Kanye West's The Life of Pablo has been, from its inception, a shifting work in progress, but that mindset was made explicit when Kanye continued tweaking the album after the supposed final version went up on streaming services. It makes sense, in a way: If music is delivered through software now, why shouldn't we be able to update music the same way we update software? On the other hand: If artists can continue tweaking their music forever now, how do we properly evaluate it as an artistic statement? Or, more pressing, what if someone like Kanye decides to tweak his old music and ends up ruining the songs we all already love?
Well, it's time to begin asking these questions in earnest because, as SPIN reports following a reader tip, Kanye has been making some small changes to Yeezus, his 2013 album. Listeners have highlighted two modifications so far to Yeezus on Apple Music: In the opening line of "Black Skinhead," the words "for my theme song" have been pitched down, and the beat cuts out on the line "I might ride around on my bodyguard's back like Prince in the club" on "Send It Up." Right now, those changes are only on Apple Music and not on Tidal or Spotify, but our own listening caught another tweak that's on all streaming services already: At 1:15 on "I Am a God," the beat cuts out under "y'all better quit playing with God," which it doesn't do on the original version. Has Kanye been quietly tweaking things for a while? If so, who knows what will happen next.
Will Kanye slowly destroy his own discography? Will he finally fix that "300 just like the Romans" line to be about Sparta? Will streaming be the death of music? Will anyone even really notice if there are some new drum patches on "Blood on the Leaves"? These questions could haunt us for a long time to come.
We've reached out to Apple Music for comment and will continue to update this story as needed because everything is mutable in the internet era, and truly nothing stays the same forever.
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