When it comes to Kanye West albums, good things take time. The Chi-town rapper spent two years cooking up Ye, his eighth solo studio album. Within that time span, he changed the title—no surprise—and also worked on four other albums along the way.
In early 2016, Yeezy revealed he was working on the new project, which had the title of Turbo Grafx 16. Photos from recording sessions during that time included ’Ye in the studio with Kid Cudi, Quavo, Lil Yachty, Big Sean and Tyler, The Creator. While working on the effort, he had also been on the Saint Pabo Tour, for which he made headlines for going on a rant. He also suffered a breakdown that left him hospitalized. The new LP didn’t come out that year, he cut his tour short and focused on his mental health.
The next year he was in Wyoming working on the project, bringing along with him many familiar faces in rap. While the LP didn’t drop that year, Kanye managed to be a hot topic of conversation for his support of Donald Trump, his Yeezy fashion show and relationship with then-wife Kim Kardashian. Jackson Hole, Wy. seemed to be the rhymer’s safe space, creating music on a ranch, including his own tracks and those for Pusha-T’s forthcoming album.
The “Wyoming sessions” resulted in Kanye working into 2018 on the album that would ultimately be titled Ye, as well as producing or providing guest vocals for Pusha’s Daytona, Nas’ Nasir, Teyana Taylor’s K.T.S.E. and Kids See Ghosts, Kanye’s joint effort with Kid Cudi.
Ahead of Ye arriving in June of 2018, Kanye visited TMZ in May of that year, which resulted in a controversial discussion in the media outlet’s newsroom, in which he said slavery “sounds like a choice” and continued his support of Trump, referring to the former president as his “boy.” Kanye admitted he changed his entire Ye album following that TMZ visit, removing several controversial statements and focused more on the music.
Weeks later and six days after Pusha dropped the Daytona LP Kanye helped craft, Kanye invited celebrity friends and the media to Jackson Hole for a two-hour listening session for Ye that was livestreamed on May 31, 2018. Cudi, Nas, 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Ty Dolla $ign, among others were in attendance. Ye officially arrived on June 1, 2018, with an album cover that read “I hate being Bi-Polar its awesome,” a nod to Kanye’s mental health. The Kids See Ghosts project followed on June 8, Nas’ Nasir on June 15 and Taylor’s K.T.S.E. on June 22, proving that Kanye’s work ethic was truly unmatched at that time. All the wild antics and prolonged studio sessions resulted in Ye achieving No. 1 status on the Billboard 200.