Kanye West has reportedly spent time in Wyoming over the past few months, beginning work on a follow-up to last year's The Life of Pablo, but according to Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels, the label isn't pressuring West to release a new album.
"It’s never something we’re pushing — it’s always led by the creative side," Bartels told Jem Aswad, a senior writer at Variety.
Okay, so the label isn't "pushing" West to release a new LP this year, but are we going to get any new music this year? "You never know," said Bartels. "He’s always working, so maybe so."
As for the reports that West is in full-on creative mode somewhere in the Wyoming wilderness—not Utah, as Variety incorrectly reported—Bartels knows just as much as we do:
"I don’t know if that’s real or not, I read the same things you do. When we talk we don’t really get down to the granular of where he’s going and how he’s flying there, we keep it much more on a broader level. Kanye is working, that’s been widely reported. He’s always very focused, and our relationship with him is that we always have great respect for him and when he’s ready to do something or talk about something, we’re there for him, we totally support his vision and his focus, and that’s where we leave it."
In the meantime, Def Jam has a stacked release calendar, which includes new albums by Vince Staples and 2 Chainz, another Justin Bieber single, and, according to Bartels, "getting [Iggy Azalea] back to a place where she’s hot."
Yeah, good luck with that last one.