Fans of Kanye West have been treated to a special bonus feature with the release of his latest album: a psychological roller coaster ride. The album – which was initially titled So Help Me God, then SWISH, then Waves, and finally The Life of Pablo (a reference to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar) — was due to be released on Thursday, February 11th. That date came and passed without any word from the rapper or his label concerning the delay, frustrating already frenzied fans.
Kanye’s seventh album has already experienced its fair share of delays. The record was slated for release way back in 2014, but never materialized. Later, it was reported that many of the songs intended for the album were given away by the benevolent Yeezy to other rising artists: “3500” was eventually used by Travis Scott, and “Tell Your Friends” was used on The Weeknd’s latest album. In 2015, West released collaborative tracks with Rhianna and Sir Paul McCartney, including “FourFiveSeconds”, “All Day”, and “Only One”, sparking rumors that the album was close to release. Those rumors proved false, and the album’s future was once again unknown.
Fast forward to this week. The Life of Pablo, or T.L.O.P., was slated for release since the beginning of the year. Fans (including myself) waited up Wednesday to purchase the album at midnight. Much to their consternation, the album never appeared on iTunes. So they waited until the morning. Still no album. All day Thursday, fans and media outlets speculated, ranted, raved, pleaded. Was it delayed again? Was there some sort of mistake by distributors? Had there ever actually been an album in the first place?
Friday morning, it was reported that the album was available on Pandora, but no other answers were available. However, since Pandora isn’t the place to go to listen to an album in its entirety, it proved a poor substitute. Then, just hours later, answers came. Real answers. And they came from the man himself, via his twitter account. It turns out, in true Kanye fashion, he delayed the release just one day in order to add six new tracks. West assured fans that the album would be released Friday, with more tracks than audiences had anticipated.
At the time of writing this, The Life of Pablo is still not available on iTunes. News of the delay has been softened with the promise of a larger album, but does it make up for the unreliable timing of West’s albums? His previous record, Yeezus, was also delayed and reorganized at the last moment, only to receive overwhelming acclaim from critics. Is this a case of West being flakey, or a perfectionist? Despite the criticism and praise of Kanye West, these questions can only be answered once the album is finally released.