(NYTimes, Washington Post) - Kanye West is coming back with a vengeance - and two new albums.
The rapper, who had been largely quiet in public since a dramatic spiral near the end of 2016 - during which he cancelled a major tour, was hospitalised for a "psychiatric emergency" and angered some fans by meeting with then-President-elect Donald Trump before going dark - re-emerged recently on Twitter and in photos with his most frequent musical collaborators, stoking anticipation for a new release.
On Thursday, West, 40, confirmed the whispers in his trademark off-the-cuff fashion, posting on Twitter: "my album is 7 songs," followed two minutes later by a date: June 1.
He also announced a second album in collaboration with his on-again, off-again associate Kid Cudi due out June 8. "It's called Kids See Ghost," West wrote. "That's the name of our group." Def Jam, West's label, declined to comment further.
The new music would be West's much-anticipated follow-up to his seventh solo album, The Life Of Pablo, which was released in February 2016. That body of work, too, had a less-than-traditional release: West debuted the songs during a fashion show at Madison Square Garden, released it a few days later as an exclusive on Jay-Z's streaming service Tidal and then continued to futz with the tracks, updating the music as he pleased.
Things took a stranger turn during the rapper's subsequent Saint Pablo tour, which attempted to redefine the arena show. Though critically acclaimed, the tour was abruptly halted - and later cancelled - after West began cutting concerts short to express his grievances with the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jay-Z, Beyonce and Mark Zuckerberg.
"I've been sitting here to give y'all my truth even at the risk of my own life - even at the risk of my own success, my own career," he told one crowd.
He had barely uttered a peep to his followers since, even after his hospitalisation, which was never explained, until surfacing last week with a barrage of social media content.
He interviewed his interior designer, Axel Vervoordt, for The Hollywood Reporter and mentioned that he had been working on something called Break The Simulation, his first book of philosophy. He also told Vervoordt: "I don't wish to be number one anymore, I wish to be water."
Then, to elaborate, he reactivated his dormant Twitter account and wrote: "Sometimes you have to get rid of everything."
On Twitter, such philosophical musings were mainlined directly to fans as West indicated he was writing a book "in real time" through the missives.
"Often people working with the existing consciousness are jealous of those who are more in touch and they become hard-core capitalist in hopes of creating the illusion that the value of money is worth more than the value of time and friends," he wrote.