The guideline for most rap interviews goes as follows: ask how Rapper X got his start, how Rapper X liked working with this artist, and the one question that never fails is “So who are you influenced from”. The response you usually get out of Rapper X is: “Well I grew up listening to everything, so I draw influences from all over” or something along those lines. Kanye west has created a new standard for hip hop albums with his latest release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which dropped late this past November. His first album off of the G.O.O.D. Music label, Kanye West displays a more mature appreciation for music than he has on any other album. Kanye infuses a raw techno sound with strings and horns to create a sound unlike any other. He’s completely changed his sound from the “College Dropout” days. He features artists like indie folk singer Bon Iver as well as Sir Elton John, neither of which have much relevance in the world of hip hop despite Elton Johns VMA performance with Eminenm. The instrumentals Kanye uses reflect that of a man who truly listens to anything, thus making his album appeal to all listeners.
Listeners might however be disappointed with the content of MBDTF. Unlike his first three albums, Kanye is less politically and socially aware in this latest release. Rather than have an outward focus on the world, Kanye seems to have dumb-ed it down a bit. Rather than listen to Kanye’s opinions or views on the world, you see the world that Mr. West is living in. From this album you get a sense that Kanye’s established his swagger as a rapper, but all the success comes with a falling social life. In the song “Blame Game” Kanye describes a relationship gone bad that resembles the end of his long term relationship with long time model girlfriend, Amber Rose. In addition to new subject matter, his lyrics are a lot raunchier than on prior albums. The song “Hell of a Life” he opens with “I think I fell in love with a porn star, turn the cameras on she a born star”. Kanye seems to have a new belief system, this “I don’t give a fuckness” that only he understands and we the audience try to relate to. This new bravado makes his album almost comedic and leaves the listener asking “did he really just say that?” Kanye seems to have lyrically conformed to the rap game. I can’t say that the things he say set him apart from any other artist on scene. Rather than supply us with hood anthems like “We Don’t Care”, off his freshman album, College Drop Out, Kanye’s main focus seems to be women, wealth, and a good time.
Some of my personal favorites off the album include the opener “Dark Fantasy” which reels in listeners with witty metaphors, and a beautifully sung hook. Another, “All of the Lights” features a catchy hook sung by Rihanna, and is more of a typical radio track compared to the rest of the songs on the track list. It features the standard, verse-hook-verse format but at the same time has lyrics that don’t get old. All in all I don’t think I can name a single bad track on the album. Lengthy as it is, with a good amount of songs lasting five and a half minutes or more, I had no problem listening to it. If anything my only issue was wanting to hear more. If he keeps maturing his sounds and keeping relevant Kanyes career will have a “Hell of a Life”.