Kanye West’s ‘Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’

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By Wyatt McElroy, Assistant Reporter

With its 10 year anniversary just weeks ago, Kanye West’s magnum opus album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” was again trending on social media as many remember its initial release and impact. Just in the last few months, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”  was named the #1 album of the decade by both Billboard and Rolling Stone. Here I will be diving deep into the hidden narrative within the tracklist while also taking a closer look into some of Kanye’s lyrics.

On the opening track “Dark Fantasy,” Kanye raps about what he has accomplished thus far in his career, looking back at his past aspirations and reflecting on where he is today with a fair amount of braggadocio mixed in. The second track, “Gorgeous” shows Kanye frustrated with the oppression he still faces due to his race, despite his success in the music industry. West drops lyrical bombs containing some of the most clever writing of his career:

Penitentiary chances, the devil dances

And eventually answers to the call of autumn

All them fallin’ for the love of ballin’

Got caught with thirty rocks, the cop looks like Alec Baldwin

Inter-century anthems based off inner-city tantrums

Based off the way we was branded

Face it, Jerome get more time than Brandon

And at the airport, they check all through my bag

And tell me that it’s random

But we stay winning

Later on the same record, Kanye raps maybe the best lines on the song:

“They rewrite history, I don’t believe in yesterday

And what’s a Black Beatle anyway, a f****** roach?”

Here Kanye uses the lyrics of the famous Beatles song “Yesterday” to express his distrust of American media.

On the 3rd track, “Power,” we see Kanye reach a mental breaking point as he seemingly goes through a power trip, ending with a bi-polar crash in which Kanye expresses thoughts of suicide. The next song is a violin interlude, setting up the next track “All of The Lights.” The interlude acts as a portal, on the other side of which is Kanye’s ‘beautiful dark twisted fantasy.’ On “All of The Lights,” Kanye speaks on all of the sides of fame – the street lights represent the come-up, the bright lights represent the praise, and the cop lights represent the controversy. Though he addresses the dark side of being in the limelight, Kanye seems unfazed. He has been completely consumed by fame and is no longer regretful or self-aware. The next record, “Monster,” lives up to his title: Kanye has become inhuman, only driven by material desires as he boasts about himself throughout the track. Similar themes continue onto “So Appalled.”

On “Devil In A New Dress,” Kanye’s mental state begins to impact his love life as his relationship with a girl who he cares about begins to deteriorate. He realizes now that he must make a change in his life and return to reality. Then comes the emotional peak of the album, “Runaway.” It seems Kanye is now pleading with the women whom he loves to run away from him as he doubts he will be able to better himself. However, a deeper look into the track suggests Kanye telling whatever sanity and compassion he has left to depart as it is only bogged down by his own flaws. “Hell of a Life” shows Kanye failing his journey back to reality as he again fails into boastful materialism. It seems he is still with the woman he mentioned on “Runaway” and “Devil In A New Dress” until on “Blame Game” she has herself become corrupted and cheats on Kanye, as revealed on a voice message that ends the track. This relationship can be seen as a metaphor for Kanye’s twisted fantasy: it was something he thought he loved but it is ultimately toxic for him. On “Lost In The World,” Kanye finds someone else, a healthier relationship, with which he wishes to return from the fantasy.

The final song, “Who Will Survive In America,” is a sample of soul-singer and poet Gil Scott-Heron’s “Comment #1.” This again returns to the theme of American media. The album itself, of course, reflects Kanye’s personal life. The fame is what ultimately drove Kanye into the twisted fantasy after he was left vulnerable from the real-life death of his mother. Some of the final words spoken, “All I want is a good home and a wife and children, and some food to feed them every night,“ convey Kanye’s true desires as he continues his fight back to reality.