Kanye West unleashed his highly anticipated eighth studio album, ye, on Friday (June 1). The 7-track project was premiered with a livestream on the WAV app to thousands of viewers spanning the globe. Yeezy was joined by family, friends, and members of the media outdoors at his creative safe haven in the mountainous Jackson Hole, Wyoming region for a unique listening experience with booming speakers surrounded by a bonfire.
Chris Rock kicked the special night off shortly after midnight on the East Coast with a powerful speech where he claimed hip-hop to be “the first art form created by free black men,” and later revealed the album’s title. After calling out a few familiar faces in the crowd, he then passed the baton to the man everyone had been waiting to hear from, as the 40-year-old then cued up his opening track to be heard by the world.
Ye boasts seven bristling tunes and clocks in at just over 20 minutes — and even though it’s musically satisfying, you still are looking for more by the end of Kanye’s most concise work to date. The album boasts assists from some of the best the industry has to offer, including Ty Dolla $ign, Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson, Young Thug, Jeremih, 070 Shake, and more
Kim Kardashian West shared on Twitter early Friday (June 1) that Kanye actually captured what would go on to be his album cover with an iPhone, on the way to the listening event.
Check out our attempt at ranking each track from Kanye West’s latest LP below.
7. “All Mine” (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & Valee)
Burgeoning G.O.O.D Music signee and Chi-town native Valee teams with R&B star Ty Dolla $ign to set the tone for the track filled with a thundering church organ at its onset. The pair of artists exchange sultry vocals before ‘Ye injects himself into the tune. The G.O.O.D. Music CEO later plays off of the turmoil within Khloe Kardashian and Cavaliers baller Tristan Thompson’s rocky relationship, which has been plagued with infidelity rumors on Tristan’s part. “All these thots on Christian Mingle/ Almost what got Tristan single/ If you don’t ball like him or Kobe/ Guarantee that bitch gonna leave you,” Kanye truthfully rhymes.
6. “No Mistakes” (feat. Charlie Wilson & Kid Cudi)
‘Ye implements the soulful Charlie Wilson on the soothing track’s chorus, with whom he previously connected on “G.O.O.D. Friday” and Yeezus cut “Bound 2.” “No Mistakes” samples vocals from Slick Rick‘s “Hey Young World.” West acknowledges that this year has already been a grind to this point, but assures everyone that he’s going to keep pushing for what he believes in. “Oh, I got dirt on my name, I got white on my beard/ I had dead on my books, it’s been a shaky ass year/ Let me make this clear, so all y’all see/ I don’t take advice from people less successful than me,” he boldly raps.
5. “Wouldn’t Leave” (feat. Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign & Young Thug)
West closes out “Wouldn’t Leave” dedicating the compassionate track to his wife Kim Kardashian. “For every damn female that stuck with they dude/ Through the best times, through the worst times/ This for you,” Kanye pledges. Jeremih finds his way to a second appearance on the project, on top of more harmonizing from Ty Dolla $ign and a Young Thug cameo. The artist plays off of his viral 2013 interview with Sway and controversial TMZ appearance, where he claimed, “Slavery was a choice.” “They say, ‘build your own,’ I said, ‘How, Sway?’/ I said, ‘Slavery a choice.’ They say, ‘How, Ye?’/ Just imagine if they caught me on a wild day,” the father of three comments.
4. “I Thought About Killing You”
Kanye opens the album with an ominous tune, where he hints at plans for committing a murder inside his head — which some have speculated could possibly be a reference toward Jan Adams, who performed the cosmetic surgery on Yeezy’s mother, Donda, that ultimately lead to her untimely death back in 2007. The track’s opening verse serves as more of a stream-of-conscious passage, before moving into more of a traditional rapping cadence, backed by some muffled drums. ‘Ye previously wanted to use Adams’ headshot as his album cover, before the surgeon threatened to take legal action if his photo was used to sell music. “The most beautiful thoughts are always beside the darkest,” West poetically raps.
3. “Violent Crimes” (feat. Dej Loaf, Ty Dolla $ign & Nicki Minaj)
Yeezy opens up about how his whole mindset over the treatment of women has been altered since the birth of his daughter, North. The 40-year-old speaks on how he plans to empower North, but also help guide her on a path to becoming a strong-minded successful individual. He even touches on some of his past relationship regrets and typical guy behavior, which becoming a father has him rethinking. The album’s closing track concludes with a voicemail from Nicki Minaj, which includes some bars Ye actually weaved into his extended opening verse.
The dark track contains multiple references to prescription drugs and amphetamines Kanye’s been hooked on in the past. “I think Prince and Mike was tryna warn me/ They know I got demons all on me,” he raps, pointing out how drug overdoses lead to the death of a pair of music icons. West admits that he’s going to be praying for Russell Simmons, who is under fire for numerous sexual misconduct allegations. In the past, Simmons has shown support for the Chicago-bred rapper throughout the controversies in his polarizing career. “Yikes” was renamed from “Extasy” as one of the songs listed on the tracklist Kanye shared to Twitter a few weeks back (May 15).
1. “Ghost Town” (feat. John Legend, 070 Shake & Kid Cudi)
Kid Cudi stars in his solo performance on “Some Day,” which is a great sign heading into the release of his and West’s joint album, Kids See Ghosts, next Friday (June 8). CudYe and G.O.O.D. Music newcomer 070 Shake connect to share their experiences with the plight of heartbreak they’ve had to overcome in life. Through the pain that life inevitably will give you, a point of liberation can be discovered. “Sometimes I take all the shine/ Talk like I drank all the wine/ Years ahead but way behind,” Yeezy somberly croons.