One of the most eccentric, vibrant, bold, influential artists of our generation, Kanye West released his fifth studio album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy seven years ago today. The record stands as an ambitious and career-defining piece that challenged the rap convention, and still does so today. The record epitomized Kanye’s career and he returned to stardom. Seven years after MBDTF’s release, there is no denying that the album’s essence is still striking. Residing in this record, pieces of music that break the dynamics of human nature. Such intimacy attracts the ear, bubbles the brain, and raises the flesh. It is still one of my favorite albums of all time and is still generating massive acclaim and references throughout our culture of music. As a huge Kanye West fan, I find myself lingering onto this album with such connection and admiration. 7 years later, my adoration for this album still maintains in its finest condition. Now, here is my review of what I think is one of history’s most enigmatic classics. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Happy 7th Birthday.
1.“Dark Fantasy” (feat. Teyana Taylor, Bon Iver, and Nicki Minaj) (8.9/10)
From the beginning, the albums stands for business and there is an implication that that is all that it stands for. However, Kanye injects humor and fantasy into this serious realm, and it is pleasing. The song is introduced with Nicki Minaj reciting what seems to be a crude children’s book and it is very fitting. The song’s hook is beautiful and the instrumentals set a wild tone. This is one of the finest examples of musicality in the past decade. Kanye uses great imagery in his lyrics. One of my favorite parts of the album is when there is dead silence, like the song has reached its conclusion. Then, its menacing hook comes in, and the drama picks up.
2. “Gorgeous” (feat. Kid Cudi and Raekwon) (10/10)
Standing as my favorite track from the album, this song injects a unique attitude but still upholds the classic Kanye cockiness. The rippling guitar effects in the background give an abrasive tone to fit the overall atmosphere of the album. Topped with Kid Cudi hooks and fine lyricism by Raekwon. An extraordinary track that leads into another.
3. “POWER” (feat. Dwele) (10/10)
Kanye is in full control and this is the first track where he is in complete ownership. With a little cameo from Dwele, it exudes empowerment and strength. Kanye showcases that he is THE rapper. A pleasant awakening, nonetheless. The song’s vibrancy tells a powerful narrative and it is right to the point. Definitely a pristine highlight throughout the record.
4/5. “All of the Lights” (feat. Alicia Keys, Charlie Wilson, Elly Jackson, Elton John, Fergie, John Legend, Kid Cudi, Rihanna, Ryan Leslie, The-Dream & Tony Williams) (9/10)
The track is introduced after a melodic interlude is given. It’s as if the interlude is giving the listener only a minute to prepare themselves for the next song. “All of the Lights” resonates as more of a successful event than only a piece of music with Kanye and 11 other artists. No big deal. This track feels as if it is standing as a sequel to Graduation track “Flashing Lights.” It may not be as lyrically incomparable, but very wise for a single.
6. “Monster” (feat. Rick Ro$$, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Bon Iver) (9.5/10)
Everyone on this track delivers. From every aspect, it’s perfect. It all fits together. The production is immaculate with the lyrics and flow. Let us not forget the iconic Nicki Minaj verse that provides the most fire here. A noteworthy track.
7. “So Appalled” (feat. CyHi, Jay-Z, Pusha-T, The RZA, and Swizz Beatz) (8.5/10)
Another feature-packed track where greatness is presented. Lyrically it is very on point. Each artist and their verses bring something riveting to the track. However, there are moments where I wanted to rush through because there was nothing different. A great track though.
8. “Devil in a New Dress” (feat. Rick Ro$$) (10/10)
Sexual tones and instrumentation overflow beautifully and make this track enjoyable. Rick Ro$$ really performs well on this track. The sample in the beat gets a bit annoying, but it has to be there in order for the track to come together. Might I say that this track is definitely in the top 3 of my favorites on this record. Many components pose as stellar determinates in making this track excellent. Overall, another good track.
9. Runaway (feat. Pusha T.) (10/10)
What is the album’s most propulsive track, the song breathes hopes then flees onto the next track in the album? If I could rate this song higher than a 10, this would be a 100/100. The amount of emotion and passion in this song is unbelievable. From the moment it hits your eardrums, you can tell how amazing it is. People will look back at this as one of hip-hop’s finest moments of the 2010s and possibly of all time. It is not overrated, and I cannot find anything wrong with it. I have heard very few songs that are as polished and complete as this one.
— Only Hip Hop Facts (@OnlyHipHopFacts) February 23, 2014
10. “Hell of a Life” (8/10)
I think this is the weakest spot on the project, but it’s certainly not terrible. The production is dark and gritty. This is the only song where Kanye doesn’t have any vocal features to help him out, and it takes a toll here. Again, it’s not bad, not even close, but it still withstands as a very notable weak spot on the record.
11. “Blame Game“ (feat. John Legend and Chris Rock) (9/10)
John Legend provides ethereal notes here that seem effortless. The rhyme scheme is incredibly creative. Lyrically, Kanye once showcases a nature where he is strong and raw. Chris Rock provides, probably, one of the funniest things I’ve heard, while still making sense and keeping on topic.
12. “Lost in the World” (feat. Bon Iver) (9.5/10)
This song crescendos from a one-man gathering to a full out master party. This is a full out jam musically! Sexual undertones overlap the horizon of the song and it is pleasing to the ear. Another fine example of musicality. One of the finest finishes to an album I’ve heard. Just pure excellence.