ABC/Randy HolmesAfter months of rumors and name changes, the wait is finally over. Kanye West‘s latest album, The Life of Pablo, arrives today. He announced the new album title on Wednesday evening. He’d previously referred to it as T.L.O.P.
Kanye has already tweeted that fans can expect “the best album of all time.” Whether or not that turns out to be true, the Editor-in-Chief of VIBE, Dawton Thomas, tells ABC Radio fans can expect something fresh.
“They can expect innovation. I think what he’s done time and time again is not do the same thing,” Dawton says. “By the marketing and promotions that he does with all of his arguments, back-and-forths, proclamations of greatest for every project, he finds a way to make you care about what he either has to say or the sounds that he’s going to produce.”
Dawton believes Kanye is going to be at the top of his game. “The pressure is so much on him that he has to deliver or it breaks him, he’s just a rare artist in that way. And then he also finds a way to get everyone that is working with him to believe in what he’s doing, to the point where they all level up and bring their A-game as well,” Dawton says. “It’s almost like being on the ultimate sports team with him as the ultimate point guard and leader of that team and every time out he’s looking to break a record of some sort and he usually does”
Thomas also adds that West is a perfectionist and waited for the right moment to release the album, especially following the mixed reviews for 2013’s Yeezus.
“I think this time, he kind of got a chance to live a little, learn a little bit more about fatherhood, embrace the fact that he’s a part of the Kardashain fam and just kind of live in a different way than we’re used to seeing him in,” Dawton says. “I think he really, really wanted to focus in on his fashion and get that line done and work on a deal with Adidas so by the time his next album drops, he’s in full force with his clothing line. He’s very meticulous and strategic in making sure points meet, and I think he needed that extra time to get the business stuff squared away in the fashion world so that he can make the music the most that it can be.”
ABC News Chief Business & Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis notes that Kanye has done a lot to generate hype for his latest project. “He is a master of creating buzz around himself, and when you take a look around these days at who sells the most whatever product we’re talking about, it’s the people who mastered the social media game, who have mastered getting their name in the headlines time and time again,” she tells ABC Radio.
Jarvis believes Kanye’s recent Bill Cosby tweet, in which he proclaimed the comedian to be innocent in the wake of sexual assault allegations, serves his cause, too. “The Bill Cosby tweet is certainly controversial, but it gets Kanye West’s name in the headlines just when he needs his name in the headlines, which is right as people are about to make this decision whether or not to buy his album. And it’s a reminder to people that he’s out there and he’s ready,” she says.
The album, which was previously named Swish, Waves and, originally So Help Me God, includes contributions from Swizz Beatz, who recently told ABC Radio last week that fans should “look for me two times on there.”
His 10-song album also features four songs we’ve already heard, including “No More Parties in LA” featuring Kendrick Lamar and “Real Friends” with Ty Dolla $ign. There’s also “Fade,” featuring Ty$ and Post Malone, and “Wolves” with Sia and Vic Mensa.
Travi$ Scott may not appear on the official track list, but the rap newcomer told Billboard that Kanye aimed to deliver a “good f***ing album.” He adds, “That n**** not sleepin’, n**** ain’t eatin’. S*** crazy, it’s lit.”
Ian Connor, who is on West’s creative team, also told Billboard what it was like working with the rapper. “I’m his creative consultant so I [advise] on the clothing and [give] my ideas as far as ‘this is right, this is wrong, this is cool, we should bring in this person, we should not f*** with this person,'” says Conor, who was mentioned during Kanye’s Twitter rant with Wiz Khalifa earlier this month.
Tonight will see Kanye performing the album in its entirety at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The event will be streamed at theaters in more than 20 countries around the world, including Australia, Spain, Ireland and Switzerland.
Here’s the complete track list for The Life of Pablo, as he tweeted it Wednesday:
“Ultra Light Beams”
“Father Stretch My Hands Pt1 Pt2”
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