If Hollywood has proven one thing, it’s that fame inflates the ego, easily turning the classiest of people into status driven jerks. But there’s one man whose ego might actually be too small of a vessel to contain his ridiculous musical talent. That man is Kanye West.
Kanye’s latest album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, MBDTF, is the fifth studio album from the iconic hip-hop artist. Only two years after his last album, “808s and Heartbreak”, was released, MBDTF is a masterpiece of hip-hop production. This is an album that goes and gets all that Kanye could’ve hoped for.
Kanye isn’t an artist to limit himself and it shows within the multitude of styles found on MBDTF. Hip-hop epics, R&B ballads, space funky electronics and progressive-rock samples, there isn’t much that this album doesn’t have.
In MBDTF, Kanye works his way down the checklist of his personal faults: workaholic, commitment phobia, loose cannon, substance abuser and arrives at what is almost preordained to become a classic.
The first stand out track is “Gorgeous” a collaborative track featuring everyone’s favorite emo-rapper, Kid Cudi. Kanye’s experience as a producer shines brightly here and the use of vocal tuning makes him sound like he is delivering his rhymes through a loud speaker at a political rally.
A couple of tracks into the album and suddenly, out of nowhere, the interlude that leads into “All of the Lights.” The track starts up sounding like a classical orchestral score. It seems to have gotten lost in the production studio and randomly found its way on the album. The rest of the track features a unique combination of a speed up djembe drum and brass heavy trumpet line and is an encompassing ballad about the constant spotlight associated with the celebrity lifestyle.
The highlight track of MBDTF is by far “Runaway.” At over nine minutes long, this track starts with a simple change of piano notes and then takes off faster than a rocket. The song’s title is in a sense instructive, serving as a warning to anyone who has been attracted to Kanye, or his gold. He acknowledges that he is a self-proclaimed jerk who has issues with intimacy and wonders why people put up with his behavior for so long.
The final three minutes of the song features a vocoder solo that is so well crafted that it draws the listener in a futile, yet enjoyable, effort to discern the message behind the noise. On paper this idea may seem laughable, but Kanye works his magic without ever breaking the spell.
MBDTF shows that an artist doesn’t necessarily have to have quality in character in order to produce quality in music. With a trance like flow in each song and within the overall structure of the album itself, the whole experience stays fresh throughout the entire hour-long experience.