Kanye West shared his highly anticipated new album, ye, on Friday (June 1). The project was initially premiered via live-stream on the WAV app overnight at the Diamond Cross Ranch in Wyoming but finally landed on streaming services in the early morning hours. Yeezy stuck to his release date and follows up Pusha T’s Daytona as the second installment of the 5-part G.O.O.D. Music domination series.
The 23-minute LP sees contributions from a multitude of ranging artists through its seven tracks including Ty Dolla $ign, Jeremih, Charlie Wilson, Kid Cudi, Dej Loaf, John Legend, Nicki Minaj, and G.O.O.D. Music neophytes 070 Shake and Chitown’s burgeoning Valee. Production for the album behind the boards is mainly steered by a soulful Yeezy with some help from frequent collaborators such as Mike Dean and Francis & The Lights.
The 40-year-old packed a plethora of content into each track on his most concise album to date. Per usual, ye was filled with celebrity name-drops and a range of pop culture references showing the kind of creative space West was in while crafting his eighth studio album.
Russell Simmons – “Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too/ I’ma pray for him ’cause he got #MeToo’d/ Thinkin’ what if that happened to me too/ Then I’m on E! News”
Russell Simmons has shown support for Kanye through his controversies in the past, and it sounds as if Yeezy is looking to return the favor and back the Def Jam Co-founder, after he’s been slammed with numerous sexual assault allegations.
Wiz Khalifa – “Uh, just a different type of leader/ We could be in North Korea, I could smoke with Wiz Khalifa/ Uh, told my wife I’ve never seen her”
Wiz Khalifa has become synonymous with smoking weed throughout his career, and along with Snoop Dogg, has taken his passions into the business side of marijuana with his own strand of Khalifa Kush. West teases burning with the Pittsburgh native on “Yikes.” It sounds as if the pair formerly associated with Amber Rose have patched up their turbulent relationship since their social media feud in early 2016.
Run DMC – “Is he gon’ make it? TBD, huh/ Thought I was gon’ run, DMC, huh?/ I done died and lived again on DMT”
The 40-year-old makes use of three-letter acronyms for some shrewd wordplay in the secondary bars. He gives a shout out to the legendary Run DMC trio prior to mentioning group member Joseph Simmons’ brother later on in his verse.
Kerry Washington – “If I pull up with a Kerry Washington/ That’s gon’ be an enormous scandal”
With the track honing in on infidelity, this could be a reference to Chris Rock cheating on his ex-wife with actress Kerry Washington, who happens to star in ABC’s Scandal and is now married to ex-NFLer Nnamdi Asomugha.
Naomi Campbell & Stormy Daniels – “I could have Naomi Campbell/ And still might want me a Stormy Daniels”
Continuing with the infidelity theme, Kanye ponders the thought of possibly still be willing to cheat on his beautiful supermodel wife with someone who has even dabbled in the porn industry.
Corey Gamble – “Sometimes, you gotta bag the boss up/ I call that taking Corey Gambles”
Corey Gamble is currently dating the mastermind behind the Kardashian empire, Kris Jenner, who is 25 years his elder. He has worked with Justin Bieber and other artists in the past in management and security roles.
Tristan Thompson & Kobe Bryant – “All these thots on Christian Mingle/ Almost what got Tristan single/ If you don’t ball like him or Kobe/ Guarantee that bitch gonna leave you”
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson was caught cheating on girlfriend Khloe Kardashian with multiple women on camera at a nightclub. The pair recently had a baby together on April 12. Kobe Bryant was also involved in a grimy cheating situation where he was accused of raping a woman in a Colorado hotel back in 2003 while he was married to Vanessa Bryant.
Sway Calloway – “They say, ‘Build your own,’ I said, ‘How, Sway’/ I said, ‘Slavery a choice,’ they say, ‘How, Ye?'”
Yeezy references his infamous interview with radio host Sway Calloway of Sway In The Morning back in 2013 while on a media tour in support of Yeezus.
Kim Kardashian – “My wife callin’, screamin’, say, ‘We ’bout to lose it all!’/ Had to calm her down ’cause she couldn’t breathe”
Ye unveils that his wife Kim called him repeatedly in disarray after he went on TMZ (May 1) and made controversial statements regarding slavery being a choice.
Ice Cube – “The true soul of Ice Cube/ Too close to snipe you (the Lord still shines on you)/ Truth told, I like you (Believe it or not, the Lord still shines on you)/ Too bold to type you (Believe it or not)/ Too rich to fight you/ Calm down, you light skin”
These bars may very well be Kanye’s indirect response to Drake’s “Duppy Freestyle.” Ice Cube is recognized here as one of the most authentic MCs and revered songwriters in hip-hop’s history.
Nicki Minaj – “I hope she like Nicki, I’ll make her a monster/ Not havin’ menages/ I’m just being silly
Nicki makes her first appearance on a Yeezy project since the epic “Monster” off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in 2010. Kanye hopes his daughter North grows up to be a passionate and successful woman like Minaj.
Will Smith – “I answered the door, like Will Smith and Martin/ N—a do we have a problem/ Matter of fact Marlin, this ain’t Meet the Fockers/ I’ll beat his ass, pray I beat the charges”
The father of three references a scene from Bad Boys 2, where Will Smith and Martin Lawrence aggressively answer the door tin an effort to intimidate Marcus’ daughter’s new boyfriend that they don’t approve of.