Kanye’s First Raps for “Pablo” Were Flushed Away: A Brief History of Destroyed Music

By | Posted April 19, 2016
Kanye had a phone worth of raps flushed down a toilet but he's far from alone. Hip-hop history has seen a staggering amount of music destroyed.
2016-04-19-kanye-west-lost-raps-history

Apparently Kocktails With Khloe is a thing that exists and apparently I need to start having enough cocktails to stomach watching it, at least when Kanye West is on, because the occasional gem ends up being dropped.

In case you're not able to make it through the actual clip, I'll save you the trouble. Kanye's daughter North flushed his phone down the toilet and he lost his initial raps for The Life of Pablo. If only he had turned on his iCloud back up, just imagine how many bleached asshole lyrics were lost that day. Humanity weeps.

Of course, this isn't the first time that Kanye's had his art deleted via digital mishap. There was also the time he had his laptop stolen, which was rumored to have contained more than an album's worth of music, but I suspect was actually the sex laptop he couldn't stop rapping about on Pablo.  

And recent hip-hop history's filled with other stories of artists who have seen some of their life's work deleted. Ryan Leslie had his laptop stolen and considered the music on there so valuable he offered a $1 million award for its return. Back when rappers using Blackberrys was still a thing Drake lost a phone full of raps in Cabo in the lead up to So Far Gone and Southside, the producer responsible for a boatload of Future and Waka hits, had a laptop full of beats stolen and then auctioned off on social media and one of the greatest albums of all-time had to be re-written from scratch. 

It may be tempting to think of being able to so easily have hours of work so easily erased as a modern phenomenon, but of course physical objects can easily be destroyed as well. Legendary Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry recently watched his studio burn down, taking a career's worth of music and memorabilia with it, the studio where "Rapper's Delight" was recorded also burned down along with original recordings and perhaps most interestingly, a flood in RZA's basement ruined entire Wu-Tang albums, causing Inspectah Deck's album to be delayed for years and resulting in a much more gritty and stripped down Tical album from Method Man after RZA had to remake it from scratch. 

And outside of music, Pixar once accidentally deleted Toy Story 2 during production, classic rock band The Who recorded an entire album that vanished and one of my literary heroes, Jack Kerouac, lost his The Sea is My Brother novel, which wasn't recovered until long after his death. And I've personally sat in studios while producers and engineers had small nervous breakdowns because of a ProTools crash, not to mention all the articles over the years I've accidentally trashed thanks to an errant mouse click. 

The music we hear is only a fraction of a fraction of our hero's creative output, and we're only a cruel turn of fate - a child throwing a phone in a toilet, a fire accidentally set - from having them vanish forever. Just Blaze has entire eras of unheard hip-hop history sitting on hard drives, a burst water pipe could wipe it all away. Similarly, Ali had the files that became untitled unmastered. on a hard drive, one accident and there goes that entire album. We're all subject to the whims of fate, even the greatest artists of all-time. 

By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.

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