After a year of anticipation for a new album from Kanye West, we are now ending the year like most fashion bloggers. Yeezy-less. Even though Kanye has released a few singles and features this year he has still left fans waiting on the edge of their seats for the follow up to 2013’s Yeezus. While he has not dropped SWISH, throughout 2015 Yeezy has put on two fashion shows with Adidas, performed at The Grammy’s, SNL 40, the BRIT awards, and headlined a number of festivals. He also received an MTV vanguard award (which ended in him announcing his presidential candidacy for 2020), and just had his second child with Kim Kardashian. So with all these things Kanye has done this year the real question should be, should Kanye West have the need to release an album? He obviously doesn’t need the money or fame so why would he rush the project? Where Kanye has left us empty in terms of a new album, he has given us a surplus of some of the best features this year, and at times, concluding as an album’s standout track.
After a year and a half from his last single, Kanye collaborated with musical legend Sir Paul Mccartney on his late December 2014 release “Only One.” With soft vocals and soothing piano by Mccartney, Kanye was able to regain the love of many fans who were disappointed with his anger filled 2013 album, Yeezus. Only about a month later, Ye and Paul collaborated once again on Rihanna‘s single “FourFiveSeconds.” The single reached #1 on Billboard’s top R&B/Hip Hop Songs, and with the line “Woke up an optimist” a new trend seemed to be starting within Kanye’s style. Ye emerged back from the depths of darkness he was in during his “Yeezus” state only a few years ago and is appearing now in a place between 808s & Heartbreaks and Yeezus.
Following the single, Kanye then went on to appear on many signature albums throughout the year. Here are the notable Yeezus features we’ve seen:
BIG SEAN – Dark Sky Paradise
Big Sean‘s third studio album, Dark Sky Paradise, contained three great Kanye features. On “I Don’t Fuck With You,” Kanye helped Sean in production by sampling D.J. Rogers “Say You Love Me.” With a face crunching intro and co-production by DJ Mustard, it’s safe to conclude as to why this track went 3x platinum.
Sean went on to release a second single titled “Blessings” Featuring Kanye & Drake, which in Kanye’s words “Niggas is gonna be salivating on this Big Sean shit.” While the Kanye feature only appears on the extended version of the album, this track showcases Dad-Ye at his best, something that we should be prepared to see more often.
Just did a couple laps in my home pool ///
And my daughter right there getting home-schooled
However, the very impressive Kanye showcase on the album is “All Your Fault” which has him on both the production and vocals. Containing one of the best back-and-forths of the year, this track allows Kanye to perfectly boost both himself and Sean into a legendary level. The track contains Rick Flair-like”Woo’s” and the bone-chilling snare drums slapping in the background.
Tyler, The Creator – Cherry Bomb
Prior to the release of Tyler, the Creator’s third studio album, “Smuckers” Ft. Lil Wayne & Kanye West was the most highly anticipated track off Cherry Bomb. The track went on to exceed expectations with great production and a killer back and forth from Tyler and Weezy. Ye starts off his verse with a clever shot at his previous business partner Nike, and he is able to use his story-telling and vocal command to spit bars for over a minute and a half. Just sit back and let Yeezus take the wheel.
Why, oh why, why, why don’t they like me?
Nike gave a lot of niggas checks but I’m the only nigga to check Nike
ASAP ROCKY – AT. LONG. LAST. A$AP
A soulful Smokey Robinson sample is something everyone wants from a Kanye feature. “Jukebox Joints” on the new A$AP Rocky album allows both artists to slowly guide the listener through their inner thoughts. Kanye smoothly flows over the first beat then suddenly with blaring horns backing him, finishes the track with a climatic “Hallelujah.”
TRAVI$ SCOTT – RODEO
The feeling “Piss On Your Grave” gives when it’s played will make anyone feel like a god. From the powerful guitar sample to the rapid snares, neither of the artists really care if you enjoy the song. Like a musical middle finger to the world, the self-proclaimed “Jesus” (Yeezus) of rap and the young punk-hop revolutionary, Travi$ Scott, worked together on the same song to taunt “all the executives” and figuratively urinate on their graves. Accompanied by a video, the film’s expression contained the same amount of anger and aggression.
THE WEEKND – BEAUTY BEHIND THE MADNESS
On the highly anticipated The Weeknd album, “Tell Your Friends” (produced by Kanye West) is one of Weeknd’s most impressive performances. This track contains a cohesive and unique sample from 1976 Soul Dog record “Can’t Stop Loving You.” Kanye’s hidden verse after the second hook is brilliant. Kanye can be heard rapping his heavily autotuned “remix” verse which he released months after the album appeared on his SoundCloud.
THE GAME – THE DOCUMENTARY 2
The long-awaited The Documentary 2, a follow-up to one of the best west coast albums The Documentary, contained a Yeezy feature which helped The Game create one of the most hype tracks on the album.With not a second to rest, this track is a hype-train at full steam, with soul-crushing bars and face crunching punch lines, this track is an anthem for the hood.
J’s on /// Take these mothafuckas off and throw the Ye’s on
VIC MENSA – “U MAD”
Who is better to introduce the newly signed Roc Nation artist Vic Mensa to the limelight than Yeezus? Both artists are able to turn up the hype on top of blaring horns and deep bass. It will be interesting to see the growth of 22-year-old Mensa with mentors like Kanye and Jay-Z under his new contract with Rock-A-Fella-Records.
While we are now entering 2016 without SWISH, Kanye West has not left his fans empty handed. With an album sized number of features and some of the best production of the year, this has been quite a year for Yeezy. Kanye himself could not have predicted he would win “Shoe Of The Year” and his wife birthing a saint in 2015. With all these new things in the Chi-town native’s life, no one knows what to expect from Kanye next. Whether he returns to the dark new age electronic sound he was in during his last album or he follows Kid Cudi’s punk rock style, we will have to wait to see. It might be a while until we hear a new Kanye album, but it will be much worth the wait. For the time being there are many great 2015 features and a few unreleased singles to enjoy!
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