Hear Madonna on Kanye West’s ‘Highlights’ Early Version
Kanye West's The Life of Pablo —now available as a "Tidal exclusive," and the far-more-popular "illegal download"— includes songs that are great enough to keep fans coming back for more, even as they struggle with his increasingly unfortunate tweets. One thing it doesn't include is a Madonna feature, as her vocals on album track "Highlights" were replaced with those of Young Thug, with backup vocals by The-Dream, R&B/gospel singer Kelly Price and R&B/pop veteran El DeBarge. But the earlier version has surfaced online, so Madge devotees can hear what might have been.
The Madonna version comes courtesy of Joel Miles, aka rapper Bobby James, who says he was also called by Kanye to work on T.L.O.P. And while Miles' recorded vocals also ended up on the cutting room floor, he's shared their studio session on Facebook. Madonna's voice comes in at the top of the clip, and sounds like it's AutoTuned within an inch of its life (in other words, as manipulated as Young Thug's are). Listen below.
My Bro King Mez got called in to work on Kanye's album "The Life of Pablo". He allowed me to come along and be a fly on the wall. While he was working on the project I had the opportunity to record vocals myself to a song called "Highlight" which at the time featured Madonna. Although my vocals didn't make it, it was a crazy experience none the less. Here is a video of us in the studio working/vibing to "Highlight" before its final stage.
Posted by Joel Miles on Sunday, February 14, 2016
As for the current, final (?) version of T.L.O.P, while Kanye maintains it'll never be on Apple and "never be for sale," the New York Times reports there's "talk" of a deluxe physical edition in the works. Meanwhile, piracy-tracking site TorrentFreak claims the album was illegally downloaded over 500,000 times within 24 hours of its February 14th Tidal release. Given T.L.O.P's original listed price of $20 on Tidal (for a downloadable product many pre-order customers are still waiting to receive), that puts him out at least $10 million on potential album sales. Personally, neither love nor money nor Beyonce will ever lead me to participate in the data extortion that is Tidal's mandatory trial membership (which I'll definitely forget to cancel), so here's hoping that physical edition lands sooner than later.