Kanye West’s sixth studio album has leaked online, four days ahead of its scheduled release date of June 18.
The Huffington Post is claiming it has authenticated the version circulating today (June 14), having cross-checked it against what was played at an official listening party attended by select media and notables on Monday (June 10).
The physical manifestation of the modestly titled Yeezus was revealed by West via his Twitter account on June 1. It features no album art, presenting the CD in nothing but a clear plastic case with a parental advisory warning on the front and white liner notes on the back.
The minimalist packaging matches the album’s pared-down sound. As discussed in a recent Q&A with the New York Times, that’s all likely thanks to the influence of Rick Ruben, with whom West worked closely on the production of Yeezus.
West’s last record, 2011’s mega-collaboration with mentor Jay-Z titled Watch the Throne, was widely reported as one of the only high-profile albums in recent years to totally avoid an Internet leak.
The Roc-A-Fella rappers went to great lengths to keep The Throne close to their chests. In August 2011, Billboard.com detailed how the album was created in “an Internet-free recording space”, that a ban was imposed on the email transfer of unreleased material, and that journalists were forbidden from posting tweets from listening parties.
“Tracks were saved directly to password-protected external hard drives that remained locked in Goldstein's Pelican briefcase,” Billboard reported. “At no point during the album's creation did works-in-progress reside on laptop hard drives.”
The Throne was also released exclusively through iTunes and Best Buy, a move that, while frustrating independent music retailers, significantly cut down on the risks of leaks along the supply chain.
West again went to great lengths to prevent an unscheduled release. According to a BuzzFeed post titled “8 Reasons You Won’t Hear "Yeezus" Early”, the same measures that kept The Throne safe were deployed for the new record.
To no avail. Apparently, not even an ego as formidable as that of a man who calls himself "Yeezus" is powerful enough to stop the Internet.
Here’s the Yeezus track list:
- On Sight (Produced by Daft Punk) [Malik Yusef, Rhymefest]
- Black Skinhead (Produced by Daft Punk) [CyHi The Prynce, Lupe Fiasco, Malik Yusef]
- I Am A God (Featuring God) (Produced by Daft Punk) [Hudson Mohawke, Justin Vernon, Malik Yusef, Rhymefest]
- New Slaves (Featuring Frank Ocean) (Malik Yusef, Rhymefest)
- Hold My Liquor (Feat. Chief Keef & Justin Vernon) [Alejandro Ghersi, Malik Yusef, Rhymefest]
- I’m In It (Feat. Travis Scott) [Justin Vernon, Malik Yusef]
- Blood On The Leaves [Hudson Mohawke, Tony Williams]
- Guilt Trip (Feat. Kid Cudi) (Produced by S1)
- Send It Up (Feat. King L) [Alejandro Ghersi, Daft Punk, Gesaffelstein]
- Bound 2 (Feat. Charlie Wilson) [John Legend]