Kanye West’s new album may arrive sooner than we expect.
Yeezus made a surprise appearance at the iHeartRadio Theatre in California during the iHeartMedia Music Summit on Wednesday and played some new music.
Before he dropped the track, he went on a more pleasant ‘stream of consciousness’ about past his innovations and wanting to be embraced by radio.
A theme of his talk, which was a bit stream-of-consciousness and included a lot of joking around, was innovation — what he called his “responsibility to innovate” and not repeat what he’d done before. He spoke of bringing in soul beats on his early records at a time when gangsta rap was prevalent, and the dichotomy of being signed to Roc-a-Fella and wearing a backpack in 2004. Because he was addressing radio programmers, he spoke at length about how he’d brought unlikely songs and topics to urban radio with “Jesus Walks” and “Through the Wire” from his first album, and then later in his career discovered Daft Punk and EDM and brought those influences into his music with “Stronger” and again with808s and Heartbreak and how he hears that album’s influence on a lot of urban radio today, even though it wasn’t his biggest-selling album.
“This little talk I’m giving is going good so far,” he said at one point, “so I have to risk being Kanye” — meaning he’d have to mess it up.
He also doubled back on a statement he made onstage at Governors Ball in 2013: that he didn’t want to be on the radio. “I was joking!” he laughed. “Of course I want to be on the radio!” He said “Black Skinhead” was another innovative record that he wished radio had embraced, and sang some of it a cappella.
He ended his appearance by playing a bit of a song he recorded with Rihanna that “featured acoustic guitar and a big, soaring chorus and melody with a massive hook” before walking offstage to a standing ovation.
We wonder if it was the same Kanye x Rihanna x Paul McCartney x Ty Dolla Sign collaboration we heard about earlier this year…? Only time will tell.