Why Kanye West and Nicki Minaj are hooked on tampering with their finished albums

In the age of streaming, an artist can endlessly tweak their masterpieces – but where does it end?

It has only been a couple of weeks since Nicki Minaj released her album Queen. You would think she’d be happy with the end result given she’s had four years to tinker with it (48 months is basically three decades in Drake years). Not so: “Just listened to [opening track] #GangaBurns after a long day & realized that I hate how low I made the hook. Gotta get it swapped out,” she tweeted hours after the album was first made available.

Until recently, Minaj would have had no option but to grumble to herself, joining the many artists, from Radiohead to Lorde, who loathe sections of their back catalogue. But now, she can re-record parts she doesn’t like and change the files on Spotify. Indeed, she has already added another song, FEFE, to the record, noting that “because of streaming, we can update the albums”. In fact, if you downloaded Queen, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and Travis Scott’s Astroworld the day they came out then, well, first of all you’re a very strange person who still pays to get MP3s, but also you’ll have outdated versions of those records.

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