So Help Us God: Where’s Kanye West’s New Album?
Christ turned water into wine, all Yeezus has to do is turn tweets into a real track list
When it comes to Kanye West’s public antics, nothing seems to surprise his fans anymore. Listeners are well aware of his God complex, his ruthless ability to steal the spotlight (literally and figuratively), and his… well, let’s call them creative opinions. But as soon as ‘Ye started dropping hints about a new album — title clearly subject to change — not even a year after the critically adored Yeezus, feverish anticipation took hold. More than a year later, we still haven’t seen (or heard, rather) that follow-up. So when is the new ‘Ye album coming? Is it coming at all? Will it really be Kanye’s Born in the U.S.A.? What does that even mean? Why all the backpedaling? In honor of Yeezus’ two-year anniversary, SPIN has cobbled together a list of hints and teases regarding
Yeezus 2 So Help Me God SWISH, all taken from the last year or so, to track the record’s progress — or lack thereof.
April 1, 2014
Nine months after dropping Yeezus, West pushes back his tour in Australia. “Due to unexpected timing requirements to finish his highly anticipated new studio album, scheduled for a 2014 release, Kanye West regretfully announces the postponement of his upcoming tour dates in Australia” a statement reads. It is additionally confirmed that this is not an April Fool’s Day prank. The non-Australian Kanye fans grow giddy at the thought of new music.
April 6, 2014
Looping expert Josh Leary (a.k.a. Evian Christ), who’s worked on beats for Yeezus, tells Self-Titled that he got an email from West asking for an “Otis Redding-style beat.” Leary explains that, “He wants something that sounds a bit like Mobb Deep.”
June 14, 2014
In an interview with NME, producer Rick Rubin blesses the promise of a new ‘Ye record, confirming that he plans to help out with production.
July 7, 2014
Although no auditory proof survives, during a DJ set in London’s Cafe Royal Hotel with Virgil Alboh, West tests out a whopping 20 new tracks on his lucky audience.
July 21, 2014
Album prospects begin to grow uncertain: In an interview with GQ, West questions the perfect month for its release, saying, “I hope I can get one of these songs out in the next couple of weeks, just to have something up and running. But I think most likely September. I go back and forth. Like, should it be September or should it be October? Should it be November?” It is also confirmed that a single called “All Day” is on its way to being finished.
August 18, 2014
The Internet explodes with the announcement that Sir Paul McCartney and West are working on new music together. The former Beatle had previously been known to enjoy West’s work, citing Yeezus as the last album he purchased. It’s revealed by Page Six that the two have finished a track titled “Piss On My Grave,” and that enough material is in the works for an album. Now we’re getting somewhere…
September 1, 2014
Crazing over the “could be!” of a new album, fans almost forget KimYe’s impending televised nuptials. Although the buzz of their matrimony is all over the web, West never leaves his one love hanging for the other. After the two lovebirds say their vows onscreen, a CDQ version of his previously teased love song “Awesome” is featured in the Keeping Up With the Kardashians wedding special.
September 25, 2014
The hype of Yeezy season hits an all-time high when glitch-hop rapper Theophilus London reports that West has just performed his new album a charitable three times at a Parisian party with only 20 (hammered) witnesses. The Brooklyn-based London writes:
So shortly after this picture I Only remember kanye playing his new album 3 times in a dark room of 20 people last night and moshing drunk with mad babes haha. It almost seemed too good to be true that the new album was primed and ready to go…
September 30, 2014
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet: Theophilus London slams bloggers (SPIN included) that the new album is not ready just yet, simultaneously bruising Twitter egos around the world:
Kanye west album isn’t finish for all you Hypebeast bloggers out there writing for your magazine blogs — Theophilus London (@TheophilusL) September 30, 2014
December 2, 2014
‘Ye teases the “Kanye West Experience” for an auction held by Rihanna, leading us all to believe that a such a special event might mean the arrival of new material. Starting bids begin at $15,000. Sneaky, sneaky Mr. West, foreshadowing a collaboration with the singer of the similarly delayed R8.
December 9, 2014
To parody the Kim Kardashian-featuring video for Yeezus closer “Bound 2,” jokesters James Franco and Seth Rogen release their own short called “Bound 3.” In a feature with Rolling Stone, Rogen explains that after the goof went viral:
West cornered Rogen at a New York hotel and invited him to his limo van for a listening session with a twist. “There’s no lyrics, only beats,” Rogen said. “So he raps the whole album, and after each song, he stops it, like, ‘So what do you think?’ We were in the van for two hours!”
January 1, 2015
New Year, new ‘Ye. West releases his first single from his mystery album, the heartfelt “Only One,” a McCartney collaboration. “My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter,” West comments in a statement, adding that the name “Kanye” means “only one.”
January 3, 2015
Ty Dolla $ign joins the list of famous recruits for Kanye’s album. According to Ty, the singer recorded about nine songs with West on the first day of their studio sessions — including “Only One,” which showcases his background vocals. At the time, he says he’s unsure which lucky ones might make the record, but hints that a track with Rihanna, West, and McCartney was awaiting release and a video had been shot.
January 25, 2015
“FourFiveSeconds” is released, featuring (of course) RiRi and McCartney. It’s billed as the second single from the forthcoming (we think?) record.
February 6, 2015
Kanye posts a peculiar countdown clock on his website. Countdown to what? End of the world? The world hopes, instead, it’s pointing to a new album.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 6, 2015
February 12, 2015
At his Adidas fashion show in New York City, West debuts a new track featuring Sia and Vic Mensa called “Wolves.” Produced by Cashmere Cat, it’s revealed to be project’s opening track.
February 20, 2015
Kanye speaks about the new album during an hour-long interview with Hot 97’s the Breakfast Club: “[The album has got] bars, songs, cookout music that just feels good. My last album was a protest to music, I was like ‘I’m gonna take my ball and go home’… This album is embracing the music, joy. Being of service to the people. I just hope people like it and enjoy it. [With “Wolves,”] the song came from a conversation me and Drake had where we were supposed to do an album together — it was supposed to be called Wolves… we said we was gonna do it, he was sending beats back and forth,” he says.”I think [it’s] 80 percent [done]. I’m trying to get it finished. I’m trying to get it to the people as soon as possible.” At this point, it doesn’t seem like he’s trying hard enough.
February 25, 2015
Kanye debuts “All Day” at the Brit Awards with a fiery performance.
February 26, 2015
West does an interview with BBC Radio hotshot Zane Lowe and discusses the Grammys, Kim, and of course his “upcoming” release. “We’re being inventive… I’ve still got a lot of opinions and perspectives that are important and can be inspiring to people that fight,” he says. “The College Dropout came out of a fight to rap, and this new album’s coming out of a fight to design. It’s a joyful noise onto the Lord… it’s still a struggle, but beauty from the struggle.”
March 1, 2015
West announces that the album will be called So Help Me God. He includes cover art, which is a diamond with the letter “M” stuck at each corner. The image is later noted to be a 13th century monastic symbol for the virgin Mary.
So Help Me God pic.twitter.com/e3UUsQQEts
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 1, 2015
March 2, 2015
The HQ version of “All Day” is officially released on iTunes via G.O.O.D. Music and Def Jam.
March 5, 2015
Someone who clearly enjoys torture leaks a fake track list, along with a possible May 15 release date. The souls at the SPIN office are crushed when it’s found to be a hoax.
March 7, 2015
Kanye premieres his “All Day” video during a show at Paris Fashion Week. He later scraps this and uses his Brit Awards performance as the song’s official video. Indecisiveness at work!
— émilien (@emilienlft) March 7, 2015
— émilien (@emilienlft) March 7, 2015
March 11, 2015
Well, well, well: It’s reported that Kanye’s laptop was stolen, first noted by G.O.O.D. Music artist Malif Yusef via Twitter. Additionally the track “Awesome” (you’ll remember it from the Kardashians wedding episode from last Septmebr) leaks, allegedly linked to the laptop jacker. SPIN quickly confirms with West’s reps that reports of a theft were false. Drat.
March 30, 2015
Kanye West appears onstage alongside Madonna, Jay Z, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and more to announce the launch of the streaming service Tidal. It’s rumored that when customers subscribe, they’ll find a batch of long-delayed albums — So Help Me God and R8 among them — but that’s a bust, much like Tidal itself.
March 31, 2015
An interview with USA Today confirms that Justin Bieber is working with Rick Rubin and Kanye on his own new album. We say: Stop it with the collabs and just finish the album you promised over a year ago.
May 3, 2015
‘Ye changes the album name to SWISH, a move announced via Twitter, adding that “I might change it again but that’s the name now.” This is not very reassuring that the album is coming in the near feature.
I’m changing my album name to SWISH — KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) May 3, 2015
June 7, 2015
Rumors swirl about SWISH dropping in partnership with the debut of Apple Music, but it’s unfortunately not be the case. The company, similar to that of their competitor Tidal, notes that it’s seeking to have special releases from major artists including West. Reports pinpoint conversations between Apple and West, but no deal has yet been finalized.
June 11, 2015
West phones into Hot 97 again to clarify to the world that he not a ravenous killer of children’s dreams when rumors begin to spread that he’d recently been kicked out of a Chuck E. Cheese franchise. He emphasizes how he’s actually very “boring” (beginning to seem that way), saying “I’m just living my life, man. I’m having a good time…work on the next album, work on it slowly, make it an art project, you know, deliver the innovation that I know I have consistently done since 808s and Dark Fantasy.” We’re waiting.
September 16, 2015
During Kanye’s NYC Fashion Week presentation, he plays “Fade,” a throbbing new track that features Ty Dolla $ign and Post Malone. It is not — much like “Wolves” — made available online after the show, leaving fans salivating.
September 24, 2015
West gives an interview to Vanity Fair all about his Fashion Week show, Swish, and more. He claims it could be an awfully long wait before fans get to hear the album. “I’m not worried about the years,” he tells the mag. “I’m worried about the life and the body of work that I can put out while I’m breathing.”