My Favorite’s of All Time #6: Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

I remember very vividly getting in big trouble when I was in middle school – right around the time My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) came out. I don’t actually remember what I got in trouble for, but because I love music so much, my mom thought that a good punishment for me was to take away my Zune HD that I had recently got for my birthday. I was absolutely MISERABLE for the couple of weeks I had to go without it. I would try to sneak and listen to albums on the computer lol. I was literally FEIGNING for music. Looking back, that may have been an extreme punishment (as most punishments are), but I do remember the absolute JOY I felt getting my Zune back. And the first thing I listened to was Ye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

So I think it’s time for us to have a toast
Let’s have a toast for the douchebags
Let’s have a toast for the assholes
Let’s have a toast for the scumbags
So I think it’s time for us to have a toast
Let’s have a toast for the douchebags
Let’s have a toast for the assholes
Let’s have a toast for the scumbags

And I always find, yeah, I always find something wrong
You been putting up with my shit just way too long
I’m so gifted at finding what I don’t like the most

MBDTF is really one of the my beautiful moments of redemption that I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness an artist go through. After a really difficult previous year that included him drunkly grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift during that infamous 2009 VMAs acceptance speech, Kanye basically disappeared. Among other things, this is in addition to the rough 2008 he had, where he lost his mom and the ended his engagement with his then-fiancee Alexis Phifer. He spent the following couple of months in Hawaii working on himself and his music, and his 2010 VMA performance (which was also on my BIRTHDAY, so I was very excited!), was one of his first public appearances and performances since his hiatus. He took the stage in a red suit and red Louis Vuitton sneakers, surrounded by ballerinas, and backed by Pusha T’s A M A Z I N G verse. He admitted his faults and his humanness (while still seeming to be otherworldly), and he gave us one of the best songs and performances of his entire career. We would get the entire MBDTF album a couple of months later.

LOL this is really the perfect snapshot of my life back then. me facebooking about kanye’s performance on my zune hd!
i just……..this performance is ABOVE WORDS!

The project as a whole is absolutely fantastic. From the very first song, it’s clear that this project was not going to be the stripped down Kanye that we got on 808s & Heartbreak (2008). We were getting Kanye in full, vivid color. Instrumentals on songs like “Lost in the World,” “All of the Lights,” and “POWER” are in almost complete contrast to those on songs like “Love Lockdown,” “Bad News,” and “Coldest Winter,” where the production is a little bit more subdued, in order to emphasize Kanye’s voice. And that’s not to diminish how wonderful 808s is because I actually like both albums equally. But I feel like MBTDF is the definition of an artist going way beyond showing that they still got it. Ye had never really given us an album like MBDTF before. To me, there’s no other album that Ye has that feels as grand and bold as MBDTF does. There’s always this sense of tangibility I feel when I listen to College Dropout (2004), Graduation (2007), or 808s. Something about those projects feels like it was made by someone who lives down the street from me. But with MBDTF, I can feel the superstar power dripping off of it whenever I listen to it. Everything just sounds larger than life. And that’s not a bad thing AT ALL (because it’s being channeled the right way lol); Kanye deserved that moment to bask in the exuberance of such an amazing career.

Not to mention how GREAT the features are on this project. Cudi’s hook on “Gorgeous” is perfection; the sheer VOLUME of people on “All of the Lights” is astounding (not to mention how amazing and uncluttered the song sounds with all of those people on it); Nicki’s verse on “Monster” is iconic (despite me not being a huge fan of hers): and Push on “Runaway” is just…I just can’t even find the right adjective for it. I think that was the first time I heard Push and knew it was him, and I was thoroughly impressed.

Every component on this project WORKS! It’s the very definition of somebody like Kanye being in their bag. He’s already amazing, but when he’s in his bag????? You get a project like My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy that stands the test of time and allows for a moment of successful reconfiguration. I feel like this project is less about Ye repairing his relationship with the public and more about him putting himself back on track after having some pretty serious moments of difficulty. It was a moment for him to prove to himself that he is more than those moments. The album is triumphant.

And that’s what makes My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy one of my favorites of all time!


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