When Does 'Cruel Winter' Come Out? "Round And Round" Is Only The First Of Many Tracks

The most talented self-promoter in rap decided to pull a Beyoncé and dropped his first single from the new Kanye West album Cruel Winter on the radio with almost zero warning: think a post on Snapchat here, a tweet there. Mark it in your diaries: 2016 is the year musicians slashed their marketing budgets to zero. Heck, even the title of the track is tentative: Big Boy explained it's either named "Champions" or "Round & Round" while on air, but even those might change. So what does this mean for the album? When does Cruel Winter finally come out?

As the name Cruel Winter implies, this album will be a follow-up to G.O.O.D Music compilation album Cruel Summer, and the first single features Kanye West, Desiigner, Travis Scott, Big Sean, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Yo Gotti, and Gucci Mane. That's a lot of talent on a track that's just over five minutes long. West stopped by the Los Angeles’ 92.3 radio show with Big Boy to premiere the untitled track, and apparently this might not even be the finished version: “We might mix it a couple more times before it’s up for sale,” Kanye said.

A "couple more times" doesn't sound terribly immediate, so if the single won't be released for a while, it makes sense that the wait for the album still remains as long as ever.

There are very little clues available, but here's what we've got. On Tuesday May 31, we saw Kanye West and Big Sean in the studio together thanks to Big Sean's Snapchat story:

This was followed by a short clip of Kanye rapping "Yeezy might have to put his Louis on."

So, what does this mean? They're clearly still recording. And, as the finished-but-not-quite-finished first single shows, they're also still working on production and mixes. According to Justin Colletti, a mastering engineer who has worked in the studio with artists like the Sugarhill Gang, Willie Nelson, and Flight of the Conchords and worked as a live sound engineer for Sufjan Stevens, Fiery Furnaces, and Amanda Palmer, "a good rule of thumb is to budget roughly 1-2 days and $500-$1,000 per song at the low end" presumably including both recording and mixing.

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Since nothing Kanye does is "at the low end," let's set an average of five-six days per song. Cruel Summer had 12 songs, so, assuming Cruel Winter will follow the same model, I'm thinking we've got between roughly 60-70 days to wait and we can expect the album around August. But why would Kanye drop an album of this title in the height of summer? So I reckon he'll push it back to September. Winter's coming, and, if this first untitled track's anything to go by, it can't come soon enough.