Last night’s ‘The Life of Pablo’ launch – aka “the album of the life” – was a grandiose event, even by typical Kanye West standards. Turning New York City’s Madison Square Garden into a giant Selfridges (with real-life models) to launch Yeezy Season 3, Ye also brought his laptop and aux cable along to entertain the 20,000 punters (and the millions watching on the Tidal live stream) with a few tunes.
As well as fulfilling the desires of expectant Yeezy-heads the world over, the debut play of ‘The Life of Pablo’ must have also been something of a nervy watch for the huge list of collaborators who had either been reported, linked to, or have actually been snapped in the studio recording with Kanye in the lead-up to the main event. The man at the centre of it was kind enough to even circulate a much-signed and scribbled-on call sheet that, in the pre-yesterday times, was all that the internet had to go on in terms of guessing who would be on TLOP.
So many collaborators, but could they all make the cut? Well, last night proved that, no, they couldn’t.
There were, of course, some golden-ticket holders – Chance The Rapper’s epic, early Yeezy-indebted verse on ‘Ultra Light Beams’, Rihanna’s guest vocal on ‘Famous’, the delightful surprise of hearing Frank Ocean on ‘Wolves” coda – but then there would have also inevitably been some disappointment amongst the ranks of Kanye’s peers. After all, so many rappers, singers and artists – and Khloe Kardashian – put their name on that tweeted tracklist, presumably after they’d recorded or contributed something to the project.
Chance had already predicted this outcome back in early January – his very apt statement was retweeted in huge numbers last night as TLOP whittled down its tracklisting.
So spare a thought for the likes of Kendrick, A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt, Vic Mensa and Andre 3000 today – their voices, it seems, will not be heard on what could very well be the greatest album of all time (if Kanye ever bloody drops it, that is).
It also seems that the topic of who did and didn’t appear to make the cut piqued a fair amount of discussion on Twitter last night:
UPDATE: Kanye, not one to change his mind, has just (16:00) revealed an elongated tracklist, claiming that it’ll be out later today – so don’t lose faith yet, fallen collaborators!