On Monday, Kanye West tweeted that he had changed the name of his upcoming seventh album… again. After discarding So Help Me God, then SWISH, then Waves, ‘Ye was left with T.L.O.P., a mysterious acronym that he challenged fans to decode.
To up the ante, ‘Ye promised tickets to Thursday’s Yeezy Season 3 show and a pair of Yeezys to whomever could guess correctly. Naturally, everyone — including we at MTV News — hurled out our wildest predictions, from the seemingly sensible to the totally bizarre.
That's the new album anybody who can figure out the title gets tickets to Season 3 and free Yeezys
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 9, 2016
But it was 20-year-old Dante Holley who may be the only person in the Twittersphere who, against all reason, guessed the acronym correctly: The Life Of Pablo. Kanye confirmed as much when he revealed the (hopefully) final album title on Wednesday evening, along with its (probably) finished tracklist.
Final track list for The Life Of Pablo pic.twitter.com/PMH94MAAeJ
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 11, 2016
Holley, a 20-year-old rapper and producer from New Jersey, is a huge Kanye fan who counts Yeezy as one of his biggest influences: “I wouldn’t be making music without him,” he told MTV News over the phone, about an hour after Kanye’s big reveal.
But Holley’s guess wasn’t just pure superfan intuition. He tweeted out multiple guesses on Monday night (including “The Last Optimus Prime” and “The Laws Of Power”) before deciding to dig a little deeper for legitimate clues.
“When I first saw [T.L.O.P.] I initially thought it’d be ‘the something of something,’ and then I thought ‘The Life Of The Party,’” Holley said. “But then I was listening back to the first two singles he dropped [“Real Friends” and “No More Parties In L.A.”] to look for clues. And that’s when I heard the lyric, ‘I feel like Pablo when I’m working on my shoes.’”
That “No More Parties In L.A.” lyric — which Holley said he believes to be a reference to Pablo Escobar — was all the inspiration he needed to write “the life of Pablo” in reply to Kanye. He sent the tweet (from @HW4LRecords, the account for the label he co-runs) at 10:37 p.m. on Monday night, adding just another entry to the flood of guesses pouring in from around the world.
— HW4L RECORDS (@HW4LRecords) February 9, 2016
Fast forward to Wednesday night. Holley was hanging out at home with his girlfriend when his phone started “blowing up” with Twitter notifications.
“I look at my phone and all these people were tweeting me, ‘You won, you won!’” Holley said. “All these messages started coming in from more and more people… and I’m not that popular! Then I saw Kanye’s tweet and… this is so crazy.”
As for the so-called final album title itself, Holley says he’s a fan… but he still doesn’t think it’s the best one.
“To be honest, I think So Help Me God was the best title ever. It was just so boss.”
Because you’re surely wondering, Holley hasn’t been contacted by anyone from Kanye’s camp. He doesn’t know if it’ll happen, but he (along with a ton of new Twitter followers who’ve congratulated him on the lucky guess) certainly hopes Kanye keeps his word.
“I hope he does,” Holley said. “If he doesn’t, I’ll be like ‘damn ‘Ye.’ I mean, I’ll still be a fan but I’ll be like, ‘that’s still kind of whack.’ If he does, he’s a man of his word and I would respect him a whole lot more. I would have no idea what to expect from the show, but I’d go!”
Your move, Kanye.