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Rockin' Our Turntable: Kanye West

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 24, 2010 4:40PM

2010_11_Kanye_MBDF.jpg “Kanye West” is a publicly developing art project. His “Loading … In Progress” bar never reaches completion. We get snapshots of certain moments of his development - his Tweets, his G.O.O.D. Friday tracks, his junk - and this is all fascinating stuff to be sure. But none of this would continue to fascinate us if the man didn’t have the fucking talent to back it up. His latest album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, once again provides him the bedrock upon which to lay his bravado (and insecurities), and the resulting construct swirls into the sky to overshadow West's peers (if he can even be said to have peers any more).

The public heard the majority of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy before it even came out courtesy West’s steady sharing of the songs that would appear on the album. A few of the tracks are in radically different form - the excellent “Runaway” stretches to over nine minutes and includes a soulful “guitar solo” that gradually reveals itself to actually be West’s heavily treated voice - and all the music stands transformed courtesy of the album’s sequencing. The party posse track “Monster” is sprawling braggadocio on its own, but sandwiched between the tender “All Of The Lights” and the woozy drunk of “So Appalled” it becomes a brief burst of pride surrounded by self doubt.

West’s ambition is unusual in the milieu of mainstream hip-hop, and his sonic adventures are both extravagantly artsy and undeniably catchy. He’s a musical omnivore in the truest sense, constantly on the lookout for unique layering of sound upon which to lay his steadily improving rhymes, equal parts asshole and scared little boy, and the results are constantly shifting to reveal new delights. Is My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy a game changer whose impact will change the course of popular music? No, but it is one of the most satisfying and surprising albums’ of the year.