Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

By Kara Perez, Contributing Writer

Hip-hop god Kanye West c/o Kanye West Hip-hop god Kanye West

Kanye West has done what once seemed impossible: with his latest album he has given the finger to the entire world, and we have thanked him for it. While his name was once a synonym for “the biggest jerk ever,” it is currently linked with one of the most daring, exciting, and great albums in years: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, released on Nov. 22.

The reviews have been stellar across the board. Pitchfork gave the album a very rare perfect 10, and Rolling Stone magazine called it “his most maniacally inspired music yet.” AllHipHop.com gave it a 9.5 and called his style “reminiscent of Hemmingway, where much is being said, but only a few words are actually used.” The album is currently number one on iTunes.

In “Runaway,” the album’s first big hit, West embraces his label as King Douche with bittersweet humor. “Hell of a Life” explores West’s end goal for his love life: get with a porn star. His future wife would have to be someone on his level, someone who has dealt with the same judgment from society as he.

“Especially if she can’t get that dress from Oscar de la Renta, they wouldn’t rent her, they couldn’t take the change/that’s a dress off her back and told her get away/ how can they say they live they life wrong/when you never fuck wit’ the lights on.”

“All of the Lights” is one of the strongest songs on an album of heavy hitters. Featuring Rihanna, Elton John, Fergie, John Legend, The-Dream, Ryan Leslie, Tony Williams, Charlie Wilson, La Roux’s Elly Jackson, Alicia Keys, and Kid Cudi, West has literally brought together some of the most prominent popular musicians working today onto one track. Its powerful horn introduction has the feel of a marching band ready to brag about its team. Instead, listeners hear a story about an abusive and repentant father.

It is tracks like this and “So Appalled” that make the album better than anything else in recent years. It is creativity at its purest. West has gone where no one else has even dreamt. He has created combinations of sounds and styles that are cutting edge. He is pushing the boundaries of what hip-hop is and succeeding brilliantly. “So Appalled,” featuring Jay-Z, is a return to the success the two found with the 2009 song “Run This Town.” The song also features Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver, a refreshing mix of old and new blood.

It is not only who he has collaborated with and the resulting unique sounds that make this album remarkable, but the fact that it is a return to 1970s track length. Seven of the songs are over five minutes. “Runaway” is 9:08 and its accompanying video is 35 minutes long. To get an audience to sit and listen to songs this long, to get songs over five minutes played on mainstream radios—this is a feat that can only be achieved by the greats.

West is not one to shy away from, well, anything. From calling out the President to upstaging America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift, the man knows no boundaries, socially or musically. For an artist, that is a gift. With this new album, West has injected new life into the hip-hop community, explored new musical avenues, and saved his own image.

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