The one constant with rumors about Kanye’s new album, the tentatively titled Good Ass Job, is that the dude has ditched the Auto-Tune vocals of 808s & Heartbreak and gone back to rapping. That is, of course, remarkable: Seeing as, like most rational people, we enjoy Kanye rapping almost as much as we hate Kanye singing, it means Job can now be our completely un-ironic object of obsession. As notable is that Kanye is reining himself in: 808s actually sold well, so to have the critical backlash to the classically self-indulgent project affect ‘Ye despite its objective success is an unexpected and welcome development. Kanye’s always been aware of the criticism; soon after 808s release, he got on a mixtape track to point out that “It’s still top ten ‘bout fifteen weeks later/that’s a middle finger for you, 808s haters.” So could the humble backtracking into his old sound be a byproduct of public reaction after Swiftgate? Just in case: Thanks, Taylor Swift! (Kanye was still right, though).
But what exactly can we expect on Job? Producer Scram Jones, who was D.J.-ing at CV last week when Kanye came in with his crew, including Kid Cudi, has some new insight. “There’s a table right by the DJ booth, so they posted up right in front of the booth,” Jones told MTV. “He had a CD, and we put it in. Kanye leaned over and said, ‘Play track three.’ They all went nuts, Kid Cudi was dancing on the table, and then we cut it off at about a minute-and-a-half. We went to another record, and that got everybody excited, and Kanye said, ‘Play number seven.’ That’s how it kept happening.” Other than being hilarious, the appearance has confused us: Jones claims the album sounds like “real hip-hop,” but without Kanye’s staple soul samples. Kanye has relied on prominent samples less and less over the years — is he now ditching them altogether? Will it sound more like the stuff he did on Blueprint 3, or the new Drake song he produced? Will the whole thing maybe be just vocals, like that one Björk album? Is Rick Ross doing all the beats? Yeah, we have no idea.