Kanye's most dark and twisted fantasy really is beautiful.
The windy city of Chicago really has had it's fair share of stars blowing a gale in the music industry over the last few decades, from R. Kelly to Common. Still it's Kanye West who seems to had the most universal influence. From his refreshingly hip-hop groundbreaking, classic debut 'The College Dropout' to his sophomore swagger 'Late Registration' and from his coming of age 'Graduation' to his beautiful '808's & Heartbreaks' (thanks for the inspiration K).
This year Kanye has received criticism from some questionable media outlets but he has answered to these Inquisitions with a barrage of classics that return him to his more edgier hip-hop side. A smooth but strong, spitting side which made him so renowned amongst backpacking, hip-hop heads in the first place. Kanye began removing his curse by gifting his fans with an incredible free track at the tail end of each week and after these 'G.O.O.D Fridays' (http://ampsand808s.blogspot.com/2010/10/review-kanye-west-good-fridays.html) Mr. West comes back with a great album to start the next 7 days.
If you've been keeping up with Kanye's 'G.O.O.D Fridays' than you will be familiar with some tracks off 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. The potent lead single 'Power' (which gave strength to 'The Social Network' movies TV Spot trailer) set off a group of hard hitting musical moves by Kanye, accompanied by some serious power players.
'Monster', 'So Appalled' and 'Devil In A New Dress' are three tracks which will go down amongst the best in K. West's catalogue solo or otherwise. The first two feature guest spots from everyone from Swizz Beatz to Bon Iver. Everyone steps their game up, especially Nicki Minaji on 'Monster', proving she's even hotter than forecasted this year. Still however West still holds his own on two crowded cuts beyond the production values, proving these tracks really are is.
The latter, 'Devil In A New Dress' has been adapted from the 'G.O.O.D Friday' version as Rick Ross adds a verse. A verse which Ross said was nerve wracking to do, but one which in this writers opinion is the best he's ever done. Plus with Kanye's versatile verses and hand tapping hook this track is fashioned into a hip-hop, catwalk, show stopper.
Since the recording of this album started Kanye seems to have been making frequent collaborators of old and new friends alike. From Jay-Z to Pusha T and John Legend to Raekwon this results in a regular frequency of familiarising favourites. West's hanging with the Wu-Tang Clan seems to have rubbed off on him (The RZA also appeared on 'So Appalled'). The beats on this album are at times dark but still with a twist of commercially viable Kanye beauty. The music in the opener 'Dark Fantasy' twists around so much it feels like vintage, disjointed Wu updated for the modern day. Kanye really has entered the realms of classic hip-hop via the '36 Chambers', or just spent a lot of time in the studio with The RZA. What results is one of the freshest, rawest things you've heard in hip-hop and on the contry to the contradiction. This is straightforward beautiful, g.o.o.d music.
Speaking of the collabos Raekwon assists Kanye on 'Gorgeous' which starts as a two man effort with Kid Cudi that is a good look. Cudi picks up where '808's & Heartbreaks', 'Welcome To Heartbreak' left off as both him and Kanye both lend a hand and some studio time to each other on their separate projects that are coming out round about the same time. Over sinister but cool guitar licks the Kid births yet another fitting chorus for West's introspective, back against the wall, down south, heading north lyrics. Cudi who is building himself a rapping/singing Mos Def reputation sings "I'm on the edge, so I aint playing, I'm saying, I will never, ever let you live this down, down, down." as West talks real, "Penitentiary chances, the devil dances and eventually answers, to the call of Autumn, all them falling, for the love of balling, got caught with 30 rocks, the cop looked like Alec Baldwin". Kanye really is live after all the Saturday Night disses, I guess their really feeling the 'Power' now.
With all the familiar collaborations it's one half of The Clipse that makes himself part of Kanye's G.O.O.D Family such a great thing. Pusha T pushes his alliance with Kanye so hard, the pair could form a group of their own or crown themselves on their own collabo album. After many incredible G.O.O.D feature spots Pusha makes himself the feature presentation to a T on 'Runaway', the song that accompanies the magical movie of the same name, which accompanies this album. Even on a basic sounding chorus "Let's have a toast to the d***** bags" this 9 minute classic has depth from the very first piano stroke.
The rest of the album doesn't get away from itself with a great reunion with John Legend on 'Blame Game'. You can start pointing your fingers at another timeless classic from Chi-towns finest and 'Hell Of A Life' is hip-hop heaven sent. Whereas the 'All Of The Lights' interlude and song duo give the album more deep themes and 'Lost In The World' and the Gil Scott-Heron 'Who Will Survive America' are a perfect, poetic pairing to finish this piece strong with meaning while the weaker critics are left reeling.
So Kanye comes back even harder, faster and stronger than ever and the results are amazing, so amazing. Even if he hasn't released other albums that were on the cards yet it doesn't matter Kanye is doing more than 'A Good A** Job' and the throne is his. Now all the hating critics can do is watch as the leader of G.O.O.D music shows the world he still loves h.e.r. TIM DAVID HARVEY.