It’s that time again. The Kanye cycle is back, baby. Following the launch of his failed presidential campaign, which in turn was followed by Kanye giving then-wife Kim Kardashian a hologram of her dead father for her birthday, which in turn was followed by Kim Kardashian filing for divorce, Kanye has kept a low profile. He does this from time to time. When things aren’t going his way, or he doesn’t have a new album to push, he tends to turn inward, reflect, and either start making some repugnant/concerning statements or get back to recording music. Well, it seems like the time has come for Kanye to push a new album, which is a hell of a lot better than the other option.
Bearing the news like a cryptic hip-hop weather vane that the Kanye cycle is about to pick up, Def Jam Recordings seemingly confirmed reports that West was about to drop a new album. In two words, six letters, an extra Z, and some missing vowels, the label tweeted, “YZY SZN.” So is Yeezy season truly upon us? It’s certainly starting to seem that way.
Over the weekend, Instagram star Justin Laboy, who hosts The Respectfully Justin Show on Revolt TV, tweeted that Yeezy hosted Laboy and NBA great Kevin Durant at a private listening party of West’s new album. If those walls could talk, they wouldn’t have to because Laboy said that the album rips.
“Kanye played his new album for me & @KDTrey5 last night in Vegas,” Laboy wrote. “Man listen! The production is light years ahead of it’s time, and the bars sound like he’s broke & hungry trying to get signed again. Any artist who plan on dropping soon should just push it back.”
Of course, one must take these kinds of reviews with a grain of salt. Like all those overwhelmingly positive tweets that came out just before Wonder Woman 1984 hit HBO Max, when one gets invited to a super-secret presentation of a hyped piece of media with KD, one can get a little overexcited. Still, everyone tends to hate Kanye albums the moment they’re released, and years later, go back and re-evaluate. (Granted, that hasn’t happened with his MAGA-era releases, Ye and JESUS IS KING, except for Kids See Ghosts, which slaps, like top five Kanye—please, for the love of God, don’t @ me. I can’t bear to be @’d).
Anyway, on Sunday night, others joined the hype train, tweeting photos of lines outside a supposed listening party for the album in Las Vegas. Footage also emerged over the weekend of Tyler, The Creator in the studio with Kanye, showing off what appears to be a track listing on a whiteboard. Could this be the elusive Donda? Well, that name, the name of Kanye’s late mother, appears on the board. Finally, Kanye’s getting kind of official with the listening party thing, sending out invites and press releases for a listening party that will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. So what does he say fans will hear? Something called “Kanye West Presents Donda.”
Kanye has teased new albums that never came out plenty in the past. You probably remember this situation happening approximately 365 days ago when West kept tweeting that Donda was coming in July 2020. Obviously, that didn’t happen. But he did release an absolute banger with the track “Wash Us In Blood,” which evoked some of that Yeezus energy and anger. If this new record is more of that, we’ll take it. Either way, welcome back to the Kanye cycle. Let’s hope this one is a little more productive than that last.