A Dark Twisted Masterpiece
Kanye West has soared to new limits, painted his Sistine Chapel, and unleashed his masterpiece onto the world. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is, in simplest terms, an epic endeavor into the darkest, and yes, most twisted depths of a troubled soul.
Musically, this album is nearly flawless, sampling prog-rock, electronica, and good ol’ hip-hop beats to create a melodic myriad of sheer genius. However, the most captivating element is the level of raw emotion and soul contained within the record. West discusses every element of his complex life, for he has no regards for hurt feelings and spares no subject. “Runaway,” the lead single off the LP, has West doing the complete opposite. He does not stray from honesty, buts provides a truly introspective look at the core of his soul while setting the albums tone.
However, the beauty is first glimmered in “Gorgeous,” featuring the ever-talented Kid Cudi, and both deliver to the fullest. West raps, “Is hip hop just a euphemism for a new religion/ the soul music for the slaves that the youth is missing” – a wonderful commentary discussing the current state and potential power of the hip-hop culture. This declaration continues with “So Appalled,” which brings us back to the roots of hip-hop: crude and not afraid to make a statement.
West’s roller coaster ride then dives into “Monster,” and takes us to the darkest crevices of his mind. This hip-hop ensemble cast has Jay-Z providing one of the best performances on the album, along with Ms. Nicki Minaj’s breathtaking flow.
Overall, the most compelling and influential song on the record is “Power,” where the music and lyrics are perfectly drawn together. When West says “I’m livin’ in the 21st Century/ doin’ something mean to it/ do it better than anybody you ever seen do it,” he asserts that he has set the standard and raised the bar. This track is what rap should aspire to be. From beginning to end, it is a mind-blowing ride.
All in all, West has created one of the most beautiful hip-hop albums in the history of this genre. However, more imperatively, this album is perhaps one of the most important of our time. Kanye has shown that innovation and originality has not died in this oftentimes over-processed, undercooked music world, but that this art form is very much alive and well.