In June, following the release of his seventh consecutive #1 album, Kanye West would announce his Saint Pablo Tour, thus extending his seemingly everlasting presence.
Arena tours are a big thing. The only thing bigger is stadium tours, and those are for the likes of absolute superstars, like The Beatles, Beyonce, and soon, Drake, at the pace he's going. More on Drake later, but for Kanye, this is his first time touring in three years, and much like his last 'Yeezus' Tour, a lot of planning went into the design of this show.
From pictures, you may not be able to tell how much detail was put into the stage and movement of the show. The stage may seem nowhere near as extravagant as his 'Yeezus' stage design, but it guarantees to provide an experience unlike anything you've experienced before. As people filter into the arena, smoke pours out amongst the floor as highly atmospheric music is blared through the speakers, sounds ranging from howling, to wind and chimes, as well as an occasional body-shaking bass note.
The stage doesn't necessarily hang over the center of the floor, that's actually not the case at all. Kanye, dressed in raggity clothes, glides on a stage that slides across the entire length of the floor, giving everyone below a chance to mosh under him as well as everybody in the seats to get a closer view of Ye's performance. With that being said, some people were subject to a poor view. Many so high up that they can hardly see the show, some so low or awkwardly placed that there's no way they didn't leave with a neck cramp.
What's almost as interesting as the stage design of the Saint Pablo Tour, is how the entirety of the tour plays into Kanye's story and what consequences it has on the future of the music industry. Some of the bigger stories surrounding Kanye going into the tour included Taylor Swift and 'Famous', Migos signing to G.O.O.D. Music, and Kanye's growing relationship with Drake. Now, the stories being generated by this tour relate to Jay-Z, his "big-brother", Kim Kardashian, his wife, and of course, his growing relationship with Drake.
The Drake factor
Drake dropped 'Pop Style' in April, a song that made waves featuring The Throne; Kanye West, and a noticeably short verse from Jay-Z. During the Seattle stop of the Saint Pablo tour, we were able to witness first hand Kanye's frustrations with this situation. After saying things like "why didn't you come by the house... like brothers", and "there will never be a 'Watch the Throne 2'", Kanye continued to explain that the release of 'Pop Style' eventually came down to "some Tidal... some- political shit, something (about) percentages on songs." Notice Kanye stumbling over his words to throw Tidal under the bus while not even mentioning Apple, before performing 'Pop Style' himself, effectively making a statement.
Kanye West switching teams from Jay-Z and Tidal to Drake and Apple actually makes sense. Kanye West has always made it cleared he admires Steve Jobs and Apple, and it's no secret Tidal is a struggling company. On top of that, Drake is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest names ever, and Kanye is someone who realizes he is on that same track. Just as we start to see everything as making sense, Drake and Pusha T begin beefing, and thus we are thrown into another rabbit hole of politics in music.
Pusha T being the president of Kanye's record label, GOOD Music is sort of in a crucial role, especially since recently making the decision himself to sign some of todays biggest rap artists in Desiigner and Migos. The Pusha T and Drake beef is something that could blow over like nothing, and it's also something that can change the landscape of the industry, but is it even a real beef? If Kanye West's DONDA company turned out to be a secret society running the music industry, would you be surprised at this point?
To ease your mind, lets take it back to the atmospheric chimes we had described earlier. We had waited for about 3 hours after waiting in line outside of the Key Arena in rainy Seattle Washington, but once Kanye had emerged, opening with both parts of 'Father Stretch My Hands', the full house had begun to party. Kanye decided to get all of the songs he only features on out of the way early. 'That Part', 'Pop Style', 'Mercy', and 'Semi on Em' were all performed within the first several songs, Drakes hook on 'Pop Style' being the only artist he let us hear besides himself, emphasizing the "statement" I had mentioned earlier.
Another big statement Kanye made during the show, was when he played the first few seconds of 'Ni**as in Paris', immediately saying "Next!", which is when 'Can't Tell Me Nothin' dropped and everybody went crazy singing the intro, in which Ye' responded with "Exactly!" This was immediately following his rant at Jay-Z. There's a cool moment in each Pablo show where Ye' leans over the stage, reaching down to the crowd while rapping 'I Love Kanye', immediately followed by 'Waves' in which Ye' gives an amazing performance, doing his own singing over Breezy's hook.
Another moment I will never forget is when Kanye played 'Heartless'. Like all of his older songs he performed, there were changes made to the song to make the live experience unique, but more powerful than that was when Ye' would sing "In the night, I hear em' talk..." and everybody would sing back "...the coldest story ever told, somewhere far along the road he lost his soul, to a woman so heartless", feeling the power, he repeated himself, waving his arms at the crowd like a director, and we sang again. I undoubtedly have never heard so many people unified in saying the same thing at the same time, truly a beautiful moment.
Turbo Grafx 16...
While most have forgotten Kanye West's already announced his next album, we at Keakie have not. Nearly two weeks after releasing 'The Life of Pablo', Ye' tweeted "My next album is titled "Turbo Grafx 16" as of now... The name of the album will likely change, let us not forget that Kanye publicly changed the name of 'TLoP' several times before finalizing it. Though we don't have a release date or virtually any information about this next album, we can anticipate Kanye riding his momentum until that point of release.
A lot will likely happen between the Saint Pablo Tour ending and Kanye West's eighth album, but no matter how crazy, Keakie has it covered.
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