The critically acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has received great reviews. I decided to save this review for today. After a full week of listening to this album, I can give it a proper treatment. Enjoy!
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is Kanye West’s claim to being a complete artist. Being the producer of your album as well as the rapper has it ups when it comes to not being limited creatively. Kanye definitely did not sound limited. The album is a progression of rap, or better yet, a reflection of 90s Hip Hop with advanced production. By the end of listening to it, I feel Kanye asking all his peers to step up their game and save Rap from this bubble gum, ringtone phase.
Album rating: 4 out of 5
Pros: Production, Rapping, Content
Cons: Guest verses, Sound Mix
Kanye sounds like he is holding his balls while rapping. He is so confident in all his words. Every verse sounds like a first take. Not to say that he did not sit down and write it, but when he recorded it, it is as if he felt that one take was enough. I agree. Most of the verses don’t sound as polished as the guests verses do. There are several cases where Kanye mumbles his words and just continues to the next line. Kanye’s verses were more about being in tune with the emotion behind the words than how cool the lines sounded. I appreciated it’s more human qualities. The main theme of the rapping focuses more on romancing the devil. I say this because the content focuses a lot on porn, monsters, and having sex with nuns, among other things.
Kanye’s use of samples is so much more integrated than ever before. This is saying a lot because Kanye’s use of samples was always integrated very well into his previous works. This album makes the samples feel more original. The auto-tune needs to go. We got enough of that with 808s and Heartbreak. “Runaway” is murdered with it’s three minute auto-tune long harmony. Kanye gets very pretentious with this ending. Yes, it is his album, but why does he think we want to listen to this for 180 seconds? I had to skip that part after the second time. Sonically, even though Kanye plays with new sounds in most of his tracks, it is very hard to appreciate the experiments because they just aren’t mixed well. Besides those two negatives, in general, the production is great.
I can’t talk about features without mentioning the buff track “All of the Lights” featuring Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Fergie, John Legend, The-Dream, Tony Williams, Kid Cudi, Charlie Wilson, Ryan Leslie and La Roux’s Elly Jackson. Yeah, 11 people. Instead of everyone having a verse though, Kanye just mashes up there harmonies. I dare you to pick them out in that song. Thank God Fergie’s verse in “All of the Lights” is so short. If it was any longer, I would have said “Why is Fergie on this album?” That being said, her verse was cool. I repeat it all the time. Jay-Z on this album is, well, signs of things to come. Jay-Z is slowly making it very obvious that he can’t stand next to Kanye on the verses in “Monster” and “So Appalled.” Jay-Z’s best line in “appalled’ was a line from The Dark Knight. Let me be clear, his verses were good, but not amazing. Moving on to Rick Ross, the intro to “Monster” drowns out his little intro. But in “Devil in a new Dress” Rick Ross is on point as he adlibs that “uh” he is so known for. He is a little too loud for the track but I had studio headphones on. On regular speakers, it sounded cool. “So Appalled” also featured Prince Cy Hi and Pusha T. With so many foreign verses on this track, it sounded very normal compared to the rest of the album. Not a good thing. RZA’s voice alone made the song for me. It would have been great track if RZA had a verse, his chorus made the song in the end though.
I thought Mos Def, Common, or Q-Tip would appear on the album. The album gets soulful to a point where the commercial artists just can’t access.
“Hell of a Life” sounds like a bonus track, but a very good one.
“Who will Survive in America?” is a great ending to the album.
Highlighted Songs and Quotes
Dark Fantasy, “So much head, I woke up in Sleepy Hollow”
Gorgeous, “I treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS
I won’t be satisfied til all my niggas get it, get it?”
Monster, “I’m living in the future so the present is my past. My presence is a present. Kiss my ass.”
Devil in a New Dress, “You love me for me, could you be more phony?”
Hell of a Life, “Make a nun cum, make her cremate”
Blame Game, “I’ll call you a bitch for short, as a last resort and a first resort.”
Lost in The World, “If we die in each other’s arm, we still get laid”
Look out for Kid Cudi’s album review Sunday