Nicki Minaj blocks release of Kanye West collaboration, postponing his new album

Nicki Minaj and Kanye West. Photograph: Getty Images
New Body, which dates back to 2018, was expected to be released on Friday on West’s album Vultures, with West instead announcing first footwear project ‘since liberation from Adidas’

Nicki Minaj has blocked the release of New Body, a collaborative song with Kanye West, causing a postponement of the release of West’s new album Vultures.

West was due to release Vultures, a full-length collaboration with vocalist Ty Dolla $ign, on Friday. But shortly after the expected release, he posted a message to Minaj on social media reading: “May I call you about clearing new body on the new album”.

Minaj responded on an Instagram livestream, saying: “Regarding Kanye: that train has left the station, OK? No disrespect in any way. I just put out a brand new album. Why would I put out a song that has been out for three years? Come on, guys.”

New Body, an ode to plastic surgery, actually dates back even further, to 2018, when it was earmarked for West’s scrapped album Yandhi. It was then re-recorded for 2019 gospel album Jesus Is King, reportedly with a more spiritual bent and with a new Minaj verse, though that version was also never released. Minaj complained in 2019: “I done wrote three different verses chile, and I don’t know. We ain’t seeing eye to eye on it.” The song was also reportedly mooted for inclusion on 2021 album Donda. Minaj has since described the song as “the hit that got away”.

Since the release of Donda, West made a series of antisemitic statements that were widely condemned. Shortly after West praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, Joe Biden put out a statement reading: “The Holocaust happened. Hitler was a demonic figure. And instead of giving it a platform, our political leaders should be calling out and rejecting antisemitism wherever it hides. Silence is complicity.”

A series of companies cut ties with West following his remarks, including Adidas, whose collaborative Yeezy trainers had been a huge success for the sportswear brand.

In lieu of the delayed Vultures, West has now announced Yzy Pod, “our first product since liberation from Adidas”, a sock-like footwear design priced at $200 or £159. The shoe is described as “the foldable future of footwear”.

Earlier this week West announced a new head of design at his Yeezy company, the Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy.

Rubchinskiy became a fashion world darling with his streetwear label, operated since 2012 as an arm of Comme des Garçons, prompting collaborations with Adidas and Burberry. But in 2018 he was accused by a 16-year-old boy of pressuring him to send explicit photographs, which Rubchinsky denied. A company spokesperson said Rubchinskiy was asking for casting shots: “Gosha has been doing casting by Instagram for many years now. It is a normal practice nowadays.”

This week Rubchinskiy announced he has left Comme des Garçons and is operating as “an independent creative powerhouse” while heading up Yeezy.

When Vultures is eventually released, it is expected to have collaborations with vocalists Chris Brown, Kodak Black, Young Thug and more, plus producer Timbaland.

Minaj released her new album Pink Friday 2 last week, which is expected to chart in the UK Top 3 this week. In a four-star review, the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis wrote: “You’re never far away from a furious dismissal of Minaj’s rivals, a witty highlighting of her abilities or indeed a glowing endorsement of her own vagina.”