It seems like 2015 is the year we’ll finally get to hear that long-awaited followup to Kanye West’s genre-shredding Yeezus. In the very first seconds of the year, ‘Ye graced the world with his first full brand new song in over a year, “Only One,” featuring organ from Paul McCartney and backing vocals from Ty Dolla $ign. The track is a personal, gut-wrenching ballad framed as his mother speaking to him about his daughter, North, from Heaven. Yeezy’s always been most revealing when rapping about his mother, but the added wrinkle of North West seems like it could herald a sharp change in his lyrical direction for his seventh album.
Of course, much is still up in the air, but after Yeezy blessed us again with another track from the McCartney/Dolla $ign sessions, this one featuring a front-and-center vocal performance from Rihanna, it seemed like the direction was affirmed. “FourFiveSeconds” was, if anything, an even further diversion from the often grating, hyper-aggressiveness of Yeezus; it wouldn’t sound that far out of place on country radio, with acoustic guitars and multi-layered harmonies. But now that it appears the record is actually destined for Rih Rih’s LP, the vision becomes less clear.
Yeezy returned with the first cut off his new album, titled “Wolves” and featuring Sia and 2014 XXL Freshman Vic Mensa, last month. ‘Ye previewed the track at his Adidas Yeezy reveal last week and then debuted the full song at last night’s #SNL40 special with a creepy, performative visual with his two collaborators in tow. “Wolves” is even further out there, with haunting vocals from both Sia and Vic. He followed that up by finally debuting “All Day” with Allan Kingdom and Theophilus London and produced by Velous at the BRIT Awards, a song that has leaked at least twice in the past year in different versions.
Then this weekend, Yeezy again through a curveball by announcing the album title, So Help Me God, and the LP’s artwork via Twitter. It seems like Kanye is again at a place in his career where his musical direction is completely wide open. So what can we expect from the project? Here’s everything we know about Kanye West’s upcoming seventh album, So Help Me God. —Dan Rys