Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
Masterful, mysterious & culture-altering; MBDTF may be hip-hop’s closest equivalent to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Featuring monstrous hit singles that supposedly had 5000 hours of work contributed (“All of the Lights”, “Power”) Def Jam records backed Ye’s ‘magnum opus’ to the tune of $3 million (USD).
The year is 2009, & a conflicted Kanye West has become America’s public enemy #1 following his infamous interjection of Taylor Swift’s VMA acceptance speech. In response to layers of harsh criticism, and a recent fallout with then-girlfriend Amber Rose, Kanye exiled himself to what would later be known as a “Rap Camp” in Hawaii, where he would go on to mold Hip-Hop for decades to come. Ye recruits only musical mammoths to this collaborative music experience; the likes of Elton John, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Nicki Minaj, Bon Iver & RZA, to name a few. During this multi-month period, Kanye works effortlessly in unconventional ways, only sleeping in the studio in stinted time frames of 2-3hrs. Surprisingly & still paradoxical today, Kanye West invited Complex journalist Noah Callahan-Bever out to Hawaii to experience, but minimally document, the making of the album.
The iconic cover artwork for MBDTF is often remembered for being banned by many Americans distributors for its graphic nature. This was Kanye’s intention all along when he linked up with New-Hampshire artist George Condo, who would go on to create 9 paintings to perfectly encapsulate the bizzarre genius of MBDTF in his typical contemporary form.
MBDTF would go on to alter hip-hop and pop culture forever, toying with previous conventions of music and art. Complex deemed it the best album of the decade & Pitchfork scores it a perfect 10/10, while it was easily crowned the Grammy for 2012 Rap album of the year. Mr. West’s 5th studio album is one of decadence and delusion; challenging listeners repeatedly throughout to open their palette to a new delicacy.