Jackson Hole, Wyoming… the designated spot for Kanye to let us into his world, musically and philosophically. An army of what they call “tastemakers” from radio, to TV, to bloggers, and so on, were all jettisoned to this foreign place, where Kanye has been recording, via private jets. Lots of them, all on his dime. Upon arrival, the cast of young hip hop kids, who’ve never been away from the normal travels, were all aghast. Breathtaking views of snow capped mountain tops, surrounding the private runways had every phone, camera and sketch pad documenting the vibe. Those of us skeptics are quickly starting to think “Ye has done it again”.
A quick check-in and change of clothes and the troops were off, to a ranch outside of the town, where a staff off at least 100, awaited our arrival to make the night a success. The music is why we’ve traveled, hurriedly across the country, but the atmosphere wasn’t missed by any of us.
Upon arrival you hear “is that a cowboy”, in the background. The answer was yes, many of them. Even more noticeable was the audio firepower (that I can only compare to Stonehenge), but everywhere you’d expect rock and granite, there were speaker walls. All circled around a roaring bonfire, and this is where the night would culminate with Yeezy’s music in the air.
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As the crowd started to build, in the barn, there is a bbq buffet, a table of Kanye merchandise (that everyone makes a Hunger Games-esque race toward), and stars among stars, simply in tow for the festivities. Chris Rock, Hollywood/Music heavyweight Scooter Braun, Kim Kardashian West, along with Nas, Fabolous, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Yachty, and Ye’s G.O.O.D Music roster of Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Pusha T, Desiigner, Teyana Taylor, Cy-Hi Da Prince, and Consequence, all spent time with guests, taking photos and chatting up those who were there to take part.
What was more genius was that Kanye invited locals as well, almost as an homage to Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, where he brought middle America to the city. These invites made a clash of culture that was soon respected, as utter strangers were starting to talk, laugh and bond.
Crazy Kanye? Crazy like a fox.
The conversations bounced from “when you say cowboy, you mean this is everyday”, to “people really ski with their guns”? Conversely, they wanted to know about us. The ranch manager, Keith, had a son who was stationed at MacDill AFB, a local by the name of Lee gives me his number and tells me of his sister, who has a pub in South Beach and the chats and the laughs grow.
The whole listening party was introduced by Chris Rock… (WARNING: language may be NSFW)
When the music starts, it begins with “I Thought About Killing You” which mentions Ye’s suicidal thoughts and it’s scary to think Crazy Kanye is about to bring this day to a close. To the contrary, the record started with worry of a Ye meltdown, set to music, but it opened up to a dope song. Then he slams into “No Mistakes” and we start to realize Kanye didn’t take this task lightly. Song after song and replay of most of the songs, the vibe became celebratory.
The new album features Kid Cudi, Ty Dolla $ign, and Nicki Minaj…
As for the cover art for the upcoming release, Kim Kardashian West says it was shot on Yeezy’s phone on the way to the event…
Kanye shot the album cover on his iPhone on the way to the album listening party ????????❤️????????????????— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) June 1, 2018
I found some time to chop it up with a TON of familiar faces…
It was a quick, yet somehow long trip, but the music is amazing and the sights were amazing…
Alright everybody...remember we're real cowboys. We been at this since before sunrise, so ya'll ain't gotta go home, but ya gotta let us go HOME!!!! Thanks @nickifarag @noahsheer and all the moving parts of #projectwyoming. Incredible way to introduce some incredible music. Here my full report Monday but some snips with @orlandoandthefreakshow in the morning
Cheers to Kanye West for a great 24 hours, a strong release for us to ingest on the way back, and for the truckload of Yeezy Boost shoes that met our plane at departure (photo and video below). I can’t predict Grammy nods but I will say that the kid from Chicago did outperform my expectations and since music is the priority we started this journey with, let’s call that a win.