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A Timeline Of Everything Leading Up To Kanye’s ‘SWISH’

Ralph Bristout

 // Jan 12, 2016

UPDATE: Kanye's The Life Of Pablo (no long SWISH and Waves) is available now on TIDAL and KanyeWest.com.

As the fast approaching winds leaves the glass shards of Yeezus dangling in the dust, Yeezy season is quickly approaching and Kanye West (finally) appears ready to awaken the storm.

With a couple false starts behind him, Kanye is now set on a February 11 release for SWISH, his seventh studio album.

So just as anticipation soars, alongside the "Real Friends" play count, we put together a timeline of everything leading up to 'Ye's much-talked about album ever.

Yeezus Era

Kanye West Premieres #NewSlaves Revolt TV
Revolt TV

June 18, 2013: Kanye officially releases his most off the wall album yet, Yeezus.

June 27, 2013: Weeks removed from Ye's polarized album drop, the album's executive producer, Rick Rubin, tells The Daily Beast that there's more Yeezus-like material in the stash. "Initially, he thought there were going to be 16 songs on the album," Rubin shared. "But that first day, before he even asked me to work on it, I said, 'Maybe you should make it more concise. Maybe this is two albums. Maybe this is just the first half," to which Kanye excitedly said, "That's what I came here today to hear! It could be 10 songs!" The decorated producer also hinted that there "might be" a sequel of sorts in the pipeline.

August 2013: New York Post's Page Six reports on ‘Ye and Miley Cyrus's hitting the studio for a rumored remix to "Black Skinhead." The tip was later confirmed by producer Mike WiLL Made It, who would later confirm that he, Cyrus, and West worked on the record following the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. “It’s about done, we’re just touching the beat up a little bit,” he dished to MTV’s RapFix Live. “It’s sounding crazy.” Since then, no recordings from the session have since surfaced.

October 2013: Played during several stops of the Yeezus Tour, snippets of a mysterious song called "I Am Not Here" make its round online.

November 2013: Talking to radio hosts of Philadelphia’s Power 99, Kanye reveals a summer 2014 rollout for his next album. Speaking on the follow-up album to Yeezus, West said, "I haven't named my next album, but I have started on it. I always write down philosophies all the time, so I'll just have some thoughts and every time I think of it I write, and I'm just collecting beats, I'm just constantly working. I'd like to put out more product, I'd like have another album out by next summer.”

Kanye West Interview at The Breakfast Club Power 105.1 (FULL)
The Breakfast Club

As if that was enough fuel to rev up 'Ye fans, the G.O.O.D. Music maestro would later disclose more details about the new album in a now legendary sit-down interview with The Breakfast Club. “Bruce Springsteen dropped this album called Nebraska and right after that he did Born in the U.S.A.,” he said. “This next one, I have a feeling, because of what we did right now [with Yeezus] has to be Born in the U.S.A..”

December 4, 2013: During a talk with architect Jacques Herzog for one of the many Art Basel-related events in Miami, Kanye provides some brief insight into the new LP. “I think my next album is going to be eight songs,” West shared. “It’s just reducing down the amount of information that you need.” Days before the “Power” rapper’s Art Basel appearance, fellow G.O.O.D. Music star Q-Tip announces plans to executive produce the Yeezus follow-up with Rick Rubin.

April 1, 2014: West pushes back his planned Yeezus Tour in Australia to “finish his highly anticipated new studio album, scheduled for a 2014 release.” The announcement came via a statement from LiveNation. “Kanye West regretfully announces the postponement of his upcoming tour dates in Australia.”

April - June 2014: “He wants something that sounds a bit like Otis Redding, a bit like Mobb Deep,” revealed Josh Leary, better known as Evian Christ, the young producer behind the Yeezus standout “I’m In It,” in an interview with Self-Titled. Weeks later, an anonymous source would tell Billboard that the new LP features 12 songs and out of the six heard were “mostly a mixture of soul samples and tamed Yeezus-esque darkness… nothing abrasive.”

The first taste of this new sound came in “God Level,” West’s brand new track that earned a placement in an Adidas FIFA World Cup commercial for its All In Or Nothing” campaign. Rumors of a Yeezus sequel begin to flare. In an interview with NME, Rick Rubin confirms plans to start “looking at vocal ideas for things for the next album."

YAE AND VIRGIL PRIVATE SET LASTNIGHT. NEW YEEZY JOINTS SOUNDING CRAZY. #luxuryexcellence #yeezy #kanyewest #turnt

A photo posted by Brandon Sales (@brandonsales) on

July 6, 2014: Word breaks out that 'Ye previewed new music for a lucky crowd at London’s Café Royal Hotel following his second Wireless Festival performance. With his pal Virgil Abloh in tow, Ye spun about 20 records that were described by fans as “dark,” hellish,” and “groundbreaking.”

July 18, 2014: "His whole crew is out there recording," a source exclusively tells E! News regarding Kanye hitting Mexico with family and friends. "His whole music studio was shipped out. It's been amazing."

July 21, 2014: In his GQ cover story, West speaks on the anticipated album and its single “All Day.” Dishing on his plans for the song’s release, he says, “I hope I can get one of these songs out in the next couple of weeks, just to have something up and running. But I think most likely September. I go back and forth. Like, should it be September or should it be October? Should it be November?”

August 2014: Page Six stirs up the post-Yeezus pool of speculation once again, this time reporting that Kanye and Sir Paul McCartney are working on new music together. The outlet also notes that a song called “Piss On Your Grave” is a product of the Yeezy-Macca duo’s studio sessions. A brief snippet of the track later hits online.

Kanye West - Awesome
Dan Braun

September 1, 2014: West’s previously teased track “Awesome” makes its way in full CDQ glory for the Keeping Up With the Kardashians wedding special.

September 25, 2014: Theophilus London reports that Ye previewed his new album yet again. But after the internet berserk, Theo would later announce the following:

October 2014: G.O.O.D. Music’s Malik Yusef tells Rolling Stone the rapper has “20 finished songs” for the new album. When asked to describe its sound, the musician says "The album is different. It’s like a pair of Timberlands; like how Timberlands are not quite leather and not quite suede. It’s not the smooth, slick Chicago music sound we have right now and it’s not the ruggedness of just ‘hip-hop hip-hop hip-hop.’”

Yeezy SZN Era

Kanye West - Only One ft. Paul McCartney
KanyeWestVEVO

January 1, 2015: Over delicate piano chords, the spirit of Donda West and Paul McCartney's golden touch collide for an earnest ballad called "Only One." “My mom was singing to me and through me to my daughter,” West reveals in a statement for the song, while also noting the name “Kanye” translates to “only one” in Swahili.

A month after its release, Rick Rubin, who mixed the song just hours before its New Years premiere, commented on its recording for Genius. "The song is essentially live, written in the moment," he shared. "Some of the words were later improved, but most of it was stream of consciousness, just Kanye being in the moment."

January 8, 2015: Kanye and wife Kim Kardashian are spotted leaving Def Jam’s New York office after reportedly playing new album for the staff.

Rihanna And Kanye West And Paul McCartney - FourFiveSeconds
RihannaVEVO

January 24, 2015: Weeks after “Only One,” Kanye and McCartney join forces again, only this time with Rihanna for the all-star acoustic single, “FourFiveSeconds.” The trio would join forces for a live rendition of the record at the 57th annual Grammy Awards.

Promos | Kanye West and Big Sean in the studio making "Blessings"
Kanye West and Big Sean in the studio making "Blessings"

January 29, 2015: Kanye joins Big Sean and Drake for Dark Sky Paradise's “Blessings.”

Video Premiere | Kanye West: "Wolves"
New Release (02.12.15)

February 12, 2015: At the Yeezy Season 1 fashion show for Adidas in New York City, Ye debuts the brooding “Wolves,” which features vocals from Sia and Vic Mensa. Produced by Cashmere Cat, the icy track is revealed to be “Track #1” on West’s new album. West, Sia, and Mensa would later perform the "Wolves" on Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special.

Breakfast Club | Kanye West Opens Up
The Breakfast Club

February 20, 2015: After their legendary interview in 2013, West returns to The Breakfast Club and for another gem-filled sit-down. Besides talks of a supposed joint album with Drake called Wolves, 'Ye reveals his Yeezus follow-up will be “cookout music.” Adding details, he says, “[The album has] Bars, songs, cookout music that just feels good... My last album was a protest to music, I was like ‘I’m gonna take my ball and go home’… This album is embracing the music, joy. Being of service to the people. I just hope people like it and enjoy it.”

Insider Access | Kanye West at The BRIT Awards 2015
The BRIT Awards (02.25.15)

February 25, 2015: Kanye West premieres the single "All Day" at the annual BRIT Awards in London. A few days later, the CDQ version arrives on iTunes while Kanye eventually reveals the album title, So Help Me God (or so we thought).

SWISH Era

May 3, 2015: Kanye announces new album title, SWISH.

July 1, 2015: Q-Tip gives Billboard an update on his executive producer role on Ye’s new album. “Rick and I were gonna do the record, and Kanye went through different phases musically, so we’ve yet to reconnect on his project,” he said. “It’s not like he scrapped any of it, that’s a rumor.”

July 26, 2015: After enlisting the duties of director Steve McQueen for the music videos of ”All Day,” and the unreleased ”I Feel Like That,” the 9-minute visual makes its debut for U.S audiences during a four-day showing at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Originally premiered during Ye’s 4-night Paris residency at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, low quality clips from the since scrapped video makes its way online.

The Weeknd - Tell Your Friends
TheWeekndVEVO

August 29, 2015: The Weeknd drops Beauty Behind the Madness featuring a song originally intended for SWISH, “Tell Your Friends.”

August 30, 2015: While accepting the VMA Vanguard Award at the MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye seemingly launches the #Kanye2020 presidential campaign.

Insider Access | Yeezy Season 2 NYFW
Revolt News (09.17.15)

September 16, 2015: Just like he did earlier in the year, Kanye’s YEEZY Season 2 show features a brand new track called “Fade,” featuring Ty$ and Post Malone.

September 24, 2015: West sits with Vanity Fair to discuss his aforementioned Fashion Week show and hints that the new album may arrive later than expected. “I’m not worried about the years,” he tells the outlet. “I’m worried about the life and the body of work that I can put out while I’m breathing.”

October 19, 2015: Kanye launches SoundCloud account with two new tracks, including a remake of 808s & Heartbreak’s “Say You Will” with Caroline Shaw and an auto-tuned take on The Weeknd’s “Tell Your Friends.”

October 2015: Kanye revives 808’s & Heartbreak for short tour that hits Chicago and Los Angeles.

November 5, 2015: In an interview with Big Boy’s morning show, Kanye talked about the progress of SWISH. “I keep working to find the language I want to say on my album. I'm in the lab every night," 'Ye explained. “It sounds good. It's like a sonic painting. It gets better and better every week."

December 2, 2015: G.O.O.D. Music newly appointed el presidente Pusha T tells Rolling Stone that fans will be “in for a treat” with SWISH. “I haven’t worked on it at all, but everything I’ve heard is phenomenal and it has nothing to do with any of the other records that were released before,” says Push. “That’s all I can really say about it. He’s super meticulous about the messaging about his album but you guys are in for a treat.”

December 5, 2015: Kanye and Kim Kardashian welcome their newborn son, Saint West, into the world.

December 7, 2015: Plays new album for Lamar Odom, who was hospitalized after being found unresponsive in a Nevada brothel, during a Thanksgiving visit. “We did visit Lamar today and we played him his new album,” said Kim in a video released via TeamKanyeDaily.

December 12, 2015: Ye gives an update on his new LP.

January 1, 2016: A year after starting 2015 with “Only One,” Kanye opens up the new year with the Metro Boomin and Southside produced track, “Facts.”

January 8, 2016: Following mixed reviews for “Facts,” Kim hints at a G.O.O.D. Fridays return as Ye drops “New Friends” featuring Ty$ along with a snippet of the Madlib-produced “No Parties In L.A.” Later, the G.O.O.D. leader announces the news of all news:

Yeezy SZN 3 Era

January 26, 2016: Just as the countdown winds down for his new LP, Kanye tosses out a curveball when he reveals SWISH is now Waves.

January 27, 2016: Following the announcement, Wiz Khalifa expresses his feelings about Kanye's title switch, which he believes encroaches on Max B's popular catchphrase.

The two would later engage in a Twitter back-and-forth after Kanye misinterpreted a reference for Wiz's signature "Khalifa Kush" as a dis toward his wife, Kim Kardashian.

The two would eventually end the Twitter spat.

February 1, 2016: The weird rollout continues as Kim K announces a poll on Twitter for fans to choose an appropriate title for Ye's new album.

February 4, 2016: In an interview with Big Boy on Real 92.3 , Kanye confirmed the untitled status of his new album, despite announcing Waves a few days back. “I wanted to get people’s opinion on how they felt,” he shared about the poll his wife conducted on Twitter. "What I’ve really come to realize about being a celebrity or a musician or someone that’s on the other side of the Internet or other side of the T.V. is that everybody is our family… and so we are everyone’s family. So I feel like what’s really cool about when people can tweet or comment or chime in or say the vibrations they felt about something is that we can have this continuous conversation."

February 9, 2016 Just days ahead of its release, Kanye reveals his forthcoming album will be titled T.L.O.P. Later it would be revealed that the title stands for The Life Of Pablo.

February 11, 2016: As one of the biggest power moves in music this year, Kanye shuts down NYC's Madison Square Garden to premiere The Life Of Pablo and his latest Yeezy Season collection. The album, initially expected to arrive after the show, gets pushed back due to mixing and mastering.

February 13, 2016: After dropping "30 Hours" and blaming Chance the Rapper for the album delay, Kanye performs at Saturday Night Live, where he subsequently drops The Life Of Pablo on TIDAL and KanyeWest.com

Performance | Kanye West Performs "Ultra Lights Beams" On 'SNL'
Revolt
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