Last night, Kanye West hosted his album listening party in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a town far more famous for its world class snow, death-defying ski runs and abundance of turquoise-themed jewelry stores than its connection to Hip-Hop.
While people may be making jokes about Yeezy’s choice of venue, he might actually be onto something. And he’s not the first artist to break away from the traditional album listening party set up.
People gathered around a bonfire in an open field in Utah’s comfortable mid-60’s temperature. And due to its northern location and proximity to the western edge of the Mountain Standard time line, Jackson Hole is known to remain light until almost 10 p.m. MDT. Thus, Yeezy’s listening audience stood anxiously in the daylight for hours until the sun went down.
As far as being lit? Well, Wyoming is one of the few states known for being able to see the northern lights.
Although Kanye is always known for acting outside the norm, here are a few artists who broke the album-listening-party mold first.
Jay-Z: Until some serious advancements are made in the field of quantum physics, it’s virtually impossible to be in more than one place at one time. But that didn’t stop Jay-Z from delegating responsibility to several lucky DJs (and even more lucky fans) around the country when he held simultaneous launch parties for 4:44, each hosted by a different DJ throughout the country last June.
The Roots: Four years before backing up Phil Collins on what might be his most legendary performance of “In the Air Tonight,” The Roots eschewed the traditional listening party format for their album, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, with performance art in a pub. If the spoken poetry component and the five piece orchestra backed up by a didgeridoo wasn’t eclectic enough, the performance was punctuated by the spontaneous popping of thousands of balloon animals with nooses floating in from the ceiling, making it possibly the most “poppin’” performance of all times.
Justin Timberlake: While the Hip-Hop legend might have hosted his most recent album listening party at Prince’s house in 2006, Timberlake, who was on his way to being crowned the new generation’s king of pop, hosted listening parties for Futuresex/Lovesounds inside various Best Buys in select cities throughout the country. Not only did the move leave critics and audiences in both awe and admiration for the already extremely talented artist, but the reports that surfaced of his kindness towards guests and Best Buy employees further solidified his nice guy persona and pop star next door appeal.