Four years ago, Ye made the surprise announcement that he would be producing and releasing multiple projects while he worked from his new ranch located in Wyoming. Join YM as we delve into the projects that make up...the "Wyoming Sessions".
Back in April 2018, Ye took to his Twitter account to announce that he'd be releasing his eighth studio album along with the collaboration project KIDS SEE GHOSTS with Kid Cudi in the summer. Alongside this, it was announced that he would be producing the upcoming albums of his labelmates on GOOD Music - Pusha T and Teyana Taylor, in addition to the upcoming album of the legendary artist Nas. Following the release of the first project, the remaining albums would be released on a week-by-week basis.
The recording process surrounding these albums was collectively known as the "Wyoming Sessions" among fans, with Ye creating and producing all of these projects from his ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Interestingly, the majority of the albums released as a part of the sessions are seven tracks long.
The first album to release as a part of the 'Wyoming Sessions' was DAYTONA by Pusha T, which was executive produced by Ye. Initially, the project was titled King Push and was intended to be a follow-up to his second album, which was named King Push - Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude - however, after multiple delays the album was scrapped in favor of Ye taking charge of the production. Push took to Twitter to announce the name change, stating that it "didn't represent the overall message of this body of work".
The album saw controversy prior to its release due to its cover, which is an image of the late, great Whitney Houston's bathroom which featured a large amount of drug paraphernalia. Ye was reported to have paid $85,000 for use of the picture. Houston's ex-husband, Bobby Brown, was reported to have said the cover was in "very bad taste".
DAYTONA was released on May 25th 2018 and receieved widespread acclaim from critics, with many praising the production and Push's lyrical performance. Pitchfork stated the album was "Pusha's best work as a solo artist". The sampling of the project was also highly praised - with ten samples used over seven tracks, DAYTONA is the most sample-dense project out of all of the Wyoming Sessions albums. The project also appeared on various year-end lists in 2017 among other high profile releases. Response from fans was also highly positive, and the album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 with 77,000 album-equivalent sales during its first week of release.
More controversy stemmed from Pusha's lyrics on the track "Infrared", where the artist addressed the ghostwriting rumours surrounding Drake at the time. As a result, multiple disstracks were released by the two artists following the release of the album. While Ye eventually made back up with Ye (resulting in the Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert collaborative effort), Push stated that he "did not want to mend his relationship" with Drake back in late 2019.
The next project to release as a part of the Wyoming Sessions was Ye's self titled eighth studio album.
The project saw various changes prior to being released - initially, it was known as "LOVE EVERYONE" and the themes surrounding the album would revolve around Ye learning to "forgive and stop hating". Following a highly controversial interview with the tabloid TMZ, Ye elected to re-record the entirety of the record, which took him roughly two weeks. Similar to the release process of his last few studio albums, Ye worked to the last minute to get the record finished - the cover for the album was taken and finalized as Ye made his way to the listening party for the album.
ye released on June 1st 2018, with many critics commending the lyrical content and the focus surrounding the artists mental health and inner psyche. You can check out a full rundown of Ye's self titled album by clicking right here.
The third release that makes up the Wyoming Sessions was the long awaited collaborative effort between Ye and Kid Cudi, titled KIDS SEE GHOSTS.
The two artists had worked together numerous times and were close friends, but had fallen out over creative differences. The two artists reconciled while Ye was on his Saint Pablo Tour in late 2016, and recording sessions for the project began shortly after.
The cover art for the project was created by the legendary contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, who had previously worked alongside Ye on the cover art for his third studio album, Graduation.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS released on June 7th 2018. The project underwent technical difficulties when first uploaded to streaming services, with most of the tracks being incorrectly named and ordered - this was fixed sooner after launch. KIDS SEE GHOSTS was a sonic departure from Ye's past work, being a wild fusion of psychedelic, progressive rap and hip-hop. Critics and fans alike praised the chemistry of Ye and Cudi on the project, and commended the themes of mental illness throughout the album - which both artists have had experience with. Rrampt. magazine described the project as a "truly adventurous movement in progressive hip-hop". The album also debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 142,000 album-equivalent units.
The duo made their debut live performance a few months after the release of the project, making an appearance at Tyler, The Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in late 2018. The wild performance had the two artists rapping and singing in a cuboid stage that was suspended in mid air, somewhat similar to the floating stage concept used for Ye's Saint Pablo Tour.
The next Wyoming Sessions release was NASIR by Nas, which was the only project that was not made by a GOOD Music affiliate. NASIR was subject to large amounts of hype prior to its release, with the project being Nas' first release in almost six years. References to Nas' twelfth album being finished began after the release of the track 'Nas Album Done' on DJ Khaled's Major Key - Ye expressed his interest in producing an album for the artist not long after.
Like the past Wyoming Sessions albums, Ye would handle the production of the project and was appointed executive producer. He also had a feature appearance on the track "Cops Shot The Kid".
NASIR released on June 15th 2018. Overall, NASIR received mixed-to-positive reception from both fans and critics. Many praised the politically charged lyricism, tackling of social justice issues and Ye's 'lazer focused production', but many found some of Nas' views on the album to be contradictory and at odds with Ye's own beliefs.
The fifth and final Wyoming Sessions release was K.T.S.E by Teyana Taylor.
K.T.S.E was the only album that made up the Wyoming Sessions that was longer than seven tracks, being eight tracks long. The project also marked Taylors return to music -the project was her first studio album in four years following the decision to step back from music to work on television, following her marriage and birth of her first child.
K.T.S.E was a sonic departure in terms of the projects released as a part of the Wyoming Sessions - while the previous four projects had a very hip-hop heavy production, K.T.S.E was much more low-key with soulful samples and acoustic guitars scattered throughout. Prior to the release of the album, Taylor stated that Ye would be making a return to 'Polo Ye' - meaning that the socially conscious lyrics and soul samples used in his earliest work would be making a reappearance for her project.
K.T.S.E released to streaming services on June 22nd 2018, coinciding with a album listening party that was streamed through Teyana's Twitter page. Immediately after release, Taylor stated that the album had released unfinished, with the track "We Got Love" being excluded from the album due to sample clearance issues. The initial plan was for the album to be updated when the samples had cleared, though this was eventually abandoned. K.T.S.E received highly positive reviews from critics, with many praising Taylor's vocal performances and Ye's ability to fuse old-school R&B with a fresh new sound. Many fans and critics however, were left wanting more music from Teyana with Pitchfork stating that "...the album remains too small a platform for [Teyana's] tremendous vocal talent".
Which album is your favourite from the Wyoming Sessions? Would you like to see Ye do something like this again? Sound off over our social media channels - and for more news on all things YEEZY, be sure to keep it locked to YM.
You can check out all of the Wyoming Sessions albums on Apple Music and Spotify right below.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS