Adidas severed ties with him. His talent agency dropped him. But on Friday night, an arena on Long Island was filled with thousands of people who most certainly had not turned their backs on Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West.
Shortly before releasing “Vultures 1,” his first album since making a string of antisemitic remarks that cost him business deals and drew widespread condemnation, Ye previewed his new collaboration with the R&B singer Ty Dolla Sign at a listening party at UBS Arena, further testing the boundaries of his fandom with lyrics that did not tiptoe around the controversy.
“‘Crazy, bipolar, antisemite,’ and I’m still the king,” Ye raps in “King,” the final song on the LP, which drew a modest wave of cheers.
Ty Dolla Sign and Ye appeared a bit before 11 p.m. on a smoke-filled stage — at least, that was the impression, though it was hard to confirm who was there. Wearing a full mask, the rapper, designer and longtime provocateur never showed his face as he exulted in his new music, which included samples from Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and the Backstreet Boys (“Yeezy’s back, all right!”).
Originally slated to come out in December, delays and false starts pushed the release of “Vultures 1” to early Saturday morning, soon after the hourlong listening party had ended.
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