Is there what we can call a definitive masterpiece among Kanye's back catalogue?
From The College Dropout in 2004 through to Donda: With Child in 2020, Kanye West has redefined the hip hop genre and has proven himself a force to be reckoned with in the world of music. With a career dogged by controversy and a very public battle with his mental health, what can't be taken away from West is the music and what will go down in history as hip hop classics.
Kanye West at WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards 2019 / Photo Credit: Anthony Behar / SIPA USA / PA Images
With Betway recapping on Kanye West's best album, now may be the time to revisit My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (MBDTW).
The emergence of a masterpiece
With West's public image in tatters back in 2009 following his infamous outburst at the Video Music Awards (VMAs), something spectacular was needed to bring him back into favour. What followed was to cement Kayne's legacy in hip hop history.
West's self-exile to Hawaii in 2009 was followed by his reemergence into public life in 2010. What he brought with him was MBDTF, and the rest, as they say, is history. Hitting number 1 in the US charts and selling 496,000 copies in its first week alone, MBDTF was met with acclaim by critics and fans alike.
With numerous publications hailing it as album of the year, MBDTF was never a short-term success: websites including Billboard and Rolling Stone have since seen it topping their album of the decade.
What makes MBDTF so special?
Recent releases from West have been received less than favourably: described as rushed, lackluster, and without focus. By contrast, MBDTF was born through hour after hour of planning and perfect execution in the studio.
Featuring artists as diverse as Elton John and Nicki Minaj, this album was a collaboration of pure genius, led by West himself. With other artists under strict instruction to remain focused throughout, West, it appeared, was seeking perfection. And perfection he achieved: with tracks such as 'All of the Lights' and 'Monster', West showed the world that, personal issues aside, his artistic credibility was unquestionable.
MBDTFs toughest critic
Despite commercial success and critical acclaim, there was one person who would never see it as Kanye's greatest work. That one person is Kanye West himself who isn’t shy of a media storm through his interviews. Perhaps driven by his tarnished reputation, MBDTF was the album where West gave audiences what they wanted and regained their favour.
The man himself proclaims that 808s & Heartbreak and Yeezus were his greatest works. Seeing these as the music that he actually wanted to make, rather than the music to please an audience, West holds these albums in much greater esteem than MBDTF.
Whatever West's personal opinions on the album, MBDTF was the first-ever hip hop album to be named Pitchfork Album of the Year, opening a wave of hip hop artists to follow in his footsteps.
From Jackass to genius
Barack Obama may not be the go to person in all things music, but West's antics in 2009 saw Obama brand him as a "jackass". Fast forward a year and legends such as Elton John were referring to MBDTF as " a genius record."
With the opening track of MBDTF asking " Can we get much higher?", it appears that the answer is no: West has yet to surpass the masterpiece he created in 2010.
Lana Del Rey takes her 60s vintage aesthetic to the extreme with the video for new single 'Chemtrails Over The Country Club'.