Kanye West Sets the Stage for Epic Summer of G.O.O.D. Music

Yesterday started off as your usual Thursday, but I was just happy to have more motivational tweets from Kanye, which I thought would be adding on to his Break The Simulation philosophy book.

My world was flipped upside down when Kanye’s afternoon string of tweets became public. “My album is 7 songs,” followed up by “June 1st.” At that point, I lost my mind. I’ve been yearning for some new Kanye West music in my life. I also had a feeling something was up when Charlamagne Tha God visited Kanye’s office Wednesday, where he was reportedly played cuts from the album.

The next tweet sent me into a state of euphoria, thinking this couldn’t be real life. We’re actually going to get that elusive Kanye West and Kid Cudi joint album that fans had been calling for since the duo crafted 808s & Heartbreak and later linked up on a number of bangers throughout their careers. If you know me, 808s is my favorite Kanye West album and that project led me toward the Yeezianity stan I am today.

With over a month until Kanye and the Kids See Ghost album, I’m still hesitant to believe it’s happening because with Ye being the perfectionist he is, anything is possible until those projects show up on Apple Music.

I’m also excited to just be able to work in the music industry during the release of a Kanye West album, documenting this process is going to be a special time in hip-hop history. Hopefully, Ye and Cudi do some media, host a listening party in the city and drop some merch along with the projects to amplify the experience and make it last forever. Dare I say go on tour at the end of the year together?!?

The G.O.O.D. Music takeover didn’t stop as the 40-year-old West also unveiled that his pair of albums would be sandwiched between highly anticipated efforts from G.O.O.D. Music President Pusha T (May 25) and Teyana Taylor (June 22) executive produced by the Chicago native himself.

Either way, I haven’t been this excited leading into a project in years as you never know what the next Kanye West album is going to sound like.

Yeezy Season is most definitely approaching! It’s going to be a G.O.O.D. Summer (Sorry Drake) my fellow hip-hop fanatics. Maybe it’s finally time to get my 808s & Heartbreak tattoo.

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Kanye West & Kim Kardashian Welcome Baby #3

North, Saint and it’s anyone’s best guess what Kim and Kanye will name their third child, who was born in the wee hours of Monday, January 15th. Kim posted to her website with a message that read, “She’s Here! Kanye and I are happy to announce the arrival of our healthy, beautiful baby girl. We are incredibly grateful to our surrogate who made our dreams come true with the greatest gift one could give and to our wonderful doctors and nurses for their special care. North and Saint are especially thrilled to welcome their baby sister.”

Kardashian decided to go with a surrogate, whose identity has been protected throughout the process, because of preeclampsia with North and further complications with Saint making another pregnancy a major risk to her health.

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Kim reflected on going through a surrogate rather than a traditional pregnancy in 2017, “Anyone that says or thinks it is just the easy way out is just completely wrong. I think it is so much harder to go through it this way, because you are not really in control.”

“And, you know, obviously you pick someone that you completely trust and that you have a good bond and relationship with, but knowing that I was able to carry my first two babies and not my baby now, it’s hard for me. So, it’s definitely a harder experience than I anticipated just in the control area.”

Congrats to KimYe!

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12 Years Ago Kanye West Released His Second Studio Album, ‘Late Registration’

After Riding the wave of his rebellious debut album, Kanye put his money where his mouth was on Late Registration investing two million dollars into the project. Critics pondered how Kanye West would follow up The College Dropout. Fresh off of Usher’s 2004 tour, Yeezy went back to work on his sophomore record.

Kanye had “Gold Digger” verses recorded before some of the records that made his freshman LP. Originally, the song was written from a woman’s perspective for Shawnna, who somehow ended up passing on the record, so Mr. West took things into his own hands. It wasn’t until Ye met British film composer Jon Brion that everything changed going forward. West took his profits and invested in lush orchestras and strings after being inspired by the trip-hop band, Portishead.

Jamis Foxx didn’t get involved with the future anthem “Gold Digger,” until Kanye saw him play Ray Charles in the film Ray. Initially Foxx was skeptical of West’s R&B aspirations, but was obviously proven wrong. You never question the vision of a creative genius. The track which was recorded at Ludacris’ home studio went to be West’s introduction to the world, as it topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts, giving the Chicago native his first number one hit.

Before cross-genre collaborating was popular, the ambitious musician enlisted Maroon 5’s Adam Levine for the tuneful opener “Heard ‘Em Say.” Levine would later use his lyrics on the band’s “Nothing Lasts Forever” record. If you’ve never seen the animated visual for this song you’re missing out.

“Hey Mama” is one of the most powerful tracks that will end up defining Kanye’s career, especially with what ended transpiring with Donda after he penned the record. It’s such an emotional song that he can’t even perform it on tour, and we all can understand why with the bond he had with his mother. His 2008 Grammy’s performance was one of the signature moments in hip-hop.

I could go on for days breaking down the 69-minutes of classic content provided by Kanye and an all-star lineup of features that included Chicago natives Common, Lupe Fiasco, Jay Z and Nas on back to back tracks at the peak of their beef, Cam’ron and The Game. Ye has a way of expressing himself in a funny way, but always keeping it real and that’s exuded in the four skits. I always enjoy coming back to the vintage Kanye that cemented himself in the hip-hop hall-of-fame. Give the 21-tracks a spin on the 12th year anniversary. Late Registration took home a Grammy for best rap album at the 2006 awards and is now certified triple platinum.

P.S. – Only Ye would go to Abbey Road Studios in London to perform and record a live 12-track compilation album in front of 300 people with a suit jacket on.

Six Years Ago Kanye West and Jay Z Changed Hip-hop Forever Releasing ‘Watch The Throne’

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On what was meant to be a 5-track EP, instead Kanye West and JAY Z teamed up at the peak of their powers to collaborate for 55 minutes of black excellence. Today (August 8th), fans celebrate six years since Watch The Throne‘s release. Even though their relationship may not be as strong as the big brother family ties once were, it still doesn’t take away from the impact this project had in changing the hip-hop landscape forever.

Last week, I detailed how fortunate I was to have Graduation kick off my high-school career. What better way to end it than have Watch The Throne drop in the summer that I prepared to take on the challenge of going away to college. Kanye and Jay broadcasted their braggadocio lifestyle, dealing with fame, racism in connection to materialism, and shed light on the political and socioeconomic problems we still see today.

Look at that in depth analysis from TreeSap himself above on release day. On a more serious note, there aren’t many albums I have a great feeling about after one listen, but I distinctly recall loving this project after my first time through hearing the stories told by Ye and Hov. Weaved into the opulence and decadent themes was my introduction to Frank Ocean, who was featured on “No Church In The Wild” as well as “Made It In America,” which went on to be two of my favorite tracks off the album.

My biggest regret in life to this point is not going to the Watch The Throne Tour stop at MSG in November of 2011. We won’t see anything like that ever again. The WTT Tour spawned the trend of having designers create artist merchandise. Riccardo Tisci, former Creative Director at Givenchy, designed the t-shirts and artwork for the tour and album. To this day I still have a Watch The Throne album cover phone case and don’t plan on changing it anytime soon, as I always come back to anthems like “Niggas In Paris” and “Otis” every few weeks for inspiration.

The collaborative effort was recorded across the globe from Los Angeles, NYC, Paris and England to Hawaii and even Abu Dhabi from November 2010 through the summer of 2011. Calling on a superstar team to help craft the production on the record, much like Kanye did with MBDTF. In addition to the usuals like Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein and Anthony Kilhoffer, legends such as RZA, Swizz Beats, Q-Tip, Pharell and many more left their mark on the Throne, making for some brilliant studio sessions.

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Some of those stories have been recalled by the likes of Roc Nation’s Lenny S. and Complex Editor-In-Chief Noah Callahan-Bever to share with the public.

Ten years after first teaming up on Jay’s Blueprint album for the duo to come together and be able to create a classic body of work is something I will appreciate forever. I know it’s unlikely that there would ever be a sequel, but I am grateful the album came together so flawlessly with tuneful production and genius use of features. (Still wanted to hear Bruno Mars over Beyonce on “Lift Off”)

If you know me, you know I hold this album close and do not tolerate any slander of it, as I believe it can go toe-to-toe with any project ever made. Make sure to honor the Throne and keep WTT heavy in rotation today!

Big Brother

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10 Years Ago Today Kanye West Officially Released “Stronger”

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“This is one of the first times we got to make a video like how we make music,” Kanye explained at the premiering of his “Stronger” music video at the Tribeca Cinemas in NYC in June of 2007. This quote gives you a look into the meticulous perfectionist that is West, who worked with eight different audio engineers, eleven mix engineers crafting 75 different mixes before finding the perfect melody on Graduation’s biggest hit. Ultimately, hard work paid off as “Stronger” launched West into mainstream superstardom as the tuneful single eventually made its way to his third #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of September 29th, 2007 breaking up Soulja Boy’s “Crank That” run.

Graduation is the album that really made me a Kanye West fan, as I often debate in my head to this day if Graduation or MBDTF is Yeezy’s best work. When I got to high-school in 2007 it perfectly lined up with Kanye entering the peak of his powers as an artist. As I began to grow as an individual and understand society as well as comprehend what I was listening to, I couldn’t have been luckier to have a Graduation type album help mold my music interests in what is considered a tough stage of life for most kids. “Stronger” definitely has a place in my top 10 Kanye West songs of all-time.

The eccentric Hype Williams directed visual for “Stronger” drew rave reviews from critics as the Japanese anime inspired music video has amassed over 252 million views on YouTube and it was added to the site nearly two years after the song’s release. The visual is based on a 1988 anime film titled Akira, and was mostly shot at random locations throughout Japan for 9 days including the famous BAPE and BBC clothing stores. P-Diddy’s girlfriend and singer Cassie Ventura lead the video with a guest appearance along with a real Japanese biker gang. Kanye went three months looking to find the exact pair of shutter shades he made popular for the video, stumbling on a pair in Paris.

As someone who appreciates music at its core, this video of Kanye West and Timbaland combining both their genius to perfect the smallest of details within the “Stronger” drums behind the 808s to make them “pop” as Ye would say. The ode to Daft Punk flips their signature “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” into an updated sample paying homage to the group who Kanye didn’t believe got enough respect at the time. The legendary electronic duo was impressed enough to the point with West’s work that it sparked future collaborations.

Kanye West – Stronger (Grammy Awards 2008) from Bobynovitche on Vimeo.

“Stronger” took home one of the many awards Yeezy swept up, including Best Rap Solo Performance at the 50th Grammy Awards. Kanye also gave two of his most memorable live performances with “Stronger” followed by the emotional “Hey Mama” following the death of his mother, Donda West.

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It’s honestly crazy that a decade has past since Kanye dropped Graduation and the sound still bumps and is as crisp and refreshing as what is out today. The 40-year-old continues to push the limits of creativity in music and this is a prime example of that as he delved into electro music combining it with rap to hand-craft what may be his biggest smash-hit of his career. “Stronger’ was the first, like, dance-rap song that resonated to that level,” West said to the New York Times. “Stronger” is now 7-times certified platinum by the RIAA (7,000,000 records sold).

 

The Top 10 Kanye West Features Of All-Time

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With the release of Tyga’s Kanye West assisted “Feel Me” track last week, it got me thinking about all the classic features Yeezy has given throughout his career. So after deciphering over a decade of guest verses, I did my best to come up with the top 10 Kanye West features of all-time. Let me know which classic Ye verses I missed out on.

Without further ado, the top 10.

10. Lil Wayne Featuring Kanye West – Lollipop (Remix)

It’s a shame Lil Wayne and Kanye West never combined for a true banger in Weezy’s prime. This is probably the closest thing to it, as Ye hops on Wayne’s lead Tha Carter III single for one of his best verses.

9. Lloyd Banks Featuring Kanye West, Swizz Beatz, Fabolous & Ryan Leslie – Start It Up

After Kanye West said Lloyd Banks was “underrated,” the track quickly expanded from just Banks and Fab. Start It Up went from a duet to featuring Kanye, Ryan Leslie and Swizz Beatz, who were all in NYC at the time.

8. T.I. Featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z – Swagger Like Us

On impact alone, this song has to make the list strictly based on the names collaborating. Today, you would never see the biggest names in the game at the height of their careers getting together to absolutely murder a track.

7. Rick Ross Featuring Kanye West – Live Fast, Die Young

Probably the most underrated Kanye feature on this list. This song has Ye’s hands all over it. You can just tell this is from the MBDTF era and West decided to give the track to his good buddy Rozay after he gave the verse of a lifetime on Devil In A New Dress.

6. Rihanna Featuring Kanye West – Diamonds Remix

This is probably the most recent Kanye feature that I genuinely enjoyed. During the midst of the Yeezus era, Kanye let us know that he hasn’t lost a step in the rap department.

5. Estelle Featuring Kanye West – American Boy

Kanye West did John Legend and Estelle a huge favor when the two linked up for the hottest single in her pop career.

4. The Game Featuring Kanye West – Wouldn’t Get Far

The Game and Ye combined for an epic track as the duo traded fire verses as they gave the industry a reality check and kept it real when it came to the video vixen era rising up in hip-hop.

3. Drake Featuring Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem – Forever

Yeezy gives the best verse on a track among all-stars, as three legends help boost the career of a young Drake back in 2009.

2. Jay-Z Featuring Kanye West and Rihanna – Run This Town

Jay-Z should’ve known better when he got murked on here even before getting to Watch The Throne. The tune reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won two Grammy awards.

1. Young Jeezy Featuring Kanye West – Put On

THE MOST ICONIC FEATURE OF KANYE WEST’S CAREER. Yeezy returned to let out the sadness built up since his mother’s passing, and how lonely it can be at the top.

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Honorable Mention:

Big Sean Featuring Kanye West – Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay 

Ne-Yo Featuring Kanye West – Because Of You Remix

Keri Hilson Featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down

Mr. Hudson Featuring Kanye West – Supernova

Katy Perry Featuring Kanye West – E.T.

Why Did Donald Trump Meet With Kanye West?

Just another Tuesday morning in the life of the President-Elect, Donald Trump. Today, he met with his good friend Kanye West.

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Just another Tuesday morning in the life of the President-Elect, Donald Trump. Today, he met with his good friend Kanye West, as he strolled into Trump Tower in NYC ready to go for about a 15 minute meeting, which sent social media into a frenzy.

If you’re that guy on social media saying “OMG I can’t support Kanye anymore, how could he do this,” chill the fuck out.

When the discussion between the two ended, they were greeted by media members in the lobby of the Trump Tower, where Donald said they talked about “life” and “We’ve been friends for a long time.” The Blonde Kanye did not answer any questions but said, “I just want a picture right now”. Classic Ye.

So why did the iconic duo meet up today?

1) To discuss their collaboration album titled, Watch The Wall. Just kidding, on to the real possibilities.bc5983b67a44bcede801e2ff363b54e0_xl

2) Trump wants Ye to perform at his inauguration in January. Kanye has voiced his support of the President-Elect who is still looking for an artist to perform next month.

3) E! News reported that Donald reached out to West’s camp to discuss becoming an “ambassador of sorts,” they also added that Trump wants to get Ye involved in a “entrepreneurial leadership role.”

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There still is no official word on what went down at the meeting, but the two did embrace and Trump is overheard saying, “take care of yourself, I’ll see you soon” before Kanye left the building.

I’m all for having Kanye involved with Trump in whatever role that may be. It’s also good to see Kanye is taking care of himself and back in the right frame of mind in society.

*** FOLLOW UP: KANYE TWEETED ***

#BelieveInYe #TrumpYe #2024

P.S. Look at that dap-up, did not expect that from the Don-Juan.

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LordTreeSap’s Top 10 Hip-Hop/R&B Albums of 2016

2016 was one of the best years in music history period. Here is my list of what I believe are the top 10 albums of the year.

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2016 was an incredible year for music, one of the best that I can remember. We got so many quality projects from the biggest stars in the industry. I’ve been dying for this the last couple years, but that thirst has been successfully quenched with the tuneful albums I’ve heard over the course of the last 12 months. I attempted to put together a list of the top 10 albums in hip-hop/R&B from 2016. Let me know what you guys think.

10. Vic Mensa – There’s A Lot Going On 

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The Chicago native made huge strides in 2016. The socially conscious artist brought it on every track of the eccentric short EP he released in June. I am so amped for his debut album, which should be releasing in the first quarter of 2017. Look for Vic to blow up next year, similar to how fellow Chi-town bro Chance The Rapper did this year.

9. DJ Khaled – Major Key

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Did anyone have a better year all-around than DJ Khaled? You can make an argument he became one of the biggest names in the game, and undoubtedly, the king of Snapchat. Everywhere you look you see him, whether its award shows or commercials, he’s in there preaching. Khaled also put out a very quality project over the summer, loaded with features and a sound unlike any other album he’s had his hands on before. Call him BILLI.

8. Drake – VIEWS

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It was a tough decision on where to put Drizzy on this list. He had an unbelievable year and is probably the “hottest thing in music” as DG would say. His voice is all over the radio. You can’t go 10 seconds without hearing one of his tuneful hits. VIEWS made history with streaming records and is quadruple platinum, but I’m still waiting on more of a hip-hop than pop album from the Toronto native. This is middle of the road as far as his discography goes.

7. The Weeknd – STARBOY

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The Weeknd is back on the music scene and his latest LP was impressive. Anything Daft Punk can get their hands on I’m usually a fan of, and that didn’t change here. I have to see the Canadian on tour at some point in my life. Look for him to grace the Super Bowl half-time stage soon as well.

***DG EDITOR’S NOTE: Looks like I convinced LTS that the Weeknd will perform at a Super Bowl. Just want to inform you that I planted that seed, but I’m still #humble.  Continue reading.****

6. Rihanna – ANTI

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Rih-Rih did her thing on her 8th studio LP, which released way back in January 2016. As a Rihanna fan, I will admit she lost me for a bit with her recent music, but I am definitely back on the 28-year-old’s wave as she delivered her most complete project yet. She’s even killing the fashion game, as her Puma silhouette was named the top sneaker of 2016.

5. Solange Knowles – A Seat At The Table

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I will admit I have never listened to a Solange album before, but holy shit was this project awesome. What a pleasant surprise to the ears. She is no longer Beyonce’s sister in my book and had the best project of the Knowles sisters this year. I’m definitely here for the Solange movement. #BlackGirlMagic

4. Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

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Chance The Rapper had the best year in music, no doubt about it. He got everything he could out of 2016. The Chicago native infused hip-hop with gospel into one of the best projects of the year. The 23-year-old is the future of music. The culture is in his palms and I couldn’t be more confident in the independent artist.

3. Travis Scott – Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight

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It’s a shame this album didn’t get consideration for the Grammy’s, but it shouldn’t change your mind about how dope this project was. When you have Kanye West and Mike Dean behind you, greatness is on the horizon and Travis has produced a sound that many artists are trying to copy and bite. The Rodeo artist is the clear protege to Yeezy. The future is bright over at G.O.O.D Music.

2. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

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Yeezy, my guy, the greatest artist of our generation. TLOP has aged very well since its February release and is stacked with quality sound, as Kanye was on top of his game for this project. I really think the rollout and lack of promotion damaged fans relationships with the album, as Ye being the creative genius he is, made tweaks to give the best product possible. The listening party at MSG was fucking epic. All in All, great project and I am looking forward to TurboSZN.

1. Frank Ocean – Blonde

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Frank Ocean made his much anticipated return to music this year, as rumors flew through the air about when he would actually be releasing the project. But as only Frank Ocean could do, he drops a 45-minute music video out of nowhere and then another project on top of it that same weekend. This album’s sound and aesthetic is unmatched in music. There is nothing like it out there, and that is what made this project so dope. The world needs Frank Ocean music. Hopefully it won’t be another 4 years until his next project, but I was truly blown away at how powerful the story in this album was, as he had the hip-hop community in awe.

Honorable Mention: Beyonce – Lemonade, Anderson Paak – Malibu, A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here, Lil Uzi Vert – Lil Uzi Vert vs The World, Young Thug – JEFFERY

***This list excludes projects releasing in December 2016***

Song of the year: Pick Up The Phone – Travis Scott and Young Thug Ft. Quavo

Verse of the year: Chance The Rapper – UltraLight Beam