Kanye West Is Finally Releasing His Album To The Rest Of The World But It’s Still Not Done
Love it or hate it, Kanye West’s rollout for his album The Life Of Pablo has been one of a kind. Although it was not immediately apparent, from day 1, the album was a work in progress. At first it seemed Kanye was being mercurial as the name of the album evolved from Swish to Waves to TLOP. The title changes came with much fanfare and even a short but intense Twitter beef with Wiz Khalifa. West then shared the album with the world, courtesy of a mega listening party that was live streamed from Madison Square Garden, only to put the genie back in a box with a bow for TIDAL subscribers, as part of an exclusive for the music service owned by his industry big brother, Jay Z.
However, unlike with most albums, its (semi) commercial release was not the culmination, it was just the beginning. West re-tooled the LP almost from the second it was released, adjusting a mix here, changing a vocal there, adding featured guests like Frank Ocean on songs, only to take them off again and use them for completely separate tracks. As this continued for several weeks, it became clear that Ye’s plan from the beginning was to do what he always strives to do: something never done before. In this case, it was him treating his album like a living breathing piece of art (or a software release by another analogy) that was meant to be a public display of his creative process. Whether frustrating or fascinating, it has kept his body of work top of mind, for many, far longer than most albums that come and go in our current microwave entertainment landscape.
One of the most unfortunate aspects of the experiment, however, is that it was only conducted before the 3 million TIDAL subscribers who had (legal) access to the album, and all its iterations. Throughout, West steadfastly insisted that he would never make The Life Of Pablo available to non-TIDAL subscribers, but, like every other aspect of the album thus far, that seems to have changed.
According to the New York Times, The Life Of Pablo will be released to several other major music services tonight at midnight (4/1). Perhaps this could be Kanye’s ultimate April Fool’s joke, after pulling the rug out from under fans and the media many times over the last several months, but the article quotes Def Jam executives as confirming the album will be made available widely. “On Thursday Def Jam said that ‘a newly updated, remixed and remastered version, of The Life of Pablo would be streaming on all major services by midnight on Friday,” reads the Times article. The story further reports that the version that appears will not be the final version, if such a thing will ever exist. “In the months to come, Kanye will release new updates, new versions and new iterations of the album,” reads a statement quoted by the Times, which also cites the album as a “continuous process.”
As has been the case from the beginning, all bets may be off when the clock strikes 12, but, despite the symbolism of the date, occurences like the release of Kanye’s single “Famous” to other music services earlier in the week make this latest development seem realer than most. Stay tuned…