Tuesday night’s preview of 808s & Heartbreak occurred in a warehouse art gallery in Los Angeles.
Fittingly enough, with direction from famed artist Vanessa Beecroft, the night’s festivities turned into a live art show, with vibrant lights beaming and about 40 women models posing throughout the event. According to Fader, some of the women were only covered by “face obscuring masks seemingly made of faux lamb’s wool.” Along with guests and journalists, celebrities and artists in attendance included Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Michael Rappaport, Will.i.Am, Mos Def and Jimmy Kimmel.
True to speculation since the release of the first single, “Love Lockdown,” Mr. West implements the auto-tune sound all throughout 808s & Heartbreak. With only two features in Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy, only one rapping verse is apparent from the "Snowman’s" feature on “Amazing.” On the other side, Weezy’s verse on “Tell Everybody That You Know” has been described by producer Mike Dean as sounding “a lot like Axl Rose.”
The last track of the album, “Coldest Winter,” touches on the subject of Kanye’s late mother Donda West, a matter 'Ye has stayed away from discussing publicly until now.
“The irony for me, someone who has talked about so many labels — Louis Vuitton this, Benz that, this girl look good, I’m not going out with you if you don’t look good — the irony, for me to lose the most important person to Hollywood. And now it’s time to deliver ideas in the most naked form possible.”
Following the end of the album, Kanye West came out with Vanessa Beecroft to address the crowd. He spoke about why he decided on such an early release date for 808s & Heartbreak. “I told L.A. [Reid], [Jay-Z], Gee Roberson and everyone at my label that I needed to put this out right now. I'll have another album coming in June.”
On the subject of his auto-tune use, Kanye defended the style and professed it has given him the most fun he has had in a long time. But as a man who gives his all in his music, Kanye silenced critics on his new direction. “I’m here to bring positivity that cannot be judged.” Alluding to an example of this, 'Ye stated, “It’s like judging a grandmother’s love, and someone says ‘Your grandmother gets two and a half mics.’”
Closing the night, Kanye left the attendees with a notion of self sacrifice that has touched millions of fans worldwide. “I feel like certain things, God uses me as vessel, to express things. He puts me through pain so I can express it in a way that people can listen to my music when they’re going through something and it can help them through that situation… Regardless, it’s gonna be from my heart.”
The tentative track listing for 808s & Heartbreak, which releases on November 25th, according to MTV News Blog:
1. Welcome to Heartbreak
3. Love Lockdown
6. Street Lights
7. Say You Will
8. Bad News
10. Tell Everybody That You Know
11. Coldest Winter