If you’re reading this right now, chances are you don’t like Kanye West. There are plenty of reasons to come to this conclusion. Maybe you hate him for ruining Taylor Swift’s moment at the VMAs last year. Maybe you hate him for using a substantial amount of Auto-Tune on 808s and Heartbreak. Maybe you hate him because time and time again, he came off as an egotistical asshole. Or maybe you hate him because you straight up just don’t like the genre.
Regardless, for whatever reason you don’t like Kanye, it ultimately doesn’t matter. Seriously. It doesn’t. You can hate all you want but it won’t change how much impact he’s had on the rap genre in the past decade. Is he batshit insane? Of course. But it’s the crazy people who put out the most noteworthy music (see Brian Wilson, Kurt Cobain etc). His new album proves that. That’s right. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is one of the best pop albums released in recent memory and in 10 years will most likely be viewed as a classic of this musical generation. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
The album starts off with a spoken word intro by Ms. Nicki Minaj and then the first sample erupts with a catchy yet otherworldly grandeur. Much like other uses of sampling of Kanye songs, it’s soulful but much is different. The production throughout the whole album (which is flawless by the way) is dreamlike, mysterious and uplifting all at the same time. “Power” combines King Crimson with tribal chants. “Gorgeous” has a psychedelic rock vibe with the help of Kanye’s “Robin”, Kid Cudi. “Hell of A Life” plays with the Black Sabbath “Iron Man” riff while “All of the Lights” (which is an easy contender for SOTY) starts with a tremendously grand horn section that eventually delves face first into a mosh pit of drum machines that turn “bumping and grinding” to spaz attacks. Then the second to last song “Lost in the World” turns a beloved Bon Iver song into a riotous celebration. Tracks jump from orchestral to soulful to heavenly to demonic. It’s musical bipolarity in its purest, catchiest and most refined form.
The rapping is back. Full throttle. There’s still auto tune here and there but when used, it actually works. MBDTF manages to contain the hip hop from Kanye’s first three releases while maintaining the minimalistic and haunting atmosphere of 808s. Plus almost every guest appearance on here is phenomenal. From Rihanna’s chorus on “All of the Lights” to Nicki Minaj’s verse on “Monster” that may possibly cause earthquakes for being too straight up awesome to Jay-Z owning life to Elton Freaking John. Yup.
When it comes down to it, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy reveals Kanye as both a hip-hop savior and a pop-culture burdened monster; a necessary evil for a music scene that’s too busy holding on to auto-tune and dance floor analogies to do something different. And here it is. MBDTF is a pop top 40-centric album that can be safely labeled as unique. Last time such a statement could be said was back in 03 with Outkast’s Speakerboxx/The Love Below. Will this album save the top 40 scene from mediocrity? Only time will tell. But one thing for certain is that you may hate Kanye West (and you probably will) but one thing is for certain. While there may be a lot wrong with him, he does know how to make pop music like no one else right now.
This is easily one of the most interesting and noteworthy pop albums in a damn damn damn long time. All coming from “the biggest asshole ever”.
Your move 50 Cent.
RIYL: being mean to Taylor Swift, calling presidents racist, gayfish