In the original Ghostbusters, there’s a scene where the titular heroes try to explain the ramifications of the impending disaster on its way to New York City to the skeptical mayor, listing some of the upcoming afflictions. Fire and brimstone, seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, “dogs and cats living together,” and mass hysteria are listed as some of the coming reactions. While those are pretty over-the-top, I think it’s pretty fair to say that they pale in comparison to the reaction to a Kanye West album announcement.
That last one might be a pretty accurate summation of the music world’s collective response to the notoriously mercurial and mysteriously elusive musician’s recent tweets promising not just one, but two new projects arriving in relatively short order. One is supposedly a seven-song solo collection marked for a June 1 release, the other is a group effort featuring Kid Cudi dropping just a week later. Apparently, the name of the group is See Kids Ghost, which has also caused a considerable amount of consternation from fans struggling to decipher its meaning and significance to both of its members’ recent biographies. Even his announcement that the lesser denizens of the GOOD Music pantheon would also be releasing albums this summer led to a frenzy of activity on Twitter.
Such is the magnetic force of Kanye West. While I was exaggerating in comparing the reaction to his announcement to the biblical Armageddon warned of in Ghostbusters, it’s no stretch to say that Kanye has a sort of gravity very few other musicians have. Across genres, age groups, and even other forms of popular culture, when Kanye West makes a move, the whole world moves with him.
However, that reaction is even more warranted and understandable than ever after Kanye spent practically the whole of 2017 lying low after a much-publicized onstage meltdown and the vehement backlash to his seeming support of then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Ye’s personality is outsized that when he doesn’t make any public moves for a year, the resulting vacuum has to be filled with speculation, with wonderment, with impatience, so that when he returned to Twitter this week, the news arrived with the force of a multi-megaton bomb.