Kanye West waits on no one. Fans experienced this firsthand at the world premiere of “Vultures,” his long-awaited collaborative album with Ty Dolla Sign under the name ¥$. Just a day after he premiered cuts from the project guerilla-style at a Jamaican restaurant in Miami, he took over Wynwood Marketplace in the same city for the Vultures Rave, with a promised start time of midnight.
Nearly two-and-a-half hours later, West and Ty finally assumed the spotlight after stagehands struggled to hook up West’s phone to the audio system. Viewers at home witnessed it all in real time as a stream on YouTube glitched and restarted numerous times in the lead-up to the broadcast. Tickets for those in attendance ran $200 for general admission, $600 for VIP and $10,000 for a table.
Fans and at-home viewers who stuck around were treated to about 10 songs from the project, reportedly releasing this Friday. To deliver the full experience, the duo tapped the album’s guest stars to join them on stage, with a coterie of artists including Chris Brown, Offset, Kodak Black, Lil Durk, Bump J, Freddie Gibbs and West’s daughter North appearing beside them. (Those hoping for a Playboi Carti appearance came up short, as he was on a plane ride that didn’t touch down in time.)
What fans experienced was a sharper preview of the low-quality and unfinished snippets that have recently dribbled out. West devotees were likely already familiar with the opening track “Everybody,” which he previewed on social media last week and plays as an interpolation of Backstreet Boys’ 1997 hit “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” Only instead of mining a sample from the boy band, the song features a recreated chorus from Charlie Wilson, who joins West, Ty and Lil Baby on the track.
West’s daughter North got her moment to shine on “Slide,” where she tests out her rap skills alongside her dad and Ty over a James Blake sample. “It’s gonna get messy, just just bless me bless me / It’s your bestie, miss miss Westie,” she raps. North wasn’t the only one of West’s children to appear, as Kim Kardashian stood alongside their kids and cleared the stage before the performance. (Those watching on socials bore witness to Saint hitting IShowSpeed’s Sui dance.)
“Vultures” is an album that seems to have an audio throughline, with plucking synth bass notes and a galloping pace. West and Ty leave lots of space for featured artists, and there are plenty. Nicki Minaj drops a verse on the highly anticipated finished version of “New Body,” while Gibbs delivers a show-stopping guest turn on “Back to Me,” produced by longtime West collaborator 88-Keys. On the latter, they sample a clip from the film “Dogma” where co-star Jason Mewes says, “Beautiful, big-tittied women don’t just fall out of the sky, you know,” which West repeats throughout.
There’s a splash of house music on “Paid,” while Brown takes up most of the room on “Beg Forgiveness.” “River” plays as a homage to Young Thug, who’s currently on trial and features on the track, and Ty cleans up at the end with an interpolation of Leon Bridges’ song of the same name.
West is no stranger to controversy, and already caught flack for a snippet of a line on “Vultures” where he states, “How I’m antisemitic, I just fucked a Jewish bitch.” It comes in a string of antisemitic remarks over the past year, and he didn’t shy from the discourse. As the song played, West stoked the flames by donning a black Klansman hat, pausing at the end of the song to glare at the audience.
Though less of a performance and more of a showcase, the evening abruptly ended as the clock struck 3 a.m. in Miami. The venue shut the speakers off, and to get one last lick in, West repeated the line from “Vultures” on the mic. As the crowd shuffled out, West made his way through the crowd, seemingly pleased with himself.