Even more than Game of Thrones surprise endings or putting Jordan's crying face on things, nothing sets the internet ablaze like unreleased Kanye West music. Yes, that's because Kanye is both highly famous and deeply controversial, but I think the interest in his music runs much deeper. Being able to compare the blueprints of rough draft Kanye songs to the finished products that make the albums really is the best way to see his genius at work.
Mother of god, I’m freaking out right now. This shit is amazing.
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Even with Zane Lowe blabbering all over it that "Waves" snippet is so dope! And while it's obviously unfinished, the rawness also really makes Chance’s emotional vocals hit that much harder. I almost always crave the CDQ versions of these Kanye sketches, but here I kind of love how dirty it is. (I could use a Zane-less version though.)
And can we talk about how much better the transition into the “Return to Innocence” sample is on this version? I always thought that song would make for a great flip, but I didn’t think Kanye channeled all of its power on the album version. Here though, the way it builds, the drums opening up a seam for Chance to sing over, it works so well. It's easy to over-romanticize what we didn't get compared to what we did, but I can't help but think this iteration of "Waves" would have made for the better album version.
In that same breath though, it’s fascinating to hear Chance say that he hated the "Famous/Nina Chop" beat at first - imagine working with your idol and hating the canvas he gave you to paint on - but then ended up loving the final version. This shows that Kanye sticking to his creative guns really does pay off. Like hearing stories of Dr. Dre working on Compton, it’s powerful to hear artists we hold in such high regard acknowledging a genius that surpasses them. Kanye remains the teacher.
But while the beat may be better, I have to wonder why Chance’s verse didn't make the final version of the song. It does give the song a different, less aggressive vibe, but it's just too impressive to have been left on the cutting room floor. We made such a big deal about “Ultralight Beam” but these two verses definitely give that contribution a run for it’s money.
So yeah, from the subtle differences in the beat to Chance’s awe-inspiring verses to his own awe of Kanye's creative process, this one's definitely Holy Shit You Need To Hear This worthy.