Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

So we all know that I'm a hater. Not so much a player hater, per se, moreso an attention to Patton Oswalitan misanthropy, cut with a strong contrarian streak. I'm not proud of it, but it gets the job done. That said, I'm not impressed that much by Kanye West. Gold Digger was definitely a great track, and I liked his stuff with The Clipse, most recently that Kinda Like A Big Deal track that I recall playing a fair amount, but the undue level of attention that was paid to him seemed to be profoundly unwarranted.

I worked on part of the movie attached to this record and was staggered by the level of self-importance that it reeked of, even by hip-hop standards. Kanye appeared on SNL that weekend. I was in medias fast-forward when I noticed that there were lots of ballerinas and Yeezy seemed to be sporting a solid gold ring of laurels like a Roman Emporer. That was too much too pass up, so I tuned in. I was flabbergasted to see one, then a second song that lent a huge amount of credence to the idea that maybe Kanye actually has the shit to back up his talk. It really kinda rocked me, and I was profoundly irritated that I deleted the show and couldn't revisit it to see if I had lost my mind. I eventually cut to the chase and grabbed the record. Having listened to it a dozen or so times since, I have to say that I'm pretty sure My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is brilliant. Really.

I'm as shocked as you are, but I have to say that there is not a bad track on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, not even the staggeringly narcissistic Chris Rock pastiche or the Bon Iver collabo. This is Kanye's Marvin Gaye turn. He bares his soul over every track in an unrestrained fashion not seen since The Lover Man dominated the scene. That's not a douchey bit of hyperbole: every track is filled with naked candor, whether it be his sexual obsession(s), self-loathing, raging arrogance, fear of intimacy or a hundred other artistic traits backed by some serious tracks that sample equally from Rick James and King Crimson and feature hip-hop star power on the level of Kanye, Nicki Minaj, Raekwon and Jay-Z. It really boggles the mind how forward-thinking this record is. This is the definition of next-level shit. Were this not to be a digital age, I could see My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy doing Thriller numbers. Really. It pains me to be on the same page as the Pitchfork set and mainstream America, but that unfortunate coincidence aside, JS-NYC couldn't recommend My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy more. The only shame is that there is no way that Kanye can possibly top this.


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