We Just Discovered Kanye’s Soundcloud

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Well, we didn’t discover his Soundcloud exactly. But the rapper Travi$ Scott posted a link to it on Instagram. And it has two new songs!

The first is a remix of “Say You Will,” originally from West’s 808s and Heartbreak. It varies from the original in that it’s a (a) remix featuring (b) the classical composer and performer Caroline Shaw!

Atlantic Notes readers may remember a post from four days ago where I wrote: “Caroline. Yeezy. Please, please record together.” Since this track has been on Soundcloud for 14 days, apparently they totally already had? I can’t believe it either but I am very happy. (Longer-term Atlantic readers may remember Shaw as the youngest-ever recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music.)

The second is “When I See It,” a song Kanye first wrote for the Weeknd. The remix seems to feature the return of autotuned Kanye? Which, okay!

I think a lot of listeners are going to be excited that Kanye is covering the Weeknd, and rightfully so. I mean, maybe we’ll even see a new album soon? West also covered “Power” (also with Shaw) in San Francisco at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee last week—so if you really want to engage in some forecasting/Yeezology, it’s not like he’s only revived the more emotionally vulnerable parts of his catalog.

But I want to talk about the former track for a moment. In “Say You Will,” SHaw’s voice is looped to sound somewhat like Roomful of Teeth, the experimental vocal ensemble she participates in and writes for. In fact, the opening of the track—where she doesn’t sing words, but disassembled vowel and consonant sounds—recalls exact moments from her earlier writing. But then things keep moving. As Kanye’s top line changes, as he grows louder, the timbre of Shaw’s voice opens as well. Pizzicato strings enter. And that’s when I knew for sure that I was not listening to some cutesy crossover act or facile proof that “all music is the same”: No, this is two lifelong musicians, fiercely of the now, in vibrant conversation.