After he jumped on stage to interrupt Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs, Kanye West’s public image lost its shine. And being emotionally raw after he broke up with Amber Rose, the rapper disappeared to Hawaii to work on one what would become one of his greatest albums, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, released on November 22, 2010, is now known as the best rap album of the decade by some people, and consistently listed with the best albums of Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
Many people didn’t like West at the time. Even President Barack Obama called him a jackass for what he did at the 2009 VMAs. But after the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, many people stopped hating him — or at least made a distinction between his music and Kanye as a person — and he was once again at the top of the rap game.
He recorded the album at the Avex Recording Studio in Hawaii. He poured himself into the project, never spending a full night away from the studio.
He also enlisted the help of a Jay Z, Pusha T, Bon Iver, Rihanna, Rick Ross, Kid Cudi, Nicki Minaj, Raekwon, and John Legend, all of whom were featured on the legendary album.
There is more than just rap on this album. With songs like “Lost in The World,” “Blame Game,” and “Runaway,” you can hear the rapper including pop, progressive rock, electro, and other genres, creating a more diverse sound than many expected.
The first song, “Dark Fantasy,” sets the tone for the rest of the album, introducing many themes that were later heard. Rihanna sings the hook on “All of The Lights” which was one of the more popular songs, but the most listened to was “Runaway,” which was listed as one of the best songs of the year by many publications including Complex, Rolling Stone, and MTV. West said the song was about remorse for being a fool, but the lyrics, “let’s have a toast for the douchebags,” doesn’t make anyone think he’s feeling any remorse. He also released a thirty four minute film for the song telling the story of a phoenix that fall to earth, is mistreated by the world and eventually returns to her world after burning herself alive. “I’ve been feeling that idea of the phoenix for a while,” West said.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy won three Grammys in 2011, including best rap album of the year. The song “All of The Lights” won best rap song, and best rap/sung collaboration. The album went two times platinum.
Flickr/ Peter Hutchins