Kanye West has had an eclectic career. From the exceptional The College Dropout to the emotionally pensive 808s & Heartbreak to the perplexing Yeezus (and the pseudo “return-to-form” The Life of Pablo), Ye has been pumping out classic after classic after classic. (Or so it seems—according to all of the critics, that is.) With six certified platinum studio records and a plethora of other accolades, all eyes are on West when he announces, hints at, or drops another project. Well, it seems the Graduation rapper has released a track from the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation record, Cruel Summer, titled “Champions.” The posse cut, featuring Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Migos’ Quavo, Desiigner, Travis Scott, and Yo Gotti, is the first single from the Cruel Summer project. As reported by Pitchfork, Kanye “premiered ‘Champions’ during an appearance on Big Boy’s Neighborhood on 92.3 earlier in June.”
— REAL 92.3 LA (@Real923LA) June 3, 2016
During this initial premier, Yeezy has said there would be a 12 to 15 minute version of the track, featuring every G.O.O.D. Music artist to date. Unfortunately, this version of the song has yet to surface. (At this moment, the track is a little over five and a half minutes long.) However, “Champions” is available for your listening pleasure—if you are an Apple Music subscriber. (You can purchase it through iTunes as well for a measly price of $1.29.)
Cruel Summer was released in September of 2012 to relatively mixed reviews. (The record currently sits at a 68 on Metacritic.) Although Cruel Summer was met with generally middling appeal, the project saw lots of radio play, copious amounts of club attention, and a spot on tons of iPhones everywhere. Even though professional media may not have not been impressed by the offering of the G.O.O.D. Music collective, the rest of the world was interested in the compilation. And this fact is indeed true: Cruel Summer debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling over 200,000 copies in its first week. Furthermore, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums of that year. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. Clearly, there’s a fascination for the Cruel Summer project, and a hope for a Cruel Summer sequel. Well, according to Ye during the Big Boy appearance, Cruel Winter is a thing.
Get “Champions” by Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, Quavo & Desiigner on iTunes: https://t.co/9FJqnUdAaa
— Travis Scott Direct (@LaFlameDirect) June 13, 2016
Regrettably (or maybe not?), Kid Cudi will, apparently, not appear on the Cruel Winter compilation. Although both West and Cudder had incredible chemistry and have collaborated on projects in the past, it seems the “Day N Nite” rapper wants to distance himself from the G.O.O.D. Music label to focus on his own music. Cudi recently tweeted, “I salute my G.O.O.D. Fam but its time I start to build my own regime. Based off my visions and artistic moral code. I lead. The originator. Love to my day 1 supporters.” Thankfully, there’s no bad blood, so that’s good. HotNewHipHop states that “[the] song is produced by Lex Luger, A-Trak, Mike Dean, and Ye himself, along with co-production from Derek Watkins and additional production from Charlie Heat and Noah Goldstein.” That’s a lot of minds at work. I wonder what the studio was like: was it flooded by so much creative juices? Probably.
You can head over to Audiomack to stream the final version of the song. Or, since you’re already here, just click below; the track has been embedded for your listening pleasure.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Coachella]