Like most artists, Kanye West is anything but organized in his creativity — and true to his nature, West seems as though he’s never content with the final product of any of his albums until they are finally dropped. As those who follow his manic, trollish Twitter feed have gathered, perhaps there’s no better word to describe Kanye’s creative process than “chaotic.”
The Life of Pablo is the newly-announced title of West’s seventh album — which he now says will be released today, Feb. 12. Yesterday, the public had the chance to hear what West describes as a “gospel album” at the live-streamed Madison Square Garden launch of the third season of his Yeezy fashion line. Keeping up with Kanye is almost as much of a chore as keeping up with the Kardashians, which is no coincidence given that he’s married to one member (Kim) of the famous pop-culture family.
How many different forms of The Life of Pablo have been created so far, and how many beefs has Kanye instigated since the album was announced? We’re here to help, with a complete timeline of the Life of Pablo roll-out so far.
Dec. 13, 2015
The first inkling that Yeezy season is approaching. Kanye tweets, “I’m finishing my album and my next collection…” and “no offense to anyone… I’m asking everyone DON’T ASK ME FOR ANYTHING TILL AFTER I’M FINISHED WITH MY ALBUM.” (The importance of not halting Kanye’s creative process is a recurring theme throughout his Twitter feed.)
Jan. 8, 2016
Amid the release of a few tracks on Soundcloud (“FACTS,” “Real Friends” [since removed], and “No More Parties in L.A.”) and after announcing his album will be called So Help Me God, West tweets the next album title (Swish, presumably an allusion to his deal with Nike), along with a release date, Feb. 11.
Jan. 24, 2016
West tweets the first tracklist of the album. Noticeably absent were his high-profile collaborations from the past year with Paul McCartney, “Only One,” “FourFiveSeconds,” and “All Day” (the latter featuring St. Paul MC Allan Kingdom). We also are promised that this will be “the best album of all time.”
Jan. 26, 2016
Kanye re-affirms that his new disc will be “the album of the life.” Now known as Waves, the album is dissected into three acts, and Kanye’s cryptic notebook is doodled like a guestbook with all who enter his studio. What could the title mean?
This is when Wiz Khalifa steps in, claiming that Max B is “the wavey one,” the creator of the wave. It turns out Kanye has nothing but respect for Max B (and, it seems Andre Harrell, founder of the now defunct Uptown Records). For those who don’t know, the now-incarcerated Max B is seen as a leader in the “wave movement,” known for his influential laid-back flow and melodic style.
Jan. 27, 2016
After a now mostly-deleted infamous Twitter spat between Kanye and Khalifa (and their mutual ex, Amber Rose), the notebook is updated with a laundry list of high-profile rappers — including Earl Sweatshirt, Chance the Rapper, and Big Boi, among others. West also informs us of the album’s intentions, calling Waves a gospel album. He writes, “I love the world bottom line and all I want is peace and positive energy,” and (presumably referring to his hostile tweets toward Wiz Khalifa) “Ima take these down cause it’s all about positive energy blessings blessings positive energy blessings.”
Feb. 3, 2016
“Out of respect for Q-Tip, Puff, Hov, Lauren, Pharcyde, Mary, Stevie, Michael, Hendrix, James, Pete Rock, Pac, Marvin….” Kanye writes the day prior, “this new album is ONE of the greatest albums not the greatest just one of …” In trying to pay it forward, Kanye enlists the help of Tyler, The Creator to attempt to get his face on the cover of Rolling Stone. The “unauthorized” cover image turns into a Twitter campaign (#trollingstone), that appears to have now fizzled out.
Feb. 9, 2016
The day before, Kanye writes “There may be a new secret album title.” On this day, he tweets that he is at the studio, pulling together final verses for the album with the mysterious acronym “T.L.O.P.” Although he then tweets that “anybody who can figure out the title gets tickets to Season 3 and free Yeezys,” it has yet to be confirmed whether or not he followed through with his promise (he also apologizes to Michael Jordan for something and maintains Bill Cosby’s innocence).
Feb. 10, 2016
One day later, and the day before the ascension of Yeezy at Madison Square Garden (don’t ask him for anything until this weekend is over), Kanye starts a blank page and reveals the final tracklist at last, although what does “final” really mean at this point? The title is confirmed as The Life of Pablo, with his Kendrick Lamar collaboration “No More Parties in L.A.” withheld from the album.
Feb. 11, 2016
The day of the album premiere has arrived, and with it the poignant lyrics to “Father Stretch My Hands” as well as the cover art (and another) designed by Belgian artist Peter De Potter. “Family” appears to be what keeps Kanye grounded. At the Madison Square Garden event, watched by millions around the world, Kanye plugged his laptop into a speaker (meaning that the entire arena knew when he received an e-mail) and shuffled through each song on the album as the camera cycled through models wearing his clothing in stoic stances with unassuming gazes. He also premiered the trailer for his new video game, “Only One,” which features his mother ascending through heaven (after not receiving enough applause, Kanye decided to play the trailer a second time).
Feb. 12, 2016
After receiving backlash for including the lyrics “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous” on his song “Famous,” Kanye claims he was not dissing Taylor Swift in the song, or ever. (A Swift spokesperson says the pop singer cautioned West “against releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message.”) After releasing a non-album cut called “30 Hours,” West informs us that the album is currently being mastered and will be released today, with an expanded tracklist and a new sheet of paper. Of course, this is all subject to change.