Despite keeping a tight lid on his latest project Yeezus, Kanye West’s sixth studio album has made its way onto the internet just days before its official release on June 18.
Since Friday afternoon fans have posted everything from individual tracks to the entire album on video sites like YouTube and through file sharing torrents.
The high quality of the tracks has sent record executives scrambling to find the source of the release and even threaten to pursue legal action against the perpetrator.
However, according toTMZ, Kanye West hasn’t been bothered by it as he understands that it’s “inevitable” for the tunes to fall through the cracks with “so many cooks in the kitchen”.
And that’s because Kanye West has had heavy control over what the media and his fans have heard from the highly anticipated album.
Ahead of the weekend leak, only a few of his tracks have made their way to the public’s ears.
Kanye West has been hunkered down in Paris for much of the last year as he recorded his sixth studio album and the only major release of any of his tunes was his SNL performance of New Slaves and Black Skinhead in May.
Aside from that there has been no promotional roll out – no singles have been released on the radio, no official videos posted online and no pre-orders or pre-releases were made available.
On Monday Kanye West invited an A-list group of musicians and industry executives for an early listening party, most likely in hopes of creating an organic buzz around his dance-hall heavy album – which he says was “created from his gut”.
“The way this whole album was put together, the amount of producers that came together for it and the way we worked on this collectively, we didn’t give a f*** what anybody said,” Kanye West told the crowd.
“We just wanted to make the best product possible. And this is just the beginning of an entirely new mentality on how to make music directly for the people.”
Talking about his release date, Kanye West described the June 18 release as “delivering [something] for ya’ll to go to work to, ride to, listen to when ya’ll working out -whatever you’re doing, to provide a soundtrack for it”.
And the day before Kanye West debuted a host of new tracks at the Governor’s Ball Music Festival in New York City.
Last week Kanye West released a short clip on his website in which he’s recording the tune I Am a God with lyrics proclaiming that he’s talked to Jesus – and been confirmed as being a god as well. The video ends with a chat with legendary music producer Rick Rubin, who was the executive producer of the album.
On the title of the album – Yeezus, Kanye West said: “West was my slave name and Yeezus was my god name.”
The ten track album crosses over a series of genres – from punk rock to new wave – and features collaborations with Daft Punk, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Frank Ocean to name a few.
“Those looking for vintage soul sounds or even full-on raps from start to finish will be thrown several curves here. It’s an album with numerous layers as well,” read a Billboard review posted on Saturday.
The music magazine gave the album an approving 88 out of 100 review, even justifying Kanye West’s recent claim to the New York Times that he is the “Michael Jordan of music”.
“But mostly, West is just plain mad – angry at naysayers, <<The Man>> censoring his art, and even at his own celeb status.”
Fans have taken to Twitter and YouTube to express both their praise for Kanye West as well as dissatisfaction with the latest album.
Some fans have been less than impressed, claiming that the singer hasn’t made much progress with his new album.
Pictures of the album itself also made their way to Twitter, showing a discrete looking CD with no artwork on the disk nor the box aside from a large red sticker and a few lines of text on the backside.
Yet despite the early leak – something that’s becoming far too common in today’s industry – Kanye West’s album is still expected to bring in a cool 500,000 sales in its first week release.
That would be in the same range as his previous album sales – 2011’s Watch The Throne collected 436,000 sales while his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy sold 496,000 and 2008’s 808s & Heartbreak scored around 450,000.
However, that is little in comparison to this year’s hottest album – Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience – which topped the charts in March with 968,000 copies.