REVIEW: Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”

Kanye West / My Beautiful Dark Twisted.. / Def Jam

Two years ago, a Rolling Stone writer stated Kanye West likes the sound of his own whimper. Rubbing off the sentimental shtick, the Chicago hip hop artist has fallen in love (yet again) with his growl. What makes My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy an imposing release is not how Mr. West has confronted an ego bigger than Pac-Man’s appetite for yellow dots. What allures is the construction of the fifth studio album; how it spins like a record, with one outburst warming the throne for the next while being fondled by an elaborate score.

An antonym to past material, Fantasy throws the noble production of Late Registration and the venomous mouth behind The College Dropout into a bathroom stall and turns the lights off. “Why you standing there with your face screwed up? / Don’t leave while your hot, that’s how Mase screwed up,” proclaims West on the soul-driven “Devil In A New Dress”. The conflict between genders is a reoccurring theme, but it compliments the rapper’s intent to preach about the struggles a modern citizen faces. Tirades about life handing you poisonous lemons and being able to push on (“Power”, “Gorgeous”) play pick n’ roll to perfection with West’s copyrighted anthems burning with hate and audacity (“Monster”, “So Appalled”).

The round table of guests and crusades where the music tries to find it’s vocal chords could have been altered, but instead, get overshadowed. Fantasy’s production parades like a lovable class clown while stretching the rules of hip hop and pop music until they orgasm into a vulnerable state. As an artist, Kanye West may have painted his Mona Lisa. As a man, he’s living in the 21st century and if you haven’t noticed by now, he’s doing something mean to it.

Download: “Dark Fantasy”, “Monster” “All Of The Lights”

 

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12 Comments

  • Tev says:

    I can’t wait to buy this album on Nov 22 it going to album of the year it has to be or will he be cheated keep up the amazing work Mr. West

  • david says:

    Yo Tev, Imma let you finish, but Kanye had one of the best albums of all time!

  • Kanyefan says:

    Kanye = musical legend

  • Dr. Think says:

    I dig the review, kind of. I personally feel as though Blare Magazine should have given Kanye West’s MBDTF a perfect five stars for various obvious reasons, but the main reason is because no other album since the magazine has been reviewing and rating albums has impacted the music industry, pop culture, black culture, hip hop and society as much as MBDTF has and will for years if not decades to come. Also, MBDTF is without doubt the best album in comparison to all the other albums that were given the highest rating yet by Blare Magazine, namely four-and-a-half stars (out of five stars).

    For a better look at those particular albums, see below:

    (1) The Black Keys’s Brothers
    (2) Kings of Leon’s Come Around Sundown
    (3) Jack Johnson’s En Concert
    (4) Brand New’s Daisy
    (5) Fun.’s Aim and Ignite
    (6) Thrice’s Beggars
    (7) A Lot Like Birds’s Plan B

    Granted each of these seven albums is great in its own right, neither one means more to our culture nor has had more impact than MBDTF does and has. The fact that MBDTF has yet to be officially released and is making such a huge impact on society and culture is indeed most compelling. And while some other great albums worthy of receiving either four-and-a-half stars or even five stars (e.g., Manchester Orchestra’s Mean Everything To Nothing, Them Crooked Vultures’s self-titled debut album) might give MBDTF some competition, Blare Magazine didn’t even give them such a high rating, so I must exclude them from the pool of great albums to compare to MBDTF. So that leaves only Circa Survive’s Blue Sky Noise as the best competition for MBDTF, based on Blare’s ratings.

    Although Blue Sky Noise received four-and-a-half stars too, it actually and sadly pales in comparison to MBDTF in terms of lyrics, creativity, production and overall influence. MBDTF is simply a masterpiece; it is as epic as Homer’s Iliad, as beautiful and abstract as Jackson Pollock’s No. 1 (1950), and as mind-blowing and futuristic as The Beach Boys’s Pet Sounds. Having said that, MBDTF is the best and most timeless album since the founding of Blare Magazine, and is therefore deserving of its highest rating of five stars.

    Specifically, MBDTF fuses art, culture, several genres of music, philosophy, conflict, resolution, sex, and several social and politics issues, among others. Plus, the production is beyond anyone’s imagination, including Kanye’s. MBDTF has echoes of the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, or even Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We’re talking timeless albums of past generations that mean so much to us and that still stand the test of time. I believe MBDTF is our Sgt. Pepper, our The Wall, our Thriler. To that end, again, MBDTF is deserving of five stars from Blare Magazine.

  • favorsflav says:

    @ Dr. Think

    Bro, that could have been the biggest (definitely the longest) fanboy post I’ve ever read.

    You are like the dude that compares every hip hop record to ‘Illmatic’, its a futile argument, this magazine doesn’t cover black culture or really any hip hop besides top 40 artists. So bitching about Circa getting more stars than Kanye is not only ridiculous but irrelevant.

    This album is dope, timeless?….it hasn’t even come out yet, how on earth can you call it timeless? Don’t get me wrong this is a great album, but its not setting any new standards for hip hop, do you even you listen to hip hop? I only see references to beach boys and pink floyd, which by the way have no frame of reference here.

    Check out Freeway/Jake One – Stimulus Package or Nas/Damien Marley – Distant Relatives, both (to your standards) timeless records of 2010 and a lot more unpretentious.

    Try a different forum to voice your opinion, the smoking section is a start, and especially not a place that gave that bag of shit KOL album a few stars.

  • Michael says:

    nope favorsflav, he’s correct.

  • Dr. Think says:

    @favorsflav

    You may be right about some things in your response to my post, but I’d like to respond to a few things about which you are in fact wrong.

    One, I’ve never been the dude who compares every hip hop album to Nas’s Illmatic, even though I do consider it too as a masterpiece. Just because someone mentions that a particular album is a masterpiece doesn’t necessarily imply one is comparing it to another masterpiece. In fact, sometimes doing so is the most ignorant thing to do, especially when considering the fact that, in this case, Illmatic and MBDTF are two different albums and are of two different generations, despite their being in the same genre.

    Two, as a longtime fan of hip hop (as well as a huge fan of many other genres), I consider myself a scholar of music, possessing what I consider to be a keen sense of which happens are timeless and which aren’t. By the way, I own the Nas/Damien Marley Distant Relatives album, and while it’s a fantastic album, especially the song Africa Must Wake Up, I don’t believe it has had (or ever will have) the kind of impact that it should have or that MBDTF is having and will continue to have. And I’m sure both Nas and Damien would agree with me that MBDTF is a masterpiece and is very important to pop culture, hip hop culture, and black culture. So again, while Distant Relatives is a great album in its own right, it’s not a timeless album, nor should it be considered in the same vein as Illmatic or Stillmatic or even MBDTF.

    Three, to say the Beach Boys and Pink Floyd have no frame of reference here, or for that matter anywhere in music, is equivalent to saying Dr. Martin Luther King Jr does not have a frame of reference in politics and social issues of today. Both of their catalogues alone have influenced more of the music industry than many of the artists of the past decade or more, just as Dr. King has influenced politics and society in countless and immeasurable ways. I was just giving credence to albums that not only have stood the test of time, but also were considered classic albums upon their release, like MBDTF.

    And four, I do believe that you will think about and eventually agree with what I’ve written regarding MBDTF some months if not weeks from now. I have given the album a very thorough listen, and find it an amazing album that even my mother would like, and she doesn’t particularly care for hip hop except for what her grandchildren enjoy dancing to. Also, MBDTF is the album that will forever change the way in which music is produced, how videos are directed and produced, how albums are created by artists (i.e., more soundtrack-like a la Prince’s Purple Rain), and the way in which art finds it way into other musicians’s work.

    As a black man who grew up primarily listening to hip hop, R&B and to a lesser degree Gospel, whose musical palate has changed, and who some five years ago began to listen to and appreciate other musical genres such as classic rock, indie rock, jazz and classical, I believe I have a proper lens to critically view and review creativity and art in music just as much as anyone else who has a similar history or better. Perhaps you know a lot about music yourself. I’m not saying you don’t. I’m just saying that, given how Blare rated other albums, including Circa’s, MBDTF should have received its highest rating, irrespective of what kind of magazine it is. Because it chose to rate MBDTF, it has a responsibility to be honest and accurate about its reviews. Period.

    My personal opinion is that Blare went along with what it has been doing for a while now: simply giving spectacular albums 4.5 stars, at best. And maybe this is because it wants to appear as a critical reviewer of great albums. But, as Kanye himself said, how can someone review a song (namely, Devil in a New Dress) that has an original and authentic concept in hip hop that stretches the scope of what is considered great, only to redefine what hip hop is and can/should be, and how it is thus produced?

    Simply put, Kanye is on some new level sh*t, as was Miles Davis when he made Kind of Blue, as were the Beatles when they made Revolver, as was Nas when he made Illmatic, and as were OutKast when they made Speakerboxxx / The Love Below, to name a few. And your recommending Freeway’s Stimulus Package to me as a comparison to MBDTF is complete hilarity and perhaps preposterous.

    I guess you could consider this forum my “smoking section.” Perhaps I can turn off the The Chronic now and turn on MBDTF again. Or, perhaps I should listen to Freeway’s album as you have suggested. I’m sure there’s something to appreciate in it, no? Anyway, I think my point has been made: MBDTF is a masterpiece and therefore deserving of five stars. Peace.

  • Jess says:

    to keep it short and sweet, i really liked this review. great job Josh!!!

  • favorsflav says:

    @Michael: Thanks for the input guy, no need to elaborate.

    Great rebuttal Dr. Think, but you misinterpreted what I was suggesting.

    My point on Illmatic was this, let’s say a reviewer gave it 3 and a half stars and gave 808’s 4 stars, it doesn’t mean the album was better, they are two separate entities that cannot be compared.

    So maybe that isn’t what you were trying to get across, but complaining about 4 and a half stars is like complaining about an A minus.

    As for the beach boys, floyd comment. I could be the biggest Wilson fan on the planet, and I wasn’t saying they didn’t have an influence on music but there is no direct comparison to this album.

    I think we are a lot alike, music is subjective unless you listen to shitty music, that’s my take.

    You know your shit bro, I just think this isn’t the place.

    Thesmokingsection.uproxx.com

  • Dr. Think says:

    @favorsflav

    Much respect. I appreciate the dialogue. I now understand better what you were saying, and think you may be right about Blare not being the proper venue to express opinions about hip hop and black culture. And for what it’s worth, I would actually complain (and have complained) about earning an “A-,” especially after having went hard on everything, received flawless marks throughout the semester, and possibly set the curve for other students. I’m just saying, lol. I’ll be sure to check out the website soon. Thanks. Peace.

  • favorsflav says:

    Haha ya, I like being the medium, cutting edge of mediocrity….a C is good enough for me.

    I think this mag needs a hip hop writer, it definitely needs a bigger emphasis.

  • favorsflav says:

    FYI

    Not sure how legit this mag is, but if you deal with the business and labels not very cool to review a leak.

    I know advances were tight on this and deff weren’t given out here, and I’m all about free loading but make it closer to the release date.

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