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The Metamorphosis of Kanye West’s 'The Life Of Pablo': A Guide To The Updates

Looking into the many changes made on 'Ye's "living" project.

Have you ever seen a finished picture?” — Pablo Picasso

Earlier this month, Kanye West called his seventh studio album, The Life of Pablo, a “living breathing changing creative expression.” While the description seems fitting, perhaps the more appropriate thing to call Mr. West’s latest album creation is: Pop music’s sonic Lego set.

Constructed and broken down into bits and pieces of the sounds he's pioneered within his rich discography, TLOP is also a work in progress — one that continues to generate more updates than NBA 2K. One day, Frank Ocean and Caroline Shaw are featured on “Wolves.” The next? Ocean and Shaw are replaced by the (much better) Sia and Vic Mensa version. Another week, “Famous” features the line, “She be Puerto Rican Day Parade waving.” The next? It gets swapped with “She in school to be a real estate agent.” In this day in age, change is the new constant. So considering how much social media — and everything else online for that matter — brings forth a revolving door of updates these days, Kanye’s fast-and-loose approach is pretty much a mirror to the reality of this digital era.

What the album also does is sew in new life to its title and the person that it happens to namecheck, Pablo Picasso. “Have you ever seen a finished picture?,” the painter once said. “To finish it means to be through with it, to kill, to rid it of its soul, to give it its final blow: the most unfortunate one for the painter as well as for the picture.”

As a “newly updated, remixed and remastered version” of the album breaks out of Tidal to stream on to other streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify, we prepared a comprehensive breakdown of the many iterations and mixes of Kanye’s “living” album, and spiritual Frankenstein, TLOP.

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Pre-TLOP: The Various Tracklist Changes

January 25, 2016: Album is listed with 10 songs, including previous releases “Real Friends” and “No More Parties In L.A.”

January 26, 2016: Album is retitled Waves and the song “Ultra Light Beam” gets added, pushing the album track list to 11 songs.

February 12, 2016: Retitled to The Life of Pablo, six songs get added to the album, pushing the tracklist to 17. The song “Facts,” which originally featured production from Metro Boomin, also gets swapped for a new version by Very G.O.O.D. Beats’ Charlie Heat.

February 14, 2016: At the suggestion of Chance the Rapper, the song “Waves” gets added to the album, pushing TLOP to 18 songs.

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Settled Tracklist For The Life Of Pablo

1. "Ultralight Beam"

2. "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1"

3. "Pt. 2"

4. "Famous"

5. "Feedback"

6. "Low Lights"

7. "Highlights"

8. "Freestyle 4"

9. "I Love Kanye"

10. "Waves"

11. "FML"

12. "Real Friends"

13. "Wolves"

14. "Siiiiiiiiilver Surffffeeeeer Intermission"

15. "30 Hours"

16. "No More Parties In LA"

17. "Facts (Charlie Heat Version)"

18. "Fade"

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It’s Alive: The Album Mixes & Song Updates

March 14, 2016: “Famous” — The Rihanna-featured and Swizz Beatz-produced track gets patched up with a new verse and minor production changes that find Nina Simone’s vocals layered under Ri Ri’s vocals. The original “She be Puerto Rican Day Parade waving” verse, gets swapped for "She in school to be a real estate agent/Last month I helped her with the car payments.” The chopped-up “Bam Bam” portion of the track also features a bit of distortion. As reported on Reddit, the changes occur at the 1:23 - 1:25 and 1:49 - 1:51 marks.

March 15, 2016: “Wolves” — “Finished” version of “Wolves” arrives featuring Vic Mensa and Sia. The reworked version from what Kanye originally debuted at Yeezy Season 1 features a much smoother transition into Sia’s vocals and Ye’s “What if Mary was in the club” rapped verse.

“Frank’s Track” — At 38-seconds, West breaks out Frank Ocean’s outro from “Wolves” for its own standalone version.

March 30, 2016: “Ultralight Beam” — The gospel-tinged opener gets a slight tweak that features new vocals from Chance the Rapper. Where there was originally a slight pause in the beginning the of the airy track, Chance is now heard singing “No one can judge.” The choir is also mixed better, while Kirk Franklin gets added lyrics as well.

“Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1” — There is more Cudi featured in the background vocals and the snare and beat sounds much more refined than on the original release.

“Pt. 2” — More base is added here on the intro, beginning at the 1:08 mark.

“Feedback” — Much shorter than its original form. Kanye’s vocals has been touched to balance out with the breakneck beat.

“Highlights” — Young Thug’s vocals sound much clearer. Background vocals are added throughout Kanye’s verse (as noted by users on Reddit). These changes take place at 1:34, 1:36, 1:43).

“Freestyle 4” — More disruption added in the background in the form of strings and blaring synths. Extra bass is also added right before Desiigner’s verse.

“Waves” — Kanye’s first verse has been re-recorded. No more blaring snares and less echoes.

“FML” — Additional background vocals are layered behind Weeknd’s chorus and the vocals sound more mixed than previous version.

“30 Hours” — The ad-libbing (“Now I’m bout to drive 90s miles like Matt Barnes”) are no longer in time with the beat. The line “Whoop him after school just to show I got class” is also out of sync with the production. There’s also a slight pause for the Victoria’s Secret line. The outro has also been re-recorded.

“Fade” — Sounds much more minimal like the version played at Yeezy SZN 2 fashion event. There is now an outro.

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Most Recent Tracklist For TLOP

1. "Ultralight Beam" (ft. Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, The-Dream, Kelly Price, and Donnie Trumpet)

2. "Father Stretch My Hands, Pt. 1" (ft. Kid Cudi)

3. "Pt. 2" (ft. Desiigner and Caroline Shaw)

4. "Famous" (feat. Rihanna and Swizz Beatz)

5. "Feedback"

6. "Low Lights"

7. "Highlights" (ft. Young Thug, The-Dream, and Kelly Price)

8. "Freestyle 4" (ft. Desiigner)

9. "I Love Kanye"

10. "Waves" (ft. Chris Brown and Kid Cudi)

11. "FML" (ft. The Weeknd)

12. "Real Friends" (ft. Ty Dolla $ign)

13. "Wolves" (ft. Vic Mensa and Sia)

14. "Frank’s Track" (ft. Frank Ocean)

15. “Siiiiiiiiilver Surffffeeeeer Intermission"

16. "30 Hours" (ft. André 3000)

17. "No More Parties in L.A." (ft. Kendrick Lamar)

18. "FACTS" (Charlie Heat Version)

19. "Fade" (ft. Post Malone and Ty Dolla $ign)

(This post will be updated as more mixes and alterations are made to the album)

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