We went back to the end of Ye's presidential campaign and collected nearly every notable headline until his recent post-Kanye interview, breaking down all the big headlines down by genre to make it all easier to digest.
This was the big one. Ye's huge year really got started over the summer, when the DONDA train began to leave the station.
Album covers leaked (or not), the remixable Stem Player suddenly surfaced, Apple teased new music, something called DONDA Academy was born, Ye began following people back on Instagram, and Marilyn Manson was platformed (and then again, after DONDA dropped).
Finally, when DONDA actually arrived, it didn't actually drop. Ye protested, claiming that his label released it early and continued tinkering it, eventually leading to DONDA Deluxe, which includes previously unreleased tracks.
The power of DONDA can be quantified, kinda, when you consider the $75k sale at auction of the of the DONDA bulletproof vest that Ye wore at the second Atlanta show. An ordinary police uniform was elevated into a five-figure collectible simply because Ye wore it and it's associated with an album inspired by his mother.
DONDA was objectively Ye's biggest musical move of the year — despite the debut of YEEZY SOUND, the song Ye produced for Lil Nas X, and the Larry Hoover Benefit Concert (more on that later — and we'll continue feeling its reverberations for years to come.
It was a massive year for Ye's wardrobe, to say the least. Ye's style is already a pretty fluid thing but he underwent a couple massive transformations this year, constantly pulling pieces from luxury labels, surprising sources, and his own lines.
To kick off a few selected highlights: Ye wore a surprising amount of Nike this year — including a hot new collab — despite his adidas allegiance but if Ye wants to wear Vandals, who's gonna tell him not to?
Ye got a baffling haircut, perhaps his only objectively bad stylistic move of 2021.
Though Ye and Kim had been fans for a while, it wasn't until Demna's Balenciaga couture show that Ye and Demna's lives became wholly intertwined.
Nowadays, the two are so tight that Ye gives Balenciaga shoes away to guests who visit the YEEZY offices.
The eponymous line that's made Ye a billionaire kept on trucking this year, as YEEZY issued a ton of headline-worthy drops in between random releases of different colorways.
YEEZY DAY alone was a huge deal, reissuing a spate of classic colorways and kicks, but the major moments include the arrival of the giant, puffy NSLTD BT, the sporty BSKTBL KNT, and wild-looking KNIT RNR, which all take the YEEZY line-up to new heights of futuristic footwear.
Among the fan-favorites getting new looks were the BOOST 350v2, Slide and Foam Runner, joining the truly imposing 450 in getting a welcome facelift. All of these drops, like everything YEEZY, sold out swiftly.
It all began with the blue Round Jacket, the first original YEEZY GAP design, which went up for pre-order in early June. The puffy, nearly shapeless layering piece then dropped in black and red, eventually followed by the so-called "Perfect Hoodie" in various hues before a three-piece Round Jacket restock finished 2021's drop rollout.
Both the jacket and hoodie were cut boxy and cropped, priced higher than the normal GAP fare to accommodate the hype and boosted fabrication. Reviews were mixed but these pieces live up to the "Yeezy for all" ideology that Ye's mentioned before: though YEEZY GAP isn't exactly "cheap," it's more affordable than YEEZY SEASON and feels like a proper uniform for Ye's flock.
Unsurprisingly, every YEEZY GAP drop crashed sites, sold out and hit the resale market, even before GAP actually shipped out the pre-order buys. Don't expect the line to get any less buzzy next year.
Perhaps it was his break-up that got Ye inspired to make up. Despite the aforementioned clashes with Drake — which got real ugly at one point — the two got over whatever arbitrary "beef" they'd been holding to come together for December's Larry Hoover Benefit Concert.
One of the year's wildest tickets, the charitable Larry Hoover concert drew acclaim from fans not only for the unique take on classic tunes (or merch) but because the event represented two pop culture titans moving beyond petty squabbling to support a cause they both believe in.
All that's left to wonder is whether we'll be seeing Ye join Louis Vuitton in 2022.