CD Review: Kanye Transcends Hip-Hop
Published: Monday, December 6, 2010 - 12:43pm
"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"
Released: November 22, 2010
September 13, 2009.
"And the best Female Video of the Year goes to.... Taylor Swift."
Applause thunders the room as the country heartthrob Taylor Swift makes it to the stage, a look of utter shock plastered onto her face. She starts to deliver her speech, thanking the fans for everything, and then, when she begins to thank her relatives, someone interrupted.
Kanye West, the Chicago-based producer turned rapper, jumped onto the stage claiming that Beyonce Knowles should have won the award instead of Swift. Boos erupted from the crowd and West left the stage, and the public eye, embarrassed.
Since then West has been quiet, falling out of favor with a lot of his fans because of his buffoonish comments. Everyone you could think of was disappointed by him, even President Barack Obama said that Kanye was a "jackass."
That incredibly negative public image stayed with West, until this past month.
With the release of his fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West goes back to what he does best: using his loud mouth to voice his insanity.
But this time around, West has created something more than just a record with Top 50 Billboard hit songs and looping samples. He has created an album the redefines the genre of hip-hop.
With more than 90 different artists and producers credited on the album, the music is a blend of all genres. Their are no clear Kanye West stamps that are put on the record, which requires the listener to explore the caverns of their headphones for all the different sounds and samples.
The blend of sounds is most apparent in the track "Lost in the World" where Kanye and indie-music sensation Bon Iver collaborate in a very minimalist Auto-Tune opening that turns into an 808-created beat with the spoken words of Gil Scott-Heron penetrating your eardrums.
The experience of listening becomes a fun mystery into what Kanye might treat us with next. Each song can stand alone on the album but when listened together Kanye's "Twisted Fantasy," becomes a reality.
Along with the album, if you purchase the deluxe copy, you get a DVD with Kanye West's 34-minute music video that uses all of the tracks from the album. To say the video is trippy is an incredible understatement, as it follows the story of Kanye West, a phoenix and some ballerinas, and includes some beautiful shots of Prague.
The movie is one of the most ambitious music videos I have seen a musician produce. In an odd way (without any real plot or messages) the movie is quite enjoyable to watch. In that way, the album and the DVD are quite similar. We are not prepared for either the CD or the movie, but as we look through the weird sounds and shots, we see the beauty that is Kanye's dark twisted fantasy.