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6th December 2020

Record Reappraisal: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

It has been a wild decade for Kanye West, so we take a look back on the album released 10 years ago: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Record Reappraisal: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Paul Cook @ Wikimedia Commons

On November 22nd 2010, Kanye West released his fifth and most acclaimed studio album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. We thought it would be interesting to see how the album, and its maker, have changed in the last 10 years.

It has been a big decade for Mr West; he got married, fathered four kids, and became a registered Republican. Not to mention he was introduced to the world of Twitter. While he is currently a figure of controversy and ridicule – this album showcases all of his musical talents.

The $3 million that went into this album is enough to make your eyes water (much like Kanye’s’ twitter feed). And if that doesn’t, the cover art will. The painting by George Condo showing a phoenix straddling West was famously banned from public release and pixelated in digital copies. This notorious publicity stunt was all part of West’s plan to rebuild his image after his iconic 2009 Grammy’s rant.

So, post-Grammy’s rampage, he jetted off to Hawaii to clear his head. While out here he was inspired to make MBDTF and booked out a recording studio 24/7 until further notice. He flew out musicians, producers, poets, artists and even personal chefs – to help work on the project.

Sources say that he would work in 3 studios at a time, running from room to room whenever he was inspired. And after several gruelling months, he was finished with the album originally called Donda’s Boy, then Good Ass Job and finally landed on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

We start with ‘Dark Fantasy’ – a retelling of a Roald Dahl poem, told by Nicki Minaj which lulls you into a false sense of security while alluding to the themes of self-indulgence and excess. The album then moves onto track after track of immense forms of collaboration, big name artists and intense distortion. These moment of darkness are filled with pop-culture references and moments of crass relief, like Chris Rock’s monologue on ‘The Blame Game’.

West brought sampling back with this album. He references everyone from poets to civil rights activists and splices them seamlessly amongst clashing rock and gospel notes. On MBDTF, he knowingly pulls together worlds that were previously unaware of each other – to create the diverse nuances of human emotions.

Different distortions of three words in one line, show the clash of Kanye’s inner monologues as he explores fame, past relationships and the terrifying isolation of it all.

When you look deeper into the album, you might find that it is scarily relatable. Scary in the sense that you might have something in common with Kanye West! Now I can’t speak for your experiences with liquor and hard drugs but we have all had feelings of stark loneliness. MBDTF perfectly sums up what it is to be human. And, that at the end of the day, we all have the same feelings of seclusion– regardless of how we got there.

Some say that MBDTF is Kanye’s best album and I would be inclined to agree. This album has all the classic Kanye staples – the samples, the beats and a chaotic story behind it. But it also is relatable and timeless. We must hang on to this last remaining piece of the Old Kayne because, to quote an earlier album of West’s, ‘man they don’t make them like this anymore.’

Tara Bharadia

Tara Bharadia

Section Editor for Puzzles and Horoscopes

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