Tired of hearing about Kanye? Well as a music producer myself, I’m not. Yes I’m a fan and yes I might be one of those kids who will sit there and try to defend Kanye to anyone who completely bashes him but so what? From a musical standpoint, what he is doing with his latest album The Life Of Pablo and “Wolves” especially, is amazing.
Yesterday, Kanye updated one of the most talked about songs, before it’s release, on Tidal. He changed quite a bit actually. The original “final mix” consisted of a song structure that went from; Kanye’s auto-tune intro/chorus, first and only long verse, vocal interlude that slides into Frank Ocean’s outro. Ye dropped both Vic Mensa and Sia’s part from the live performances they did late last year. That is a significant amount of heard content that Kanye excluded.
Kanye West, Vic Mensa & Sia live performing “Wolves”
As an aspiring music producer and audio engineer, the fact that Kanye and only Kanye is in complete control of the final product that is being streamed on Tidal, is so amazing creatively but also a big deal for the music industry and other artists. Yes, Kanye works with a lot of people to put out this final project in the studio, but just the fact that he has the final say on how something sounds and how it is being broadcasted sonically is a huge step forward for any artist. This is something that music hubs like soundcloud and audiomack have been offering for year. But Kanye, a major label artist, is doing this through Tidal, one of three major market streaming services beside Apple Music and Spotify.
For “Wolves 2.0,” Ye adds some more drum layers, adds Vic Mensa and Sia’s part, changes a ton of vocal effects and adds some ad libs on his ending sequence. What else is crazy is that he pushed Frank Ocean’s little vocal ditty to it’s own song. This is so much music to re-engineer, mix, master, edit and manipulate three weeks after the official release.
What this means for artists, producers and engineers is this, why settle for something that you already released to the public if you still believe you could do better. A lot of people that I have worked in music with before have all expressed how musicianship is full of constant changes. Hell, this is half the reason I can’t hardly finish a song because I’m never satisfied with final mixes and song structures. I always want more and more change. If you ever have preformed live in any matter, you’ll know that no performance is the same. You are constantly adjusting almost every small detail in your sound. That is why they say music is a gift that keeps on giving.
By Kanye West continuing to change a major label release such as The Life Of Pablo, it is helping pushing the boundaries of contemporary artistry and musicianship and challenges the idea that the music that he is making is in his complete control and not in the hands of these major labels. Artists, producers and engineers keeping making music, keep updating it and never be satisfied. Because that next edit or change you want to make to a mix could be what ends up getting noticed. Who really knows?
“Wolves” is one hell of a song though no matter how many times Kanye changes it. I hope he continues to mix and changes his stuff. Who really knows what could come next??
Written by Erik Lindberg