After a number of last-minute changes, Kanye West's new album, The Life of Pablo — previously known as Swish and Waves — has debuted. Kanye played Pablo through a massive live stream on Tidal, and the world is anticipating its wide release. Stay up to date with all the news here.
Apr 4, 2017
The Life of Pablo, released in February of last year, has been streamed over 3 billion times worldwide, and has just hit 1.5 billion streams in the US — making it the first album to be RIAA-certified platinum from streaming alone. The album was also available for sale on West’s website, but downloads contributed only 0.7 percent of its first-week units, according to Billboard and TLOP meets the “platinum” condition without those numbers.Read Article >
The certification was first reported by Pitchfork, and confirmed to The Verge in an email from Kanye West’s management.
Jul 29, 2016Read Article >
Kanye West unexpectedly dropped a video for "Wolves" featuring Sia and Vic Mensa from his album The Life of Pablo. The seven-minute clip is directed by Steven Klein and is essentially an extensive Balmain commercial with the fashion house's boss and Kardashian family friend Olivier Rousteing acting as creative director. Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, and a slew of fashion models also make appearances in the clip. It's safe to say this will be far less controversial than West's last music video.
Jul 18, 2016
The internet has been totally devoured by the latest chapter in the long-running feud between Taylor Swift and Kanye West, an interpersonal conflict that stretches back all the way to the halcyon days of 2009. When West’s wife Kim Kardashian posted a series of Snapchat videos capturing a recorded conversation between Swift and West about his controversial song "Famous," it spawned more questions than any piece of video this side of the Game of Thrones finale. Is there any part of the conversation between Swift and West we’re not seeing? How much did she know about the song before it was released? When did she find out the recording existed? Is this all just a sham designed to boost ratings, Snapchat follower counts, and album sales?Read Article >
Here’s what we know for sure: West called Swift to earn her consent regarding the line "For all my Southside niggas that know me best / I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex," consent she gave in the taped conversation Kardashian posted on Snapchat. When the song was officially released in mid-February, the line above ended with the phrase, "I made that bitch famous." A representative for Swift released a statement claiming she had no idea about the "bitch" portion of the lyrics, and that she’d "cautioned him against releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message." West denied Swift’s contention that she was entirely unaware. When Swift appeared on stage at the Grammys a few days later, she condemned "people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame," a jab widely interpreted as referencing West.
Kim Kardashian West hopped onto Snapchat to defend her husband Kanye West's honor tonight, posting a series of videos that prove Taylor Swift gave West permission to rap about her on infamous The Life of Pablo single "Famous." (The line in question: "For all my Southside niggas that know me best / I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.") Kardashian teased the reveal on Twitter earlier in the evening, and West's feud with Swift was the basis for one of the major plotlines on tonight's episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians.Read Article >
In the footage posted on Snapchat, West asks Swift for permission to use a version of the line over the phone from his studio. She gives her consent and thanks him for bringing the line to her before recording and releasing it. It's still unclear just how much Swift knew about the ultimate phrasing of the line, but it's obvious she agrees its sentiment is acceptable. (If you'd rather read than watch, The Fader has transcribed the footage. You'll miss legendary producer Rick Rubin hanging out on a couch in the background, though.)
Jun 24, 2016
Kanye West's live-streamed premiere of The Life of Pablo at Madison Square Garden was a phenomenal success back in February, and he's trying to recapture that magic by hosting a similar event for the premiere of his "Famous" music video tonight in Los Angeles. (I guess Aziz Ansari's magical West-approved fan video just wasn't cutting it anymore.) West is going to play the video for the first time at The Forum tonight at 7PM PT — that's 10PM ET for you East Coast viewers — and he's live-streaming the premiere through Tidal for subscribers and non-subscribers alike. (We'll update this post with the embedded version of the stream when it's ready later tonight.) The video itself is going to remain a Tidal exclusive for one week following its premiere.Read Article >
In addition to being chosen as one of The Life of Pablo's singles, "Famous" is infamous for containing a line about Taylor Swift that reignited her long-simmering feud with West. (The line in question: "For all my South Side niggas that know me best / I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.") Swift condemned the line as misogynistic and tasteless, and indirectly addressed with a pointed Grammy acceptance speech a few days after its release; West claimed he asked and received permission to use the line from Swift herself.
Apr 28, 2016
Earlier this month we squealed and clapped our hands right under our chins while watching Master of None costars Eric Wareheim and Aziz Ansari dance it out and eat fancy Italian pasta to the tune of Kanye West's extremely polarizing (but irresistible) new song, "Famous."Read Article >
Consequence of Sound reported this morning that this incredible frivolity had been dubbed the official music video for the song, by order of Kanye West. This report turned out to be false, but Kanye's team later reached out to Vulture and emphasized that Kanye "thinks it's great." In light of The Life of Pablo's bizarre, months-long rollout, the choice wouldn't have seemed that strange. Compared to passing an auxiliary cord around Madison Square Garden and editing tracks that have been out in public for weeks, it would be pretty tame. Cute, even!
Apr 11, 2016
Kanye West's The Life of Pablo is the first album to top the Billboard charts with the majority of its "sales" derived from streaming, an achievement you can chalk up to the album's unorthodox release. According to Billboard, West's new album earned 94,000 equivalent album units in the week ending April 7th, enough to beat out Chris Stapleton's Traveller for the top spot. 66,000 of those units — or just over 70 percent of West's total — came from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and the remainder came from sales on West's personal website and Tidal, its exclusive streaming home for its first six weeks of availability. The Life of Pablo still isn't available through conventional digital retailers like iTunes or brick-and-mortar stores, so there were no sales to count in that regard.Read Article >
It's a surprising achievement when you consider West once tweeted his album would remain a Tidal exclusive in perpetuity, writing, "My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale... You can only get it on Tidal." The dam started to break in late March when "Famous" and "I Love Kanye" were released to other major streaming services as singles, and it burst for good on April 1st.
Apr 4, 2016
You can't ask for much better mashup fodder than Kanye West's "I Love Kanye": it's short, spare, rhythmically precise, and unmistakable no matter the context. That's a long way of saying it's "good." John Tesh's baroque, absurd "Roundball Rock" was the theme song for NBC's NBA coverage for over a decade, and it's impossible to hear it without seeing Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen dunking on haters in your mind's eye. It's one of the greatest sports themes of all time. That's a long way of saying it's "also good."Read Article >
I'm happy to report the combination of "I Love Kanye" and "Roundball Rock" — for which you can thank SBNation's Mark Hinog, who is now a certified genius — is officially "good as hell." It's a more effective stimulant than a pot of steaming coffee poured directly into your waiting gullet, and the version of the NBA logo with West's head poorly stitched onto Jerry West's silhouette should be used in an official capacity as soon as possible. (You can hear the bulk of the mashup below, and there's a longer version over at Hinog's Tumblr.) Tesh has personally approved the mashup — he's "loving this" — because he's a wise man with uncompromising taste.
Apr 1, 2016
Kanye West's latest album, The Life of Pablo, has arrived on Spotify, Google Play Music, and Apple Music. It was reported yesterday that West's still-changing album would soon appear on the services, despite the self-proclaimed greatest artist ever saying it would remain a Tidal exclusive forever, and would "never never never be on Apple." He might be half true to his word, however — at present, The Life of Pablo has yet to turn up on iTunes.Read Article >
The arrival of the whole album on competing services comes less than a week after one song from The Life of Pablo — "Famous," featuring Rihanna — appeared on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. Users of these services can expect their listening experience to vary over time, as Tidal users have discovered, with Kanye promising to tweak and update his latest album as "a living breathing changing creative expression."
Mar 31, 2016
Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo should land on major streaming services tomorrow, a change that's taking place despite West's February promise the album would remain a permanent Tidal exclusive. Sources tell The Verge the album should be available on Spotify tomorrow, and Re/code and Mashable are both reporting The Life of Pablo will also be available on competitors like Apple Music and Google Play Music. The album's full exclusivity was punctured earlier this week when singles "Famous" and "I Love Kanye" were made available on Spotify and Apple Music. West tweeted The Life of Pablo would "never never never be on Apple" on February 15th, one day after The Life of Pablo's release; the album remained a Tidal exclusive for about a month and a half.Read Article >
Nothing about The Life of Pablo's release has been remotely traditional, and it's possible to argue the album hasn't truly been released yet. West is still tinkering with the final arrangements and mixes of each song — he's changed at least a dozen tracks this week — meaning The Life of Pablo's Tidal availability has been more like a public beta than a true, final release. If the album's temporary exclusivity was just a ploy to boost Tidal's lackluster subscriber numbers, you can consider it a success. The service announced it reached 3 million paid subscribers earlier this week, and it also noted that the tracks making up The Life of Pablo were streamed 250 million times in their first 10 days on Tidal.
Mar 29, 2016
Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo racked up 250 million streams in its first 10 days of availability on Tidal, according to a press release the service made available today. The album-specific reveal was tucked within the larger announcement that Tidal has cracked three million paid global subscribers, and it's a surprise given that West had instructed Tidal to withhold the album's streaming numbers when it was first released in February. If you use the conversion factor Billboard employs when putting together its weekly album charts — 1,500 individual streams equalling a single album sale — then The Life of Pablo moved approximately 167,000 equivalent album units in a week and a half.Read Article >
If they're accurate, The Life of Pablo's streaming totals align nicely with another of Tidal's major exclusives, Rihanna's ANTI. While that album was downloaded over 1.4 million times in its first 24 hours available, the bulk of that figure stemmed from a Samsung-sponsored free giveaway. When ANTI was made widely available for a full week on iTunes and other streaming services, it moved roughly 170,000 equivalent album units.
Mar 28, 2016
Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo remains exclusive to Tidal, but at least a little bit of it has spread onto competing services. A new version of "Famous" — that's the Rihanna-featuring track with the infamous line about Taylor Swift — is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music as well as Tidal. It swaps the original line "she be Puerto Rican day parade-wavin'" with "she in school to be a real estate agent," notes Pitchfork.Read Article >
West has described The Life of Pablo as a "living breathing changing creative expression" in reference to all its post-release edits. Whether that attitude will extend to its business model — West also said the album would "never never never be on Apple" — remains to be seen.
Mar 16, 2016
After a month of no changes, Kanye West has made his second update to his latest album, The Life of Pablo, in just two days. Tidal subscribers who listen to TLOP now will find the finished version of "Wolves," that debuted during Yeezy Season 1 featuring Vic Mensa and Sia. West has also broken out Frank Ocean's outro into its own track, aptly called "Frank's Track." Kanye foreshadowed the changes in a tweet, saying he was fixing "Wolves" after working on the track for three weeks.Read Article >
The changes come a day after Kanye first made good on his original promise to keep updating the Tidal version of his latest release, tweaking production and lyrics on album track "Famous" just as anyone who signed up to Jay Z's streaming service to hear TLOP would find their free trial running out.
Feb 23, 2016
When I reviewed Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo last week, I wrote that the Chris Brown feature "Waves" might be the most beautiful song he's ever made. I'm out of my honeymoon phase with the album, and I still stand by that opinion. Brown turns in the best vocal performance he's ever given, and the warped chorus in the background radiates heat and light. It's something like a love song on an album that could use a few more of them, and it's one of the best songs I've heard so far this year. (It's crazy to think it wouldn't have made the album without the timely intervention of Chance the Rapper. Thanks, Chance!)Read Article >
Now that we've established my preexisting enthusiasm for "Waves," I'm going to hit you with a mind-blowing revelation: it's even better backwards. Noisey shared amateur producer Justin Lombardi's flip of the song this morning, and I clicked "play" with an eyebrow raised. My skepticism washed away like flotsam being lifted from a quiet beach by a rising tide.
Feb 16, 2016
Is it gauche to acknowledge the futility of this review before it begins in earnest? The Life of Pablo is Kanye West’s seventh solo LP, and despite its widespread public availability, it remains a work in progress; put another way, the life of The Life of Pablo isn’t over yet. You can argue that every album is a living document, a work of art whose interpretation is dependent on context and mood timing; Yeezus sounds different to you now than it did when you first heard it in 2013.Read Article >
But The Life of Pablo is changing at a deeper level: listen to it a week from now, and you might be hearing new guests or adjusted mixes. The tracklist might change. It may be inaccessible on your platform of choice when it was available there before, a consequence of its creator’s volatile whims. It’s made a traditional release — picking a dozen tracks that fit well together and releasing them in one clump for purchase and evaluation — seem almost antiquated. You have to hand it to West: even when it feels like he’s running around like a chicken with his head cut off, he finds a way to stumble into innovating.
Feb 15, 2016
Kanye West has once again changed his release plans for The Life of Pablo, and this change will be pretty meaningful for listeners if he sticks to it: he says the album will only ever be available to Tidal subscribers. West had originally planned to stream the album exclusively on Tidal for a week while selling TLOP on his own site, later opening sales and streams up to everyone. The album was available to purchase for a matter of hours before West pulled the ability to purchase it on Sunday. He now says it won't be available to purchase at all or stream anywhere else — nor will any of his Good Fridays songs, which will also go up on Tidal.Read Article >
Even with its parade of celebrity backers, Tidal has so far failed to gain much traction. But West's push over the past couple days appears to be working — at least for now. Tidal shot to the top of the App Store on Sunday after he made it the only way to listen to The Life of Pablo. Of course, Tidal is going to need people to stick around for longer than their free trial to make this exclusivity worthwhile; if West does continue to push out weekly tracks exclusive to Tidal, that could be a fantastic way to keep people on board. He's already teasing new songs featuring both himself and Kendrick Lamar.
Feb 15, 2016
One of the more surprising threads to emerge from Kanye West's messy release of The Life of Pablo involves his personal finances. If you believe the celebrated rapper, he owes a serious chunk of change: before hitting the Saturday Night Live stage over the weekend, he tweeted that he's carrying $53 million in debt. It's a huge sum, one that seems impossible when you consider his sales success and his family's lucrative reality show and businesses. (Then again, renting Madison Square Garden and filling it with over a thousand models clad in your clothing line can't be cheap.)Read Article >
West ran with the idea on Sunday afternoon by asking one of Silicon Valley's richest young men to lend a hand with an investment:
When Saturday Night Live threw itself a 40th birthday party last year, they asked Kanye West to help celebrate. The iconoclastic rapper’s relationship with the sketch show of record has been contentious — consider "Fuck SNL and the whole cast / tell ‘em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass," from 2010’s "Power" — but it’s led to some of his most memorable public moments. "Runaway" might not have a place in the contemporary musical canon without its stark, blinding staging and cadre of ballet dancers, and "Wolves" haunted fans for a full year after West, Sia, and Vic Mensa crawled around in contact lenses as part of SNL 40.Read Article >
He made his seventh appearance on the show’s stage last night to promote his new album The Life of Pablo, and he didn’t let the moment go to waste. After wrapping up album opener "Ultralight Beam," West announced the album’s availability on his website and on Tidal, the culmination of a three-day period where it seemed like the album could drop on the public’s heads at any moment. (It made its debut at Madison Square Garden on Thursday afternoon, where West showed off his newest clothing collection and singlehandedly restored the cachet of the humble aux cord.) The final stage of its rollout was anything but seamless: the announcement was delivered with a near-unintelligible bark, and there was a half-hour delay while the album was delivered for streaming and download. (Calling it frustrating is an understatement.)
Are you ready for Yeezy season? After years of false starts, buzz singles, and title changes, Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo is available now. West announced the album's availability after performing album opener "Ultra Light Beams" on Saturday Night Live this evening. The album is streaming exclusively through Tidal, and it's selling exclusively through West's website for one full week before enjoying a wider release. Of course, we couldn't just enjoy new music without one last hurdle: the album's first hour available has been riddled with technical problems, delays, and frustration from fans.Read Article >
The Life of Pablo is just the latest in a string of major releases tied to Tidal in some way. Rihanna's ANTI enjoyed a similar window of streaming exclusivity, and Beyoncé's new single "Formation" premiered on the service last weekend. West's decision to eschew iTunes is particularly surprising. He'll retain complete control of the album's digital sales until next weekend.
While the verdict may be out on the cover art for Kanye West's latest album The Life of Pablo, the internet has wasted no time in creating generators letting users add their own sayings to the postmodern image. There are now a handful of websites including thepablo.life, tlopcover.com, and thelifeofpablol.com — which is built by Rik Lomas and Simon Whybray the same people who gave us ifyouretypingthisitstoolate.com — will let you create your own custom cover, and Twitter has been running wild with it.Read Article >
While we wait for West to actually release the album, we can have a bit of fun with the cover art. Check out some examples below
Feb 12, 2016
Only two days after firming up his album name and track list, Kanye West is adding six more tracks to his new album TLOP.Read Article >
The artist also says the album will officially be released today, although he didn't specify where it'll be available. West debuted most of the initial tracks yesterday afternoon at Madison Square Garden, during a show that was live streamed online.
- Read Article >
Despite the impending release of The Life of Pablo, Kanye West isn't giving up on GOOD Fridays. "30 Hours" is the latest release in the ongoing series, and features West giving us more bars than usual over a mellow beat. The track, which will appear on The Life of Pablo, is the first GOOD Friday release since "No More Parties in L.A." was released on Soundcloud back in January. West hasn't said how long he'll keep the series going, but if releasing a full album doesn't slow the releases down, we could be in store for new music from Kanye every week for the foreseeable future.
Feb 12, 2016
When Kanye West premiered his new album The Life of Pablo at Madison Square Garden yesterday afternoon, one line seemed to jump out of the stadium and onto computer screens around the world. It's part of "Famous," a clanging, dense new track: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous." It's a reference to Taylor Swift, of course, and their long-running, complicated relationship. He interrupted her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards! She wrote a song about it! They reconciled in public last year! It's all a little messy, and it's getting much worse.Read Article >
It's unclear whether or not Swift had a chance to look at the lyric before West released the song, and reports are conflicting. TMZ says she reviewed it and approved it; The New York Times' music critic Jon Caramanica shared a statement from Swift's spokesperson that condemned the misogyny. West himself is taking to Twitter right now to defend the song and argue on behalf of "real artists," whatever that means. It should be noted that this is just the latest in a string of misogynistic mishaps that have tarred the release of The Life of Pablo. In a similar Twitter spat with Wiz Khalifa a few weeks ago, West went out of his way to criticize ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, the model and activist who has a child with Khalifa; earlier this week, he went on the record defending Bill Cosby's innocence on the same platform. Here's Kanye's tweeted statement in full.
Feb 11, 2016Read Article >
Kanye West ended his album release party / fashion show in New York with a surprise announcement: that he's working on a video game called Only One about his mother "traveling through the gates of heaven." The game shares its name with a song West released two years ago, speaking from the point of view of his late mother after the birth of his daughter. West showed a short reel of dreamy footage from the game that, true to his word, depicts his mother flying through clouds and traveling on the back of what appears to be a Pegasus. It's not much to go off of, but he says it's a game and that he was turned down a lot trying to get it made.
Feb 11, 2016
Kanye West's Yeezy Season 3 fashion show / listening party is starting to wrap up over at Madison Square Garden, and the early viewership numbers are insane. According to a Tidal press release, over 20 million people attempted to watch the stream at its peak. It's unclear how viewership held up throughout the broadcast, which stretched out over almost two hours. We'll include that information once it's available.Read Article >
Representatives for the service also chalked up some early technical issues — people had trouble watching the stream at high bitrates — to AMV and Akamai, the companies responsible for the stream's technical aspects. (AMV is a digital media company, and Akamai is a "content delivery network.") If you're still watching Kanye speak — he's currently unveiling a video game about his mother flying to heaven — know that millions of people (!) are probably doing the same. There aren't many other musicians who could pull this off.