Last night, Kanye West organized a last-minute Yeezus listening party for a small collection of models, rappers, industry heavyweights, and journalists at New York City's Milk Studios in the Meatpacking District. Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, and the record-saving producer Rick Rubin were all there. Your favorite rap bloggers were all there. You weren't there. Far from your average record-release event, this was an "instantaneous" gathering of West's invite-only inner circle. (Which, really, was still plenty of people.) Here's everything we learned, gleaned from the few reports to trickle out late last night and throughout the morning, about Kanye's apparently finished new album.
On the Album Title
On Rick Rubin Joining as Executive Producer
From Yeezy himself:
Last, but not least that came and helped bring this whole shit together, that executive produced the album with me and the family, is Rick Rubin coming in and like finishing up the whole shit for us, which is legendary because everything we did on this project, everything I did, like when we released ‘Numbers on the Board,” from the video, to the no artwork, to the style of the song and everything, I was like ‘what would Rick Rubin do.’
So I had to go to the god Rick Rubin and play him my shit, ask him questions and allow him to take this project to an entirely new level. And he made a lot of great decisions at the end and pulled it to a new level.
The Strangest Collaboration on the Record?
Kanye has become known for making some strange musical connections. Just think, before 2007 it would have been ridiculous for Daft Punk to appear on a hip-hop song. On Yeezus, West brings together this strange mixture: fellow Chicago rapper Chief Keef appears on the same song as Bon Iver — a song that's called "Can't Hold My Liquor" and samples the semi-obscure electronic band Boards of Canada.
Speaking of Daft Punk...
They produced "three or four joints" on the new album, West revealed. "The first joint, 'Onsite,' 'I Am a God,' 'Black Skinhead,'" all feature traces of Daft Punk. The first joint being, presumably, "New Slaves," the song that was projected on buildings across the world.
Did He Go on a Wild, Insane, Entertaining Rant?
So, Is It Any Good?
Here's the thing: the listening party came together so quickly — and was on such a hardcore lockdown — that there's actually very little new information and opinion out there today. Few people have offered their judgment about the album, partly because of the insane amount of secrecy around next week's release, but mostly because nobody in said large inner circle wants to anger Mr. West by saying the wrong thing. The only person who has said much of anything, really, is Hot 97 DJ Miss Info: "Without over-analyzing the songs, the music was right at home in tonight’s post-internet Warhol Gif Factory atmosphere. Frenetic electro beats, mash-up culture references, and digitized choruses," she says. So make of that what you will.
You'll have to wait for Yeezus to drop on Tuesday, or when it inevitably leaks before then.