Here Are Kanye West’s Many Highs and Lows of 2016
Let's be honest—2016 has been bumpy. We lost a lot of rappers, endured one of the most turbulent elections in history and were forced to bid adieu to Vine. But have hope. 2016 was also the year of Drake's record-breaking music domination ("plat plat only"), another successful XXL Freshmen class and the comeback of numerous rap legends.
In a year full of influx, no one had a more ups and downs than Kanye West. 'Ye celebrated career milestones including but not limited to the release of two new seasons of his Yeezy Season fashion collab with Adidas and dropping his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo. But his image—and it appears his physique—also took major hits this year when he publicly backed President-Elect Donald Trump, cancelled his 2016 tour and checked into the hospital for mental health reasons.
Kanye West has always been known for his loud, unapologetic and seemingly erratic behavior. At this point, it's part of his M.O. Diehard Yeezy fans argue that it's an aspect of his genius and charm while proponents take every rant and outburst with a weary grain of salt. But this year was different. In a time when much of the world has been confused, conflicted or just straight up turned upside down, Kanye has been a personification of it all. Here's a timeline of one of Kanye's 2016; one of the best and worst years he's had thus far. Thankfully, 2016 is nearly over, right?
After dropping very little music in 2015, Kanye came back with a vengeance in 2016. Starting right on New Year's Eve, 'Ye dropped "Facts" to put fans and haters on notice.
Throughout the creative process of making his seventh studio album, Kanye told Twitter that he had changed his mind about the title of the LP. “New album title, WAVES,” he tweeted.
Ye and Wiz, who don't have such a friendly past to begin with, went at each other over Wiz's comment that Max B was the original Wave God. Their beef was fueled over a tweet that Kanye thought was directed at his wife, Kim. Amber Rose even joined in at one point. The ordeal was entertainingly childish. Peep the full timeline and Twitter rants here.
Kanye tweeted out that he changed his mind on the album title again. This time to T.L.O.P. This started a guessing game on social media.
With his album nearly done and his Twitter fingers kept at bay, Kanye West announced one of the dopest ideas for a listening session ever. In true Kanye fashion, he planned to premiere music from the album during his third Yeezy Season show at New York Fashion Week. And to top it all off, it was going to down in Madison Square Garden, one of the biggest venues in New York City, and be streamed live on Tidal. With celebs like Pusha T, Kid Cudi, Lamar Odom, Anna Wintour and the Kardashian/Jenner clan in the building, the media circus was unreal.
Shortly after his massive Yeezy Season 3 show and album listening in Madison Square Garden, Kanye continued his NYC takeover by performing two songs as the musical guest of Saturday Night Live.
Kanye was joined onstage by The-Dream, El DeBarge, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin, Chance The Rapper and A$AP Bari for performances of "Highlights" and "Ultralight Beam." And just as he finished his last song, Kanye popped up off the floor and announced that The Life of Pablo was finally available on Tidal.
Without T.L.O.P. even being fully done, 'Ye announced on Twitter that he was already hard at work on his next album in February, tentatively called Turbo Grafx 16.
Even with the album out for purchase and streaming, the perfectionist in Kanye wouldn't let it be. He proceeded to make changes on songs like “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1,″ "Ultralight Beam," and "Wolves" for months and even added the track "Saint Pablo."
'Ye premiered the fire track on 92.3 REAL L.A. as a way of announcing the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Winter. Fans went nuts over it not only because of the announcement of the project, but because Kanye reunited two artists who've previously beefed -- Yo Gotti and Gucci Mane -- on wax. And just a couple days later, Kanye and Big Sean performed the song live for the first time at Powerhouse 2016.
'Ye announced a 32-city tour taking place from August to October 2016.
Just as summer was heating up, West set things off with the now-infamous music video for "Famous." The visual depicts a bunch of celebrities laying all naked in a bed together. People depicted include both Amber Rose and Ray J ('Ye and Kim's exes), Rihanna, Chris Brown, George Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Caitlyn Jenner, Bill Cosby and Taylor Swift. The rapper held an event to premiere the video in Los Angeles and once it was out, it prompted a social media ruckus almost immediately -- which is naturally what 'Ye wanted.
“It’s not in support or anti any of [the people in the video]. It’s a comment on fame,” Kanye said to Vanity Fair of the video.
The drama about Kanye's "Famous" song and video got increasingly cattier as the summer went on. Taylor Swift was pissed about being depicted in the video and the idea that Kanye was taking credit for her fame. Taylor claimed that she never knew about the lyric and didn't approve of it.
Kanye's wife, reality TV and media machine Kim Kardashian, exposed Taylor as a liar on July 17 by sharing a video of the singer and rapper talking on the phone about the lyrics. Awkward.
When Kanye finally kicked off his 2016 tour, the showman was determined to outdo himself with a visual spectacle comparable to the music. Kanye accomplished this by unveiling a massive floating stage that hovered about the crowd in the arena. This turned the front row and VIP seats into a crazy dope mosh pit area and made for awe-inspiring concert images. Let's remember one thing: Kanye West is above all else an artistic visionary.
The 2016 MTV Video Music Awards were an eventful spectacle as always. But it was at this particular MTV Video Music Awards where Kanye was given six minutes to do whatever he wanted. The rapper chose to premiere the music video for "Fade" featuring G.O.O.D. Music signee Teyana Taylor.
While rumors centered around the 6 God and Yeezy dropping a project had been thrown around for months, the latter artist confirmed they did in fact have an album in the works in early September.
“We’re just working on music, working on a bunch of music together, just having fun going into the studio,” West said in a Vogue interview.
West unveiled his Yeezy Season 4 collection for NYFW once again on Sept. 7 at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City.
The setting was beautiful and star-studded but hot as hell. Many of the volunteer models suffered dehydration. 'Ye would later acknowledge criticism of the fashion show during a Saint Pablo tour stop. But although the presentation wasn't perfect, Yeezy Season 4 sales soared past any previous season.
Just after debuting Yeezy Season 4, Kanye and the whole G.O.O.D. Music crew took over Highline Ballroom in New York for an amazing pop-up show. At the show, Kanye announced that Tyga and ATL trio Migos were G.O.O.D. Music's newest signees.
Kanye cut his headlining set at the first annual Meadows Festival in Queens, NY short when his assistant ran on-stage telling him that his wife, Kim, was in trouble. "Family emergency," said West before running off.
'Ye's early exit had fans in the crowd pissed until news broke that Kim had been robbed at gunpoint in Paris.
While he was dealing with a family crisis, Kanye's latest album went platinum.
Kanye cited "family concerns" as the reason for the rescheduling Saint Pablo Tour dates in Detroit and Philadelphia. The announcement came just days after Kim was robbed for $9 million worth of jewelry.
A few weeks after the end of the 2016 Presidential Election, Kanye said during a concert that even though he didn't vote, he supports Donald Trump. He also told Black people in the same rant to "stop focusing on racism” in America. These remarks elicited a shocked response from the crowd with many fans booing him.
Two days after saying he supports Donald Trump, Kanye went on an even more outlandish rant to his audience in Sacramento. In a 17-minute diatribe, Kanye took aim at Apple, Facebook, Jay Z, Beyonce and national radio before dropping the mic and ending the concert dumb early. Fans were tight. Check out the full transcript of the rant here.
The following day, after Kanye canceled his Sacramento show early, the Chi-Town MC officially canceled the rest of his Saint Pablo Tour. The tour was set to run until Dec. 31. This is the moment it became evident to many that trouble was brewing.
Kanye had a mental breakdown that reportedly sent him reeling, making claims that people were trying to ruin his marriage. TMZ reported that doctors were called to his house in California on Nov. 21 and chose to admit him to UCLA Medical Center due to “temporary psychosis due to sleep deprivation and dehydration.”
'Ye spent the Thanksgiving holiday admitted to the medical center and didn't return to his home until Nov. 30, spending nine days in total away from family.
Making his first public appearance since being home from the hospital, Kanye debuted a new hair style while taking in the Rick Owens: Furniture exhibition in L.A. The rapper appeared to have dyed his hair and eyebrows blonde.
Kanye made his way back to NYC in order to have a meeting with President-Elect Donald Trump. The meeting, along with the fact that Kanye was making this a priority after just being out of the hospital, sent hip-hop Twitter crazy. Fellows rappers like YG, A$AP Ferg, Common and more reacted to their meeting.