June 18 In Hip-Hop History: Kanye West Drops Experimental Album 'Yeezus'


Photo: Def Jam Recordings/Roc-A-Fella Records

Since the beginning of his career, Kanye West was known for a particular sound that his fans came to know and love. That all changed with the release of his sixth studio album.

On June 18, 2013, Ye released his first experimental album Yeezus via Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records. To this day, it remains one of the most minimalistic yet hard-hitting projects of his discography. West recruited a slew of hitmakers for the 10-track album including Travis Scott, Daft Punk, Hudson Mohawke, Charlie Wilson, Frank Ocean, Chief Keef, Kid Cudi, Rick Rubin and more.

There are plenty of genres that ooze from the LP's overall sound including Chicago's drill scene, acid-house, industrial Hip-Hop and elements of trap music. At the same time, he also incorporated samples of music from around the world. He used a Hindi sample on "I Am A God" as well as a sample of Hungarian rock group Omega on "New Slaves." He even sampled Nina Simone's 1965 version of "Strange Fruit" for "Blood On The Leaves."

The album's release made headlines for numerous reasons. At the time, it was Ye's first project in three years following the release of his critically-acclaimed project My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Instead of a traditional cover, Ye opted to go with a blank CD case with a single piece of red tape at the edge. The album's first singles "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead" drew plenty of excitement from artists and fans alike. While some critics believed he was raising the bar in music, others considered the album a complete departure from his previous catalog.

Another reason why the album received massive attention is because Ye faced off with several artists on release day including J. Cole, Mac Miller and Statik Selektah. Despite Cole moving his release date for Born Sinner a week early to June 18, Ye ended up on top after Yeezus debuted at No. 1. While the album became a complete success, it marked the end of what fans knew as "the Old Kanye."

Relive Ye's Yeezus album below.


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