At this point, the anticipation for the release of Kanye West’s seventh studio album The Life of Pablo has reached insurmountable heights. After dropping a few singles, teasing the track list and changing the album name THREE times we are still no closer to a solid release date (maybe today?). But thanks to Yeezy Season 3 aka 20,000 person listening party at Madison Square Garden, we had the chance to finally listen to the much anticipated project (sans 8 additional songs that will be on the final release). If I wasn’t excited enough about the album before, I surely am now. With features from Rihanna, The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Young Thug, Kirk Franklin, Chance the Rapper and many more, TLOP is destined to be a banger if not a classic. To quote Kanye himself, “This is a gospel album” and I’m ready to go to church.
2. Chance’s verse on “Ultra Light Beams”
As a Chicago-bred Kanye fan, this show was definitely a proud moment for me. It was truly inspiring to see some of Kanye’s dreams realized. But perhaps my greatest “proud Chicagoan” moment was hearing fellow Chicago artist Chance the Rapper spit the most flawless verse of 2016 on the intro track “Ultra Light Beams”.
3. Naomi Campbell
It really wasn’t fair when Naomi Campbell showed up on the platform with the fur and singlehandedly slayed all 1200 models in proximity. I feel like we all had a collective “Yaaaaaasssss bitch” moment. Here’s photographic evidence:
4. Confirmation that Frank Ocean is indeed alive and capable of still making music (even if it isn’t his own)
Well look who came out of hiding! Not only was he in attendance of Thursday’s event, but we were also surprised to hear him on the revamped version of “Wolves”. You know what this means…Frank Ocean has physically been in the studio. There is hope at last.
5. Watching Kanye get hyped off of his own music
The gif says it all. What’s greater than watching Kanye get excited about…well, Kanye?
6. New Young Thug
Towards the end of the show, Thugger decided to connect his phone to the AUX cord and bless us all with a new track. I have no idea what it’s called (or what he’s saying for that matter) but it’s a certified banger. Did we expect anything less?
7. Because aesthetics
The presentation of the show was actually inspired by an image of a Rwandan refugee camp housing Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide, taken by Paul Lowe in 1995 just a day after a massacre (top image). The draped tarps, weathered clothing and crowded pits of people are not just for the sake of art but mirror a sombre moment in world history.
8. The diversity of the models
Yeezy Season 3 featured about 1200 models, primarily black, with a variety of different heights, shapes, shades, etc. This was quite a feat for NYFW, and definitely a more realistic consumption of beauty and diversity.
9. Kanye’s personal interjections
Throughout the show, Kanye of course offers some narrative on his many inspirations and ideas. However my personal favorite monologues were the ones of a more off-color nature, such as egging on the crowd’s “Fuck Nike” chant and then going on to say how people came to MSG to watch him play “one on no one” (no shade to Michael Jordan though). I was also thoroughly entertained by him thanking fashion darling and former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld, for being a “real bitch”. Oh, Kanye.
10. The last 8 minutes
After standing for a whopping 90 minutes in heels, you could tell that some of Kanye’s models were getting tied, not tired but tied. Often, you would see some of them sit down and take breaks from standing throughout the show. When Kanye finally leaves for backstage and hands over the DJ reigns to his righthand man Virgil Abloh, the scene transforms into a full-blown party. As Young Thug’s “Danny Glover” blares over the speakers, some of the models begin to form a mosh pit and start dancing with wild abandon. It’s actually really fun to watch them let loose and relax after what probably felt like an eternity of standing. A few maintain their stoic dispositions while the models in the pit go absolutely ham, but this soon changes as Rihanna’s “Work” comes on and then everyone is left winding and singing along to the infectious track. This was one of my favorite moments of the entire show because I just loved seeing so many young people uninhibited, genuinely enjoying themselves and the experience.
Click here to watch Yeezy Season 3 and see for yourself.