Brash, arrogant, aloof, it's no great revelation that Kanye West is a polarising figure when it comes to our cultural zeitgeist. His fashion collections alone are enough to ignite internet message boards, as well as his infamous marriage to Kim Kardashian.
With so much furore constantly surrounding him, it's easy to forget that he actually makes music and some of it is pretty good. This (sometimes reluctant) truth is in evidence with the rapper's latest release from his upcoming album SWISH, which - in typically eccentric Kanye fashion - was purposely leaked onto Soundcloud at 4AM Los Angeles time yesterday.
It's up https://t.co/w7zWdeVSV9
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 18, 2016
Titled No More Parties In L.A, the track features a dream collaboration with Compton MC Kendrick Lamar, whose 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly was arguably the best album of the year, let alone the best rap album, and sees West ditch the auto-tune and sparse production that was so prevalent in 2013's often obscure and experimental Yeezus in favour of a less abrasive, more lyrical style and sound.
The marketing for the new album has been curious too, with West choosing to release a selection of tracks in full on his own Soundcloud page - the first of which was last week's Real Friends - and then promoting them to his 17.3 million Twitter followers with a series of cryptic tweets; an adaptation of the trend for artists to take control of their own promotion, often harnessing the power of social media to create a frenzy amongst fans prior to a big release.
So far it looks like 2016 could be a big year for hip hop albums, with much-anticpated releases from both Drake and Frank Ocean also expected, but if the rest of his album can maintain the momentum of what we've heard so far, they'll have a tough time dethroning a revitalised Yeezy.
SWISH is set for release on 11 February