Tonight, Kanye West is releasing his ninth studio album Yandhi. West announced the album last week, and confirmed via Twitter that it will drop at some point during his appearance on Saturday Night Live. “We’re releasing Yandhi Saturday night,” he wrote. The episode starts at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time on NBC and continues to around 1:05 a.m.
UPDATE: The album has been delayed to November 23. The new release date was confirmed by West’s wife Kim Kardashian on Twitter.
This is an irregular release time, given the commercial stature of an artist like West. Generally, big studio albums drop around midnight Eastern on Fridays, when they are made available on platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. This was the case for recent albums like Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V and Logic’s Young Sinatra IV, but West has proven in the past that he doesn’t always follow a normal release schedule.
The Album Will Drop During West’s Performance on SNL
Take his last studio album, ye, for example. It was originally scheduled for release at midnight Eastern on June 1, but it wasn’t made available until the following afternoon, during which time West added the artwork and a few last minute changes. A similar occurrence happened with Kids See Ghosts, West’s album-length collaboration with Kid Cudi. It was originally set to debut via livestream on the WAV app on June 8, but it was delayed by three hours when the amount of traffic caused connection issues.
Furthermore, Yandhi isn’t the first West album to have ties to Saturday Night Live. In 2013, he appeared on the show to perform electric renditions of the tracks “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves.” The tracks were from the album Yeezus, of which Yandhi is said to be a spiritual sequel. Both albums share a minimal cover design and derive their title from combining West’s nickname, Yeezy, with Jesus and Gandhi, respectively.
West Will Reportedly Bring Several Guest Stars Onstage With Him
West has several guest stars prepped to appear on SNL with him. Sources tell TMZ that the rapper has been working with director Spike Jonze to put the finishing touches on his performance, and that GOOD Music artists Teyana Taylor, Kid Cudi and 070 Shake, as well as recent West collaborator Lil Pump, will join him onstage during the broadcast.
Sources add that the atmosphere surrounding the performance is “relaxed” and that West has been getting along well with the show’s regular cast members. On Thursday, West posted a photo of him with SNL‘s Kenan Thompson and guest host Adam Driver during rehearsals.
West addressed the fact that Yandhi is dropping the same weekend that a peer and fellow rap icon, Lil Wayne, released his album Tha Carter V. “We know it will come in number 2 to my brother Lil Wayne and that’s lovely,” he wrote on Twitter. “The universe needs Ye and Wayne music at the same time.”
Check out West’s original tweet above. West has also posted a series of mocked up billboards ahead of the album’s arrival. The simplistic ads feature an iMessage bubble with the Yandhi title and release date.