So much happens in Kanye West’s world that it’s shocking to remember that Ye, the rapper’s eighth studio album, was only released last summer. It may seem like a lifetime ago chiefly because, since then, Kanye has been at the center of multiple headlines involving everything from beefing with Drake to starting up his Sunday Service performances. As we wait on the arrival of Jesus Is King on Friday, check out a timeline of everything he’s been up to since his last project.
June 9, 2018: Family Feud appearance
Yep, this happened. One day after releasing Kids See Ghosts with Kid Cudi, Kanye appeared alongside wife Kim on Family Feud. His team, which also included three of his cousins, faced off against a Kardashian-Jenner side featuring mom Kris, Khloe, and Kendall.
June 28, 2018: Kanye says he wants to release 52 albums in 52 weeks
Speaking on New York Times’s Popcast, writer Jon Caramanica revealed that Kanye told him that he wanted to release one album a week for a whole year. This spree has yet to materialize, though reports at the time suggested he was working on projects with both Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino.
August 10, 2018: A pointed Trump question stumps Kanye on Jimmy Kimmel
Kanye appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live where talk, inevitably, turned to the musician’s public support for Donald Trump. Toward the end of the interview, Kimmel asked Kanye: "You so famously, and so powerfully, said ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people.’ It makes me wonder, what makes you think that Donald Trump does?” Kanye couldn’t answer him and the interview came to an end.
Two days later, on August 12, Kanye tweeted that he didn't answer the question because he wasn't given enough time.
August 30, 2018: Kanye names his political party
During an interview with DJ Pharris on Chicago's Power 92 Radio Kanye spoke about his ambitions for the U.S. presidency, which he initially declared at the 2015 VMAs. When asked if he was still "seriously considering" a run, Kanye responded "Yes, 100% could happen [in 2024]." He also revealed a possible name for his own independent party he'd run under: The Birthday Party.
September 5, 2018: Kanye extends a Twitter olive branch to Drake
Posting on Twitter, Kanye apologized to Drake for releasing Ye in the same month as Scorpion, and also expressed regret that he put out "Lift Yourself" without including a feature from the OVO rapper. Kanye also denied that it was him that told Pusha-T that Drake had a son. He ended his tweets by stating "This is all Jedi level."
September 7, 2018: Kanye performs at the Pornhub Awards with Lil Pump
Amid a summer of major releases and promotional appearances, Kanye also took on creative director duties of the inaugural Pornhub Awards. Costumes on the night were provided by YEEZY, while the "alien sex toy" award statuettes were also designed by the rapper. During the ceremony he performed new song “I Love It” with Lil Pump. A Spike Jonze-directed video, featuring cartoonish oversized bodies, arrived the same day.
September 20, 2018: Kanye hits out at Drake (again)
Despite appearing to make his peace with Drake earlier in the month, Kanye uploaded a series of videos on Instagram touching on rumors about a relationship between the Scorpion rapper and Kim Kardashian. “The fact that there’s people making rumors or thinking you fucked my wife and you’re not saying nothing and you’re carrying it like that, that don’t sit well with my spirit,” Kanye said.
September 27, 2018: Kanye drops into The FADER’s New York office
A red MAGA hat-wearing Kanye appeared for a meeting at The FADER’s office the day before Yandhi was due for release. He played unreleased music from the album, including tracks featuring 6ix9ine and XXXTentacion. The conversation subsequently changed into a complex dialogue about his role in the world, his business plans, and his love of Chicago.
September 29, 2018: Yandhi is postponed and an SNL performance turns weird
The September 28 Yandhi release date came and went without the album being released. Kim Kardashian subsequently revealed a new release date, November 23, via Twitter. The following day Kanye performed two songs (“I Love It” and Teyana Taylor collaboration “We Got Love”) on Saturday Night Live. Reports from those in the studio suggest that when recording ended Kanye gave a pro-Trump speech to the cast and studio audience. "He voiced his opinion very loudly...For a long time," SNL's Kenan Thompson subsequently told Seth Meyers, while joking that the speech felt like a hostage situation.
October 11, 2018: Kanye visits Trump at the White House
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Kanye West meeting with President Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C. October 11. The planned meeting was to discuss prison reform, job opportunities for former convicts, manufacturing resurgence in America, preventing gang violence and reducing violence in Chicago.
The year’s most cursed summit took place as Kanye and Trump met in the Oval Office to discuss subjects including manufacturing and jobs for formerly incarcerated individuals. Unsurprisingly, however, their conversation soon veered into other territory.
According to tweets from reporters present and videos from their meeting, West falsely claimed Trump "stopped" an impending war between the United States and North Korea "on day one." Meanwhile, when talk turned to the 2016 presidential campaign, Kanye said that he "loved" Hillary Clinton but felt alienated "as a guy" by her slogan "I'm With Her" because he didn't have a lot of "male energy" in his household as a child. He added that the MAGA hat he wears "gives him power" to make up for that.
October 16, 2018: Kanye heads to Africa
Having failed to release Yandhi in September, Kanye traveled to Uganda to finish the album off for its new November 23 release date. "I felt this energy when I was in Chicago," Kanye told TMZ, "I felt the roots. But we have to go what is known as Africa." Multiple recording sessions were streamed live on Twitter while Kanye was also criticized for meeting with Uganda president Yoweri Museveni, who is accused of torturing and imprisoning dissidents.
October 30, 2018: Kanye distances himself from politics, claims to have been “used”
In a series of tweets, Kanye renounced his foray into political commentary and vowed to "completely [focus] on being creative.” He also tweeted a disavowal of BLEXIT, a right-wing group encouraging African-American to leave the Democratic Party founded by Candace Owens. Owens had named Kanye as a designer for the group’s merchandise before correcting herself and stating that he merely introduced her to a designer. "My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in," Kanye tweeted in response.
November 13, 2018: Yandhi is postponed for a second time
It felt so good being on the stage last night with my brother Cudi. After performing again, I realize the new album I’ve been working on isn’t ready yet. I’ll announce the release date once it’s done. Thank you for understanding.— ye (@kanyewest) November 13, 2018
After a performance with Kid Cudi at Tyler, The Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw festival, Kanye declared that Yandhi wasn’t ready for release and won’t be by its November 23 release date. He vowed to announce a new date once work is complete.
December 7, 2018: Kanye appears on XXXTentacion’s new album
In the run-up to Christmas the estate of late rapper XXXTentacion released posthumous album Skins. Kanye is the only featured artist on the album, which charted at No.1 on the Billboard chart following its release.
Their collaboration "One Minute" features Kanye rapping defensively about accusations and how they play out both in court and in public (“Now your name is tainted, by the claims they paintin’/ The defendant is guilty, no one blames the plaintiff.”) The lyrics are notable due to the charges including sexual assault, domestic violence, and false imprisonment faced by XXXTentacion from ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala before his death in June 2018.
December 13, 2018: Kanye targets Drake in new Twitter storm
"This proves shit faker than wrestling,” that was Kanye’s response to a text alerting him that Drake was seeking clearance for So Far Gone track "Say What's Real.” Despite his apparent reluctance to clear the track, “Say What’s Real” appeared on the tracklist when Drake’s 2009 project finally landed on streaming services in February 2019. [https://www.thefader.com/2019/02/15/drake-so-far-gone-tape-stream]
Kanye also appeared to make the inflammatory claim that Drake "purchased [the] first two rows at Pusha show." This is an apparent reference to Pusha-T's show in Toronto at The Danforth Music Hall, where Pusha was attacked by a stage crasher and had water thrown on stage during the performance.
January 6, 2019: Sunday Service begins
On January 6, Kim Kardashian tweeted, "Our new Sunday Service is starting. Check out the rehearsals on my Instagram stories." Since then snippets of Kanye performing at church-like gatherings have surfaced across social media. Highlights have included gospel versions of his classic hits, DMX delivering a sermon, and an appearance at Coachella. Find out all there is to know about Sunday Service here.
January 14, 2019: Coachella falls through for an unexpected reason
Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett confirmed that Kanye pulled out of headlining the 2019 festival after his request for a giant dome to be build in the middle of the Coachella site was denied. Tollett said Kanye’s idea was “great” but impossible to execute and confirmed that the rapper pulled out two days before the festival’s line-up was announced. He was replaced by Ariana Grande.
May 1, 2019: Kanye moves into prestige TV
Showtime announced new show Omniverse, an animated series starring Jaden Smith as a young Kanye West in an alternate reality. Omniverse is currently in development at the network with West, his sometimes-manager Scooter Braun's company SB Projects, and Westbrook Studios.
May 10, 2019: Meet Psalm West
Kanye and Kim Kardashian’s fourth child, a son named Psalm, arrives. The child is the couple's second baby delivered with a surrogate after Chicago West in January 2018.
July 31, 2019: Game of domes
Having pulled out of Coachella over a dome, it was subsequently reported by Forbes that Kanye was designing prefabricated structures with the goal of deploying them as low-income housing units. Designs for said units were reportedly inspired by the fictional Star Wars planet of Tatooine. A subsequent Vice report stated that the proportions of these buildings “feel otherworldly.”
July 2019: Yandhi leaks
A series of tracks seemingly from the Yandhi sessions appear online. These include “New Body,” which features a polished hook from Ty Dolla $ign and a guest spot from Nicki Minaj, plus “The Storm” with a verse from the late XXXTentacion.
August 29, 2019: Jesus Is King is announced
Kim Kardashian shared a picture of what appears to be a 12-song tracklist with the title Jesus Is King and a September 27 release date. Kanye subsequently posted the tracklist, including songs titled “God Is” and “Sweet Jesus,” on his official website.
September 27-30: Kanye misses his release deadline
September 27 came and went with Jesus Is King failing to drop. Kim Kardashian West said, via a post on Instagram stories, that Sunday, September 29 was the new release date. Come Monday morning, however, there was no new album available to fans.
What Kanye did spend his weekend doing was staging impromptu listening parties in Detroit on Friday, Chicago on Saturday, and New York on Sunday. Each event featured its own "Jesus Is King" merch. The listening parties also included screenings of Jesus Is King: A Kanye West Experience. The movie is set to hit theaters on October 25 and features behind-the-scenes footage of West's Sunday Service in the Roden Crater,artist James Turrell’s previously unseen installation in Arizona’s Painted Desert.