The history of Kanye West’s unreleased albums show unpredictable nature

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What’s his next move? Kanye West performs at annual Party in The Garden event on May 10, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Jason Persse)

Drew Ruppel, Staff Writer

 Many people have varying opinions on artist Kanye West, but one thing everyone can agree on is that he is anything but predictable. West has made a reputation for being a loose cannon, not a single oracle or medium could predict what he may do in the public eye next. Something that people unacquainted with more than just general knowledge of West may not know is that this wildcard mentality has been a part of his music release schedule since the start of his career. 

West has announced and not delivered more albums than he’s actually released, funny enough. As of a month ago, fans have gotten an announcement that a sequel to his 2021 album Donda is on the way, and speculation on whether it’s actually going to be released or not has already begun, So there’s no better time than now to cover some of the most interesting examples of Kanye albums that never saw the light of day.

Even before his debut album, The College Dropout, was released, Kanye had his next three albums after his debut had already been planned out. The College trilogy as we know it was originally planned to be a quadrilogy, consisting of The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, and Good A** Job. Assuming Good A** Job would follow the storyline of the previous three albums, which would probably suggest an album about Kanye being employed after graduation. 

One of the main reasons that this album never came to fruition was Kanye’s shift towards a more serious tone to his music after the passing of his mother Donda West and the breaking of his engagement to Alexis Phifer, ultimately leading to the release of the album 808’s and Heartbreaks

Kanye had planned to return to Good A** Job after the release of 808’s and Heartbreaks, but after going to the 2009 VMAS and engaging in some tomfoolery, he ultimately had to prove himself in the face of everyone hating him and scrapped Good A** Job to create My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, arguably his best album in many people’s eyes. Some stand-out songs that may have been on Good A** Job were the track Mama’s Boyfriend and a sequel to the song Flashing Lights from Graduation

West’s 2013 album Yeezus, was rough, experimental, and loved by many. Before we had what we got, West had about three hours worth of music. With the help of producer and part-time mall Santa, Rick Rubin, he cut it down to the album we know today. After the release of Yeezus, the plan was to release the rest in a sequel, teased by Rick Rubin and Kanye himself. Over time, this sequel would undergo many changes. 

The first major change we’d see was the album’s name change to So Help Me God along with the release of the single All Day. Around 2015, we saw more change, with both SWISH and WAVES being names Kanye had considered changing the name of the album to. Fans finally got an album in the form of The Life of Pablo, kinda. The Life of Pablo featured none of the singles released since Yeezus, so we have no idea what the sequel to the album Yeezus in any of its many forms would have ended up sounding like.

We’ll wrap up this article with Kanye’s most well-known unreleased album, Yandhi. We first heard about the very-humbly-named project via Twitter through a picture of the album artwork and a release date of Sept. 28, 2018. When that date rolled around, West was the musical guest for the season premiere of SNL, where he performed a song with Lil Pump while wearing a giant water bottle costume and went on an unaired political rant and ultimately, didn’t release the album. When asked about what happened with the album’s release by TMZ the next day, Kanye put it gracefully, stating simply, “I didn’t finish it” and rescheduled the album for Nov. 23. This date then got pushed back again after Kanye said a performance with Kid Cudi made him realize he wasn’t finished working on Yandhi

The final nail in the coffin for Yandhi was Kanye’s involvement in the Sunday Service Choir, and his shift to making Christian-based music, culminating in 2019’s Jesus is King. However many songs from Yandhi would later be reworked into songs on albums like Jesus is King and Donda, as well as getting leaked in full.

It may not be necessary to state, Kanye West is a very interesting character, both in personality and in his knack for hyping up albums and not delivering them. These were only just a few of many examples and definitely just a portion of more to come.