Kanye West’s Crusty “All Day” Leak is Art

Unauthorized, hand-recorded leaks may be the only rebel streak in music promotion left.

August 13, 2014

A draft of Kanye West's "All Day" leaked yesterday in the form of a crunchy handheld recording from another speaker source. Through the fuzz burst a quick-spit scripture of stunt, you a actor you should be on Broadway nigga/ cause you do shit the broad way, nigga/ ya bitch got a ass but my broad way thicker, over snares that felt plucked from Dynasty-era boards—when Ye teased the record in his GQ cover story he said it sounded like something Jay would make, "but Jay's not on there."

These kind of leaks always feel extra dirty, and some opt out of listening to them altogether in lieu of the final product. But our rabid, link-hungry interweb seems to will them into existence: Nicki's "Anaconda" met the same fate after she got everyone with two eyes talking about her artwork. It's almost if, by creating major hype and demand ahead of singles, big names are hemorrhaging their own rollouts, dipping chum into shark-infested waters. Compare this to the now-textbook Beyoncé surprise album drop, or Bobby Shmurda's "Hot Nigga" remix loading up like a Spirit Bomb, with shrapnel chipping off every day—an Instagram video here, a snippet of a verse there.

Every artist worth their billing is looking for new ways to make you listen, and Ye has a fairly solid record recently: plugging "God Level" in an Adidas commercial, projecting "New Slaves" onto pricey real-estate, embedding "I Am A God" under raw studio footage on his website. If "All Day" leaked by accident, Ye needs to print that "No Cellphones" sign in a larger font. But then again, these grainy leaks are kind of the equivalent of an obscure Grateful Dead concert cassette dub, or a snapchat: crude, raw, and fleeting, scattered across shadowy links and YouTube channels, scrubbed from the web as quickly as it can be uploaded again. In a way, it could be the promotional tactic most opposite radio, clean of corporate sheen and label gift-wrapping, one that might make sense coming from someone obsessed with cracking the pavement.

Kanye West’s Crusty “All Day” Leak is Art