So, exactly one year ago today, Kanye released his masterpiece, MBDTF — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. While many ambitiously set out to tackle and incorporate a wide-range of sounds, few have done so without mistake; none with the perfection that ‘Ye did on Twisted Fantasy. Ultimately, this should go down as one of the top 10 or 15 hip-hop records of all time. Progressively-speaking, it’s in the same vein as It Takes A Nation Of Millions, The Chronic and Ready To Die. Like those albums, Twisted Fantasy really carved out a lane of its own, and nothing else sounds even remotely close — aside from WTT, which Kanye, obviously, had a major role in. Listening to great soul and funk albums from the late 60s and early 70s (i.e. The Payback, Go For Your Guns), this strikes a familiar chord there, as well. Long songs, cinematic music.
While there was quite a bit of hype surrounding this album’s release — from the G.O.O.D. Friday’s to the 30-minute Runaway video — as well as controversy — Taylor Swift, Amber Rose, etc., Kanye met every single expectation. And then some. The team ‘Ye put together, secluding him — and them — in Hawaii, is top-notch: Pusha T, No. I.D., Jay-Z, Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, so on and so forth. The range of topics he was able to touch on — which were endless as they were laid over incredible, diversely-influenced production. Of course there was Runaway, Hell Of A Life and Blame Game, clearly spiked by his tumultuous relationship with Amber Rose. But there was also Gorgeous and Power. The former is some of the best shit he’s ever spit. Lost In The World is phenomenal, as well.
What’s left to be mentioned? Dark Fantasy (which leaves with no choice but to bob the shit outta your head after he jumps in, “I fantasized bout this back in Chicago”; All Of The Lights (featuring every one from Alicia Keys to Elton John); Monster (which features the perhaps Nicki Minaj’s best verse to-date); So Appalled (featuring Hov, Pusha and Cyhi); and Devil In A New Dress (featuring Ross, a great Smokey Robinson sample and awesome guitar solo). So yeah, this was a pretty damn good album and body of work. Forget singles and radio smashes, this is a 70-minute work of art.
It will be interesting to take this similar “look back” five years and ten years from now, but I can’t see the value or quality of this sliding. If anything, the appreciation for it will be even greater. In the meantime, here’s to the one-year anniversary of the best hip-hop record — and one of the best records regardless of genre — in the past 10 years.