Kanye West doesn’t care about radio, people! In anticipation of his sixth album, boldly titled Yeezus and out June 18, the rapper commandeered the stage for a headlining slot at New York City’s Governors Ball Music Festival on June 9, delivering some exciting new music — and, of course, his same old attitude.
”This is the part of the show where I start complaining about s—,” West, who’d spent the previous night celebrating his 36th birthday with pals Jay-Z and Beyoncé, declared in the middle of his set. ”With this album, we ain’t drop no single to radio…,” he explained. ”When I listen to radio, that ain’t where I wanna be no more. But honestly, at this point, I could give a f— about selling a million records as long as I put out an album for the summer that y’all can rock to all motherf—ing summer…. At this point, I don’t really give a f— about outside opinions.” Ya don’t say.
Expletives aside, West (who’s expecting his first child this summer with girlfriend Kim Kardashian) did offer fans a tantalizing taste of the record, performing five new songs including the confrontational “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves” and the emotional ”I Am a God.” Our initial reaction? They might not soundtrack our backyard barbecue, but they’re certainly intriguing. That impression was confirmed one night later, when he debuted more of the album at a (very loud) listening party in New York. Traces of Daft Punk, who worked with West on the album, emerged on a few standout songs; elsewhere, pained screams mingled with industrial beats. (Check out our next issue for the official review.) Yeezus is dark and at times harsh, but it’s definitely never boring. As West proclaimed at the event, ”I have a plan to sell more music. It’s called ‘make better music.’ ” And for that, who needs radio?