Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy [Album Review]

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She wants me to get a good ass job (just like everybody)…

Hidden amongst an interlude on his immaculate debut opus, Kanye West’s plans to end his college-themed series of studio albums with the comically billed Good Ass Job have been evident prior to his arrival of the forefront of the music scene. Fast forward six years and gone is the humble up and coming beatmaker from Chicago, replaced by a polarizing pop superstar, draped in Dior Homme, attempting to resurrect his career from its ashes.

West’s latest audio presentation, lengthly titled My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, takes Graduation’s format to new, grandiose heights, billed as “soulful stadium rock”. ‘Dark Fantasy’ sees the “Chi-town n*gga with a Nas flow” stroke his ego over the RZA-produced gritty album opener. The guitar riffs of ‘Gorgeous’ echo against cameos from GOOD Music’s Kid Cudi and N.Y. stalwart Raekwon as well as some of Kanye West’s best rhyming to date, chockful of his clever wit, brash nature and effortless honesty:

“Penitentiary chances,
The devil dances & eventually answers
To the call of autumn, all them falling
For the love of ballin’
Got caught with 30 rocks, the cop looked like Alec Baldwin
Face it: Jerome get more time than Brandon
And at the airport, they check all through my bag
And tell me that it’s random”

‘Devil In a New Dress’ reveals veiled recollections of West’s past high profile relationships (Alexis Phifer on the initial verse and Amber Rose on the latter) before giving way to Rick Ross’ robust turn after an exquisite breakdown of Bink’s soulful loops. The piano key-driven ‘Blame Game’ is easily the melancholic centerpiece of West’s exhibition. Accompanied by the graceful John Legend, Kanye West narrates his own confessional of a broken relationship from his past (Hello, Amber Rose?).

From the onset of the orchestral chants on ‘Power’ to the tribal drums and autotune-infested closer ‘Lost In The World’, it is evident that each record is designed to be a work of art, a sample of West’s vision of grandeur. One gripe would be the autotune being abused in spots, specifically the three minute-plus portion to close the Pusha T-assisted ‘Runaway’. High profile posse cuts ‘Monster’ and ‘So Appalled’ feel strangely out of place on the album of a man who once boasted “Least he still poppin’ in Japan, shoppin’ in Milan”, despite turning in vintage quotables from cocaine cowboys Jay-Z and Pusha T respectively. There are traces of each of the trendsetter’s previous albums throughout the album, but Kanye West’s drive to grow as an artist while evolving his sound is still at the heart of his music. No one man should have all that power, indeed.

4.5 spins (out of 5)

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