February 12, 2016


11 Takeaways From Our Trip to Kanye West's 'The Life of Pablo'/Yeezy Season 3 Show

Brian Gove/WireImage
Brian Gove/WireImage

Fuse was in the house on Thursday as Kanye West unveiled his Yeezy Season 3 fashion line with Adidas and simultaneously premiered his seventh album, The Life of Pablo. Here's what we came away with.

1. If you didn't get the memo yet, Kanye's skills as a designer are ferocious. The new line is gorgeous and inventive as hell. When the arena-floor-sized sheet got pulled back at the beginning to reveal something like 1,000 models underneath, it was staggering

2. We're not sure The Life of Pablo is actually finished. The album started and ended the way the tracklist said, and mostly seemed to flow as advertised, but "Fade" didn't get played till after the record finished, despite being placed No. 7 on the tracklist. Fingers crossed so hard that this doesn't mean Kanye is going to keep tinkering with this thing to the point of a delay. It's easy to imagine, considering that he's now seen an arena's reaction to it...

3. Frank Ocean's voice is the last thing on the album. Frank lives! He was THERE! Album-closer "Wolves" has been floating around since Kanye soundtracked his Yeezy Season 1 fashion show with it about a year ago, but it seems to have lost the Vic Mensa and Sia features in favor of a Frank finale. Also, the previously vibe-heavy, verses-averse cut now has a serious Kanye verse. And it references both Nori and little nine-week-old baby Saint.

4. Kanye is an aux-cord DJ just like you and me. He came out, headed straight to the soundboard, opened a laptop and got to it. In the encore, for lack of a better word, he tried playing A$AP Rocky's new "Yamborghini High" and ended up cursing out Soundcloud. Across the night we heard a small handful of those ear-grating blasts that happen when someone screws up 

5. Chance the Rapper's meteoric rise is still meteor-ing. "Ultra Light Beams," the first song on The Life of Pablo is a maximalist, gospel-heavy, melodic, AutoTuned symphony—and Chance the Rapper shows up about two minutes in for a full-on verse, one that riffs on Kanye's "I made 'Jesus Walks,' I'm never goin' to hell" line off Watch the Throne. Good time to remember that Chance is still an unsigned rapper (and the first completely independent artist to have played SNL).

6. 'Ye's famous friends have not forsaken him after that (hopefully sarcastic?!?!) Bill Cosby–supporting tweet. G.O.O.D Music president Pusha T was right by his side; Anna Wintour, 2 Chainz, A$AP Rocky, Melanie Griffith, Caitlyn Jenner and (obviously) all the Kardashians were in the house as well. Naomi Campbell was one of the models.

7. We want to play the Only One: The Game. Donda West rides a Pegasus—then gets her own wings. The graphics look like a combination of old-school and modern art.

8. Kanye got super frustrated about something at the very end. As The Life of Pablo wrapped with "Wolves," Kanye ran from the soundboard, waving his arms, grabbing minions and pointing to the stage in apparent anguish. This is the guy who would stop songs during the Yeezus Tour and Watch the Throne Tour to give directions to the lighting people, so you know he had some vision that didn't get executed right.

9. New York City crowds will forever be too cool to really have fun. On the whole. This is a fact. When you're in the house to hear Kanye West's longest-awaited album ever, for the first time, with almost 20,000 other fans, you turn the hell up. You don't stand with your arms crossed immobile for an hour-plus. Unless you're in New York! Twitter's not gonna watch itself! Ugh.

10. There are different versions of "FACTS" and "All Day" out there. "FACTS" was just an interestingly tweaked beat; "All Day" was a crazy rework with new lyrics—and some unfinished-sounding ad-libs and placeholder grunts—and even bigger production. There's a line about "eatin' pretzels at the Barclays Center."

11. And Young Thug and Vic Mensa have really dope songs on the way. They each grabbed the aux cord at the end to debut new material. Thug is also featured on "Highlights" and will visit Saturday Night Live with Kanye this weekend, on Feb. 13.

For more, read Fuse's Complete Guide to Kanye West's The Life of Pablo.