Ten years after an early copy of one of Kanye West?s most celebrated albums ?My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? was leaked, protected by multiple passwords, fans have finally cracked it.
It was a Monday afternoon on 22 November 2010 that Kanye West released his fifth studio album after a self-imposed exile in Hawaii following a series of legal and public image controversies the year earlier.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was born, eventually earning West three Grammy?s among a tidal wave of other awards and nominations. It was worked on by Kid Cudi, Raekwon, Rihanna, Pusha T, Nicki Minaj, and dozens of other titans in the music world. But to the most die-hard fans, this wasn?t enough.
Throughout West?s career countless songs, albums and early copies have leaked, from as early as a demo beat tape from 1997 to early leaks of his (potentially?) upcoming album, Donda, just a few weeks ago in July 2020.
The entire Yandhi discography (which was set to be released by West in 2019, has been leaked repeatedly, with different versions of each song each time. Numerous compilations exist online.
With this knowledge it was only a matter of time before a full My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy leak surfaced on the internet ? this time, a locked full album months before the official release ? 9 July 2010.
An anonymous message board user had allegedly gained access to Hype Williams? managers email account and discovered the entire early album as a .zip folder, before facing the fact that all the contents, the entire discography, was locked behind individual passwords and a master password.
Hype Williams is the director who wrote the script for West?s critically acclaimed 2010 ?Runaway? film, among working with other artists since 1991.
The file was titled recordforhype.zip
Since that day there have been numerous attempts at cracking the contents of the locked folder, from attempting to read waveforms and compressed audio files to uncovering audio length guesses from the file sizes.
Attempts at cracking the leaked album were recorded immediately after the initial leak in 2010, again in 2011, 2013 and most recently in 2017.
The 2013 attempt, spearheaded by fans from the fan forums Kanye To The, is documented in a message thread that lasted 44 pages.
The artwork for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was created by George Condo, depicting West being straddled on a bed by a winged, armless Phoenix.
Since the last attempt by Ye fans in 2017 it has always been feared that the contents of the leaked .zip folder had become corrupted, and the much sought-after early copy of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was feared gone forever.
Then came the obscure, tight-knit, memeing, devoted fan groups of r/YandhiLeaks on Reddit, Kanye Leak Trackers on Discord and a last-ditched attempt for help on the technology corner of 4chan.
On Sunday 26 July 2020 the entire album was unlocked, just six hours after a lost-ditched appeal was posted on Reddit.
The master password that secured the entire album for ten years? ?wewantmoney?.
An anonymous user on 4chan by the name No.76948988 wrote: ?password is wewantmoney. it?s not corrupted. music sucks.?
The comment left by an anonymous 4chan user finally cracking the password, and leaving a scathing remark on West?s music.
The full leaked discography (and the passwords that cracked them, in brackets) is:
- Hell Of A Life (universecity)
- Dark Fantasy (tip)
- Power (horus)
- Chain Heavy (bronze)
- Ghetto University (bear)
- That?s My Bitch (prs)
- Runaway (weezy)
- Lost In The World (kanyewest)
- Gorgeous (mad)
- Monster (monsterous)
- Holding Me Back (nickiminaj)
- Devil In A New Dress (warnerchappell)
- The Joy (charliewilson)
- So Appauled (lion)
- Blame Game (apathy)
- Sweat On My Face (ending)
Reddit user u/TheRealMaker posted the recent appeal on r/YandhiLeaks that ultimately led to the attempt being posted to 4chan and eventually being cracked.
The r/YandhiLeaks cover photo is stylised to replicate the supposed cover art of West?s upcoming album Donda.
He said: ?One day it was brought up in my discord server (the Kanye Tracker) and I hadn?t heard about it at the time.
?I thought, ?Oh s***, we really could get this pretty easily if we all get together and get some hype for it,? so we decided to post on r/YandhiLeaks about it to generate interest.
?We didn?t think anything would come from it, but then we found one of the missing passwords for a song. Then another. Then another. Then another.
?And we found 5 passwords that were missing for 10 years in 30 minutes.?
The replies to the anonymous 4chan user who posted the master password, unlocking a 10-year mystery, document the historic moment and excitement.
?idk who you are but you literally just solved a grail thats been tried to be cracked for 10 years.? was the first reply.
?Anon idk how you did it but you cracked the code,? another user wrote.
Another anonymous user said: ?This random anon doesn?t realise he has just become part of music history.?
A part of internet history he became, a 10-year old mystery cracked in just 6 hours on a Sunday night. All the files are legitimate, with some songs sounding almost completely different at some points (the opening of Dark Fantasy sounds so different by Nicki Minaj in this version, and in Blame Game West sings the chorus himself, instead of John Legend).
Over on r/YandhiLeaks the excitement is still ongoing.
u/chimp_chunk wrote: ?LETSSSSS GOOOOO? while u/ejlaohrbdbeb wrote: ?literally history?.
?This is history on god? wrote u/jjdnorthpark, with u/Basicallyabush simply writing: ?nice?.
The full 16 song leaked discography from recordforhype.zip is above. It shows the file sizes in MB for each, followed by ?HW? after each song, indicating they were originally for Hype Williams himself.
A statement released by the moderators of r/YandhiLeaks reads: ?At our core, we?re just a community of especially engaged and dedicated Kanye fans. We love his music and career, every part of it, and thrive on digging up and filling in parts of his history that have been left to be forgotten, giving life to albums and songs that regularly would be lost to the cutting room floor.
?Some of us like to look at it as a larger lost-media type of project, preserving important artifacts behind the development of his most famous albums. Others just love his music and want to hear as much as they can.
?We have an incredibly active and talented group of users here that can accomplish just about anything, from editing, to restoring, to cracking a ten-year mystery like we saw last night.
?But as I said in the beginning, we?re all just fans at the end of the day. We love Kanye West?s music, and we?re willing to dedicate a huge amount of time and energy to it.?
Across each track, repeatedly, is an overlay reading: ?This copy is for Hype Williams?, which has already become a meme across Reddit and Discord.