Forget the Controversy: West’s Album Gets it Done

Is hip/hop supposed to be inventive? Could it be that the evolution of music is encapsulated in a controversial artist known as Kanye West? And can West match his notorious persona with his latest album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? Not only does West do this he far surpasses it in these musical masterpieces.

Don’t try to understand “Dark Fantasy” (the first track off the album) just listen. West steals from a multitude of musical genres and improves on them. This track sets the theme of the album in that you won’t know what to expect. That’s one of the amazing things about this latest release – the only preconceived idea you should have about him is that he should have amazing rhymes set to creative melodies; which he definitely delivers.

“Gorgeous” continues to reflect this album vibe as West spits rhymes over an infectious loop of a beat. The frustration of racist profiling and haters are prominent in this track where West alongside Kid CuDi and Raekwon don’t attempt to answer their critics. Instead it’s one big F-you to people who don’t understand them. “Power” perpetuates this idea as Kanye continues to refuse to explain his actions. He allows his musical talent to speak for him. “Power” has the sort of lyrics that makes you listen to them repeatedly to get the words – not just what he’s saying, but what is behind the lyrics.

Then there’s the piano intro to “All of the Lights” where West leads you into a false sense of security. Its soothing melody is interrupted by a female voice, followed by the declaration of MJ being dead. From there “All of the Lights” becomes a stream of downward spirals and entangled situations. Mixed in with slowed down instrumental interludes this track makes for an unpredictable rollercoaster ride of emotions. And you’ll enjoy the experience.

“Monster” featuring Jay-Z, Nikki Minaj, Bon Iver – Is it too soon to name “Monster” one of the top hip/hop songs of all time? If so, it should be in the conversation because it has one of the greatest beginnings of a song you’ll hear. “Monster” is also lyrically tight as each rapper gives attitude so over-the-top that they demand you to listen and you won’t be able to help it.

“So Appalled” featuring Jay-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz BeatZ & The RZA continues the rhythmic flow of this album. Although it is one of the weaker songs on the album that doesn’t mean it’s not a solid track. Still Jay-Z’s part is the best whereas in “Monster” everyone shined.

“Devil in a New Dress” featuring Rick Ross has a ‘70s groove that distracts from the lyrics, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Here the melody makes the song and shows West’s versatility as an artist. And don’t be afraid of “Runaway” featuring Pusha’s 9-minute track length. It will be one of your favorite songs off the album as piano and lyrics make this song seem shorter than it actually is. You’ll be having this on continuous loop in your mp3 player.

“Hell of a Life,” “Blame Game” featuring John Legend, “Lost in the World” featuring Bon Iver and “Who Will Survive in America” battle for second best on this album as each track while playing will be your next favorite after “Monster.”

Five albums in five years has been done well by few artists, and Kanye West has become one of them with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. For old and new fans alike, forget the controversy and just listen to the music.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 614 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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