Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rhymes: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Album Review)

Originally published at:

Grade: A+

What Zach Gase thinks:

Each Kanye West album can be described in a couple of words: "College Dropout" was soulful, "Late Registration" was orchestral, "Graduation" was synthy and stadium rock-inspired, "808s & Heartbreak" was raw and emotional and his latest release, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" is indeed, beautiful, dark, twisted and fantastic.

Lead single, "Power" has West rapping over a fantastic beat that samples King Crimson and a vocal chant from Continent No. 6's "Afromerica." The song is a standard rap song until a beautiful breakdown. "Fantasy" is filled with beautiful breakdowns on most of the songs, and features more guitar solos than some rock albums.

Kanye's growth as a rapper and a lyricist is evident on stand out tracks like "Gorgeous" and the Bink! produced, "Devil in a New Dress." The former West raps with a distorted vocal effect and a relentless flow, jam-packed with one-liners like: "What's a black Beatle anyways, a f****** roach?"

The track also features a stellar verse from Wu Tang emcee, Raekwon, whose appearance on the track isn't necessary but transcends a great track into an extraordinary one. Which is a common occurrence on this album.

"Fantasy" is an extraordinary effort mainly due to West's thorough attention to detail as every track is multilayered with different sounds that give the listeners something new each time they listen to it.

The second single, "Runaway" serves as the album's centerpiece. The nine-minute "ode to the douche bags" shows West at his most vulnerable, delivering autotuneless vocals that are more endearing than good. And the song is topped off by a phenomenal verse by Pusha T (of the Clipse), and a three minute long breakdown, which sets up the next track flawlessly.

"Hell of a Life," which features an intense distorted bassline, is the turning point for West's fantasy. On the track, he fantasizes about marrying a porn star, and eventually "divorced by the end of the night."

The John Legend-assisted, "Blame Game" is probably the best track on the album. It features a beautiful piano sample from Aphex Twin, and West raps about a troubled relationship, "I'd rather argue with you than be with somebody else." The almost-eight minute song features distorted vocals on some of West's most emotional lyrics on the album, a spoken word poem, and lastly a hilarious skit featuring Chris Rock.

"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" may be a mouthful to say, but is one of the most appropriate titles for an album. With nearly every track reaching well over five minutes, West has abandoned the traditional 3 16-bar verses song arrangements often found on hip-hop albums.

In a great year for hip-hop and music in general, West's release is in a league of its own. "Fantasy" is the culmination of all of West's talents, and could potentially go down in history as a landmark album.

BRL Rating: 10 out of 10 Beets

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