Report: Kanye West Plays New Music at iHeartMedia Summit

Report: Kanye West Plays New Music at iHeartMedia Summit

Rapper makes surprise appearance at industry event in California.

Published January 23, 2015

On Wednesday, Kanye West surprised attendees at the iHeartMedia Music Summit with his presence — and new music. Billboard reports that Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels started his presentation to the assembled radio programmers by sharing info on upcoming projects from Big Sean and other artists, then abruptly ceded the floor, saying, "I wanna stop this and turn it over to one of the great iconic rock stars of our time: Kanye West."

An attendee says Yeezy then walked out and spoke to the stunned crowd for 45 minutes on the topic of innovation, saying it's his responsibility to up the ante with each new album and never retread familiar paths. He discussed the ways he innovated with previous albums with regard to what got spins on the radio, touching on how he bucked gangsta rap with his use of soul beats on his early stuff. He also reminded the audience how "Jesus Walks" and "Through the Wire" presented topics that were novel for urban radio and how the sound he explored with songs like "Stronger" and "Heartless" is now influencing songs he hears on the radio today.

West also talked about his highly anticipated upcoming album. He didn't share a release date, but he did talk about his experience recording "Only One" with Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles. He said it came together from a jam session where he freestyled, and that he only realized after listening to it that the title echoes the meaning of his first name; Kanye means "only one" in Swahili. He even sang a bit of it a capella. 

Then he broke out his laptop and played a portion of a collaboration with Rihanna that reportedly included a "massive" hook. It might be one of the nine songs Ty Dolla $ign said he recorded with West in Mexico, which he said featured McCartney, in addition to West and Rihanna. Following the song, West slammed his laptop shut and walked offstage. The audience reportedly gave him a standing ovation.

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Written by Kenrya Rankin Naasel

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