Basically since the release of Yeezus, Kanye West has made a habit of constantly chopping, changing and perfecting his albums to the point where they're almost always delayed, released, re-released and so on.
It happened with The Life of Pablo, it happened with'Ye, and Kanye's next project, for now known as Yandhi, is following the same path.
Here's everything we know so far about the most anticipated album in hip-hop right now, along with a brief timeline of the chaos surrounding its release.
2014 — Yeezus is released
The release of Yeezus, arguably Kanye's loudest, most obnoxious and purposely self-aggrandising work, is important to note here. The album art for Yandhi is almost identical to that of Yeezus, and the album's title shares the same style, leading many to speculate that Yandhi is essentially a follow-up album. In 2015, Rick Rubin, who served as an executive producer for Yeezus, stated that multiple alternative versions of Yeezus existed with many unreleased songs.
August 2017 — Yeezus 2 surfaces on Spotify
In a move that oddly went completely unreported until a couple of months later, rapper CyHi the Prynce, who's signed to Kanye's label GOOD Music, uploaded a selection of six inaccessible Kanye tracks onto a playlist. Each song was credited to the album Yeezus 2, all but confirming that.
Early 2018 — Kanye re-emerges into the public
After a period of radio silence following the release of Kanye's seventh studio album The Life of Pablo, Kanye rather loudly made his public presence known once again in the early stages of 2018, seemingly undergoing a rather incredible, gradual public break down as he did so. His behaviour over the early stages of 2018 was nothing short of shocking for even the most seasoned Kanye fans, during which he most notably took a serious interest in politics and declared his fervent support for president Donald Trump.
As the year wore on, it was reported that Kanye had relocated temporarily to the remote mountainous state of Wyoming to record a number of albums for both himself and a number of artists close to him. From this came what's now known as the Wyoming Sessions albums, including critically acclaimed projects like Kids See Ghosts and Pusha T's Daytona, alongside Kanye's first solo album in two years, Ye. Ye emerged as a short, intense deep-dive into Kanye's mental state, answering many questions about the inner workings of a creative mind while raising even more mystery surrounding the enigma.
September 2018 — Yandhi is announced
In an incredible turn considering the amount of time that normally spans between the release of Kanye West albums, it took less than three months from Ye's release for Kanye to announce that his next studio project was on the way.
'Ye initially shared snippets of songs from the upcoming album, which at the time he dubbed Yandhi, on his Instagram, and gave the album a release date of September 29.
He later revealed the album had been recorded in his hometown of Chicago, a place where he'd been spending a lot more time lately after years living in LA.
October 2018 — The First Delay
September 29 came and went, and lo and behold, Yandhi failed to materialise online. Word from 'Ye finally came on October 2, when he announced that he was relocating to a studio in Uganda to rework and finish off the album. “I felt this energy when I was in Chicago,” Kanye noted in an interview with TMZ, “I felt the roots. But we have to go what is known as Africa.”
Shortly after, Kanye's wife Kim Kardashian took to Twitter to announce a new release date for the album. "Nov 23 Black Friday YANDHI," she wrote, "TRUST ME it is worth the wait."
November 2018 — "Kids See Album Delays"
Was the quote from a Redditor upon last week's news that Kanye had decided to put off the album's Black Friday release once more, with an alternative date yet to be announced.
The decision was apparently prompted by the performance he gave with Kid Cudi (under their joint moniker of Kids See Ghosts) at Tyler the Creator's Camp Flog Knaw festival.
"It felt so good being on the stage last night with my brother Cudi," he wrote on Twitter. "After performing again, I realize the new album I’ve been working on isn’t ready yet. I’ll announce the release date once it’s done. Thank you for understanding."
Early-Mid 2019 — Sunday Service
2019 went on to become one of Kanye's most musically active in his career, however so far it's also been defined by a lack of any new music following the release of Ye. Instead, disillusioned with the response to his politically active 2018, he turned to religion, using his experience of delving deeper into Christianity by curating a series of small, gospel-inspired concerts.
The recordings and experimentations from these Sunday Services, which also featured artists like Chance the Rapper, led many to speculate that he was using the concerts as a way to experiment with new sounds. This eventually culimated in "Water", a track made with Ant Clemens and Ty Dolla $ign.
August 2019 — Jesus Is King
After months of rampant speculation and leaked tracks courtesy of a source close to producer Timbaland (who worked on a track for Kanye), people who had paid for the tracks had become convinced that, finally, these were the tracks that would go on to become Yandhi.
So, When Is Yandhi Dropping?
Unfortunately, as of yet, no one knows if Yandhi, as a project, still exists. Assuming that Kanye's trip to Uganda hasn't been a complete waste of air miles, we can speculate that a release date for Yandhi might eventually be announced, however it's all too possible that the project was scrapped, with Jesus Is King instead absorbing the projects originally intended for Yandhi.
Who will appear on the Yandhi tracklist?
Thankfully, what we do know so far is that a number of prominent features are lined up for the album.
Kanye's fellow Chicago native Chance the Rapper will notably appear on the album following months of political debate between the two, while it also seems that in keeping with Kanye tradition, all the hottest artists in the respective fields of modern hip-hop and RnB will feature in some way or another.
Ty Dolla Sign, 6ix9ine, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Young Thug, Teyana Taylor, Lauryn Hill, Migos, and Nicki Minaj will all feature, while posthumous vocals from XXXTentacion will also be included.