colors red, white, and blue dominate the scene and the rappers’ names, track and album title are inscribed in tiny white capitalized letters across it. Though you must admit that the patriotic theme comes out of focus when you realize that the vertical stripes match those found on the French flag. “N****s in Paris” and the Mr Hudson-assisted “Why I Love You” drop as official singles simultaneously next week on September 13, but that hasn’t stopped radio stations from playing the masterful beats. “Paris” has already debuted at #75 on Billboard’s Hot 100. “Why I Love You” premiered on the French and Swiss Music Charts and UK Singles Chart. Oh and one more thing: according to “Paris” producer Hit-Boy, a music video is in the works for the track that’s got everyone bumping “that sh*t cray.”