Rejuvenation is what we all need even in our most relaxed moments. For Kanye West—who got so wound up between touring, looking after his family, and working out fashion deals that he met with Donald Trump in some kind of misguided performance art thing we still don't know the meaning of—this recent trip to Wyoming is likely a balm for his particularly stressed soul. Kanye being Kanye, though, he may or may not be working on new music while he literally chills in the town of Jackson. Scavenged posts from West's various collaborators support the idea that he's in album mode, as do anonymous sources who told E! News that the mountains are Kanye's favourite spot to unwind and focus.
This wouldn't be the first time that West went to a more remote American locale to work; My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was created during a similar and now-legendary group recording session in Hawaii. It's reasonable to assume that Kanye has decided to go to the exact polar opposite climate of Honolulu for inspiration. But perhaps instead of wild speculation on whether or not Travis Scott will be recording Astroworld at the same time, perhaps we can appreciate these photos for what they portray on the surface: just a couple of dudes (who also happen to be major-label producers and artists) having a good time at a snowy cabin retreat.
Granted, the presence of Tony Williams, who gave us the incredible hook to "We Major" among other Kanye classics, and 808s and Heartbreaks architect Jeff Bhasker does a lot to argue that West is indeed making new music at Jackson Hole. A working vacation is still a vacation though.
It's always good to see Kid Cudi genuinely happy. Maybe he's feeling the positive effects of that mountain air (don't quote me on whether or not mountain air is actually beneficial).
Here's the pinnacle of zen, a candid pic of 'Ye taken by a fan. That a man who has repeatedly snapped at the paparazzi to get out of his face would even allow this to happen is proof enough that he might be more relaxed than he was before, or at least since he was all-smiles after becoming a dad for the third time earlier this year. Whether West releases this chalet-rap album "soon" or in a year, it doesn't matter: the real Kanye album was the friends he brought along the way.
Phil is on Twitter.