Kanye Lets the Music Do the Talking
An A-list listening party for West's new album
It might have been a rainy Monday, but with Kanye West on the docket—and his much-anticipated and, until now, rather closely guarded new album, Yeezus, on rotation—no amount of inclement weather could have kept the crowds from Milk Studios last night. Naturally, Milk's loading dock, which served as the venue for the impromptu party, was packed to capacity. And the mood—energized, chaotic, and more than a little buzzed—peaked as West rapped alongside the songs from his forthcoming album.
"If you want to sell music, you have to make better music," said West to the audience. "We've been squashed by the concept of opportunity, because there's over 1,400 billionaires in the world, and seven black billionaires…I'm here as the son of a Black Panther and a son of the first black chair of the English department of Chicago State. I feel like I know who I am now," he continued, concluding his introduction with, "I'll let the music do all the talking; I don't got shit else to say."
And talk it did, with ten tracks, which included a series of Kanye and Daft Punk collaborations, a song the rapper did with Chief Keef and Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) titled "You Can't Handle My Liquor," and a haunting, standout Billie Holiday sampling.
Scott Campbell, Timbaland, Theophilus London, and a bevy of models, including Freja Beha Erichsen, turned out in force, dancing alongside Jay-Z and Beyoncé. The superstar couple set up camp directly to the left of the deejay booth, where Kanye was perched with his friends and producers all night.
"Simply put, West was my slave name. Yeezus is my god name," explained the rapper before launching into a second playing of the moody, darkly political LP. "I'm going to play it back again, so if you all want to hear it again, y'all can stay, and if y'all got shit to do, y'all can do it. Right now." Needless to say, the crowd stayed.
Yeezus comes out June 18 via Island Def Jam.