I still remember waking up at 8 AM and racing to the Barnes & Noble (it was closer than best buy) to pick up a copy of Kanye’s Late Registration.
Back then album release dates were concrete things. If they said it was dropping August 30, it would be there waiting on the shelf. Now? Album release dates get pushed like Lupe Fiasco’ skateboard.
For the past...oh, I don’t know...year and some change now, we've all been anticipating the release of Kanye’s follow up to 2013’s Yeezus. Maybe it’s called So Help Me God, maybe it’s called Swish, whatever it's called, it was coming in the year of our lord, 2015 AD.
In an fashion-focused interview with Vanity Fair, Kanye West was asked about the progress of the maybe-titled Swish, an album that, up until this point, I think we all still assumed was on the horizon. That horizon just got real, real far away in a hurry.
Vanity Fair: "I know we’re here to talk about the fashion, but people are just a little bit interested in the album. It could be another year?"
Kanye: I’m not sure. "I’m not worried about the years. I’m worried about the life and the body of work that I can put out while I’m breathing."
Hold up - huh? Wasn’t this album “done”? Wasn’t Theophilus London listening to it on repeat less than two months ago? Hasn't Seth Rogen heard it? Didn't Travis Scott just say the album was coming soon?
"[Kanye] is so ready; he’s coming with some shit soon. His album is crazy. I’m glad that ['Ye] finally broke the code with Yeezus to make God-level music which is ill as fuck, bro. It’s super raunchy." - Travis $cott
But there's nothing "coming soon" about that quote from Kanye. I think the album release date can now best be described as, "Sometime before Kanye dies, hopefully." And to further drive home the point that we shouldn't expect to hear the album anytime soon, when discussing his most recent release, the Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign assisted “Fade,” Kanye said:
"That’s like a sonic landscape, a two-year painting. That song I played has been a year and a half in the making and it may be still a year from being complete. But it was to let people get a glimpse at the painting."
So now it really seems like Swish is destined for a 2016 release, and even that may be an early estimate.
The worst part about this is how frustratingly vague everything is. It’s frustrating to one moment hear from Theophilus London that the album is done and amazing and then the next to find out, though a response in a fashion magazine, that it will come out sometime before Kanye dies.
I understand and respect an artist's right to craft their art, but what I don't understand is why there has to always be this mysterious, cryptic facade around it. If Swish isn’t ready, if Kanye is focused on his second child or fashion and has put the album on the backburner, by all means. I don't want him to rush either, but then just say that. Say, "There's no way it's dropping in 2015, beyond that I really don't know." At the very least then we wouldn't have to falsely get our hopes up. But don’t dance around the question.
Oh well, Yeezus works in mysterious ways. If you need me, I'll be busy crossing Swish off my "most anticipated albums of 2015" list.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]