After months of false starts and exponentially increasing hype — interview quips, leaked demos, a performance at the Brit Awards last week backed by dozens of UK henchmen and a mighty flamethrower — Kanye West is releasing the official version of “All Day,” the lead single from his upcoming new album So Help Me God. Working with contributions from stylish Brooklyn polymath Theophilus London and rising, gritty Minnesotan Allan Kingdom, Kanye splits the difference between the abrasiveness and dark colors of 2013’s Yeezus and his gift for lyrical hooks and radio-friendly structure. It’s not hard to imagine the song’s chorus, and its titular bark, streaming from open car windows around the country by rush hour this evening. (The closing minute, a bizarre stew of cheery whistling and frenzied electronics, seems less likely to land on top 40 playlists.)
Of course, “All Day” is still ripe with the sort of incisive statements about class and race that have marked Kanye’s work from the beginning. Even grandstanding, throwaway lines are wrapped in barbed wire, like his hollered proclamation that, “Like a light-skinned slave boy / we in the motherf—king house!” If this really is “cookout music,” it’s cookout music that demands your attention. So Help Me God still doesn’t have a release date, but with an official single on the books and a promotional machine roaring to life, the release of even more new Kanye West music seems imminent.