By BRETT BACON
Kanye West may well be the best hip-hop producer of all time.
Many hate to admit it, but “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” has vaulted Mr. West into the highest echelon of hip-hop.
He already proved he was one of the best in the rap game on Jay-Z’s legendary 2001 album “The Blueprint” and on his own “Late Registration” and “Graduation,” but his new album is more than the best in the game, it changes the rap game altogether.
“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is about Kanye’s ego, desires, failures and, of course, fantasies.
If you’ve been following Kanye, you may have realized he has been apologetic lately. After his infamous VMA outburst during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech and the South Park mockery, Kanye now seems to realize everyone hates him and his hubris. This is why “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is so great.
Right away, a British woman introduces the opening track, “Dark Fantasy,” like an epic and twisted fairy tale.
Soon after, a grand and beautiful chorus asks “Can we get much higher?”
Already Kanye sets up “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” to be a sprawling progressive rap epic.
The best way to describe “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is to call it schizophrenic.
In songs like “Power” and “Monster,” Kanye is on top of the world proclaiming: I know I’m an asshole, but it doesn’t matter because I’m the best in the world.”
The latter song, featuring Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, may have the best guest vocals of any hip-hop song. Here West is at his most boisterous, delivering his more traditional beats (similar to “Gold Digger” and “Jesus Walks”) but with an unprecedented swagger, which is saying a lot for Kanye West.
At other times, however, West beams down to us Earthlings and tells us his heartbreak and general disgust with the world, like on the songs “All of the Lights,” “So Appalled” and “Runaway.”
And then at times, to lighten the mood (but maintain tension), we retreat to the dark and strange sexual fantasies of Mr. West on “Dark Fantasy” and “Devil in a Dress.”
By the end of the album, it’s hard to know what to think of West; evidently, it appears he doesn’t know what to think of himself. Appropriately, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” ends on “Lost in the World” with special guest Bon Iver.
It’s a celebration of what Kanye really wants: love. The song swells from Justin Vernon’s simple auto-tune acappella to a joyous cascade of splendor.
Despite what you might think about Kanye himself, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is undeniably great.
Everything about the album’s production—from the samples, to the sound quality to the sound balance—is as close to perfection as any hip-hop album has ever come.
It is not only the best hip-hop album of the year, but it also one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.
Although some might hate to admit it, Kanye West is truly the best.