Kanye West’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Turns 10. Is It His Best Album?
One decade ago (November 22, 2010), Kanye West released a blockbuster album in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Whereas 2008’s 808’s & Heartbreak confronting loss and lust with sounds that veered beyond ‘Ye’s first three albums, 2010’s M.B.D.T.F. marked a return to form, even if it was nothing like the Roc-A-Fella Records mid-2000s run.
Just as Kanye West did so amazingly on his College Dropout debut, his fifth album played god with casting. “Monster” was the latest and boldest in the power-cypher revival. The explosive lineup of Rick Ross, JAY-Z, and ‘Ye returned the rapper to his MC status. However, all knowingly, West gave way to Nicki Minaj, who stole the show in one of her breakthrough lyric-benders. The hardcore Hip-Hop sound was at play on this album, even if West outsourced many of the duties from Nicki, Raekwon, Pusha T, and others. “Runaway” welcomed King Push to G.O.O.D. with a melancholy tale about taking the blame for failed relationships. Kanye built the track with a far-reaching Pete Rock drum riff, adding his evocative pianos and effects. Moments later, “Hell Of A Life” took a vodka shot and turned the page, looking for the next fling. West masterfully balanced rapping with some of the style he etched on 808s. ‘Ye blurred the lines of rough sex with racism in 2010s America. These confusing messages were never disjointed. M.B.D.T.F. was a lost weekend. At times, it was sophomoric; in other places, deeply profound. “Lost In The World” was a loner’s croon. “All Of The Lights” did the same, walking the line of sanity in unreasonable times. “Power” was a cortisone shot of courage. West’s verses were smart bombs exploding around him, as the producer returned to sampling in the most exciting way possible. While the fifth album was a giant step forward in West’s directive, he did a fantastic job of pulling his roots with him. Although a challenging listen, “Fantasy” contends as Kanye West’s best, most complete, and most original album. No longer in anybody’s shadow, void of anything to prove, the G.O.O.D. Music founder lost himself in the possibility of his “power” and found his future.
On this week’s episode of Ambrosia For Heads’ What’s The Headline podcast, we discuss this album 10 years later—agreeing that it’s a classic, and debating its perfection, along with its place in Kanye’s catalog.
Here Is What Else Is Happening Of Note:
Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun album turns 20. Check out this 15-year-retrospective by Amanda “Bonita” Mester that Ambrosia For Heads published back in 2015: 15 Years After Releasing “Mama’s Gun,” Erykah Badu Remains As Cleva As Ever.
DJ Kay Slay assembles a power-posse for “Rolling 50 Deep.” The song involves Sheek Louch, Styles P, Benny The Butcher, Bun B, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, AZ, Papoose, Ransom, Memphis Bleek, M.O.P., Dave East, 3D Natee, Joell Ortiz, Saigon, Mistah F.A.B., Chris Rivers, Jon Connor, Twista, E-40, Nino Man, Shoota, Mysonne, Sauce Money, Ice-T, Trick Trick, RJ Payne, E-A-Ski, Fred the Godson, Loaded Lux, Termanology, Young Noble, EDI, Locksmith, Cassidy, Maino, Vado, Rockness, DJ Paul, MC Gruff, Stan Spit, Uncle Murda, Cory Gunz, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Trae Tha Truth, Hocus 45th, and Royce 5’9, and comes to video form. The monumental track comes from “The Drama King’s” new album, Homage. (HotNewHipHop)
Lil Wayne has been charged with firearm possession and faces up to 10 years behind bars. The Young Money superstar was charged last Tuesday (November 17) for an arrest from December 2019. In Miami, the rapper—a former felon—was found with a gun and ammunition in his luggage while boarding a private plane. Nearly 11 years ago, Wayne pleaded guilty to similar weapons charges, which landed him in prison during the height of his music career—including a stay on New York’s Rikers Island. A hearing is set for December 11. (CNN)
Westside Gunn is in the process of working on a family-authorized documentary on fellow Buffalo, New Yorker Rick James. (Joe Budden Podcast)
Bobby Brown, Jr. has passed away at the age of 28. The New Edition superstar’s namesake son was found unresponsive last Wednesday (November 18) in his Los Angeles, California home. (TMZ)
#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads’ official playlist, featuring new music by 2 Chainz, Ill Bill, Pharoahe Monch, Conway The Machine, Lyric Jones, Busta Rhymes, Jack Harlow, Rakim, Kendrick Lamar, REASON, MC Eiht, Kokane, Black Thought, and Benny The Butcher, among other new songs: