Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Not A "G.O.O.D." Desicion

I recently rediscovered Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" album on iPod and have played it on heavy rotation ever since. This album goes 10 bumpable tracks deep (out of 13, roughly 77%) and it is far and away Ye's most diverse/technical/"artsy"/rawest disc to date.

Songs like "Gorgeous", "Hell of a Life" and "So Appalled" hit hard like the Chi-town wind on a winter's night, reminiscent of early days Nas or Wu-Tang Clan songs.

Moving forward, Kanye hits a home run with his 9+ minute, anti-love ballad "Runaway" (Rolling Stone's 2010 Song of the Year). A song in which he boasts about sexting ("She found pictures in my e-mail, I sent this bitch a picture of my dick"), introduces Pusha T to the common rap fan, and offers up a "toast to the douchebags". All the while masterfully taking control of the keyboard for extended instrumental solos and beautifully utilizing static auto-tuned samples.

"Blame Game" takes a unique look at relationships from the (cheating/cheated) male perspective, allowing us insight to Kanye's kaleidoscope of dysfunction. And it's only after Chris Rock comes in to close out the song with 2 minutes of humor (and "Yeezy taught me's") that we can finally exhale.

MBDTF by no means lacks the typical Kanye hits that we've grown accustomed to over the years. "Monster", "Dark Fantasy", "Devil in a New Dress" and "All of the Lights" are all fast paced, positive, radio hits that drive up sales and make for great "easy" listening. His flow on "Dark Fantasy" in particular is so intoxicating that at times I find myself getting mad at West for not rapping this way more often. Constantly leaving his fans wanting more, Business 101.

Of the aforementioned 10 songs, the only one I've yet to touch on is "Power". Which coincidentally happens to be the first single he released from MBDTF last summer. That's because to me, it has always been the most polarizing song to get a feel for on the album. I like the message it delivers, that "no one man should have all that power" and the beat, but I still have a few qualms with the song as a whole. For starters, it's very preachy. I could definitely go without the church-like clapping, and whereas Runaway hits with the late-in-the-song autotune, Power clearly misses. The lyrics don't wow me over either with the exception of a couple quick hitting, two-liners, early on ("I don't need your pussy bitch, I'm on my own dick").

This made it all the more frusterating for me last week when I discovered the "Power Remix" feat. Jay-Z, off of last summer's "G.O.O.D. Fridays" collection (a weekly free music giveaway Kanye started last August). Now I know I'm clearly behind the eightball on this one, but it's an atrocity that Kanye chose to release this song on his website and not as a part of MBDTF. The remix features a nice opening verse from Hova ("Life is a trip, so sometimes, we gon’ stumble") before Kanye goes absolutely bananas for the next four minutes. During that strech he goes H.A.M. (is that Kosher?) while rapping in Islam, then jumps on Snap's "I've Got The Power" beat and runs for about 80 bars with no break or chorus.

"I'm 'bout to hit that Jeff Gordon,
Michael Jordan, the only one more important,
But I be feelin' like Jordan when I'm recordin'
'Cause every time I record, I dunk to slap the boarrrds.
I don't know what these rappers gon' do afterwarrrds,
Prolly spaz like I might do at the awarrrds.
Huh, I got the whole crowd goin' crazy,
Homie, I should be rewarded.
Gettin' money, Yeezy, Yeezy, how you do it, huh?
Eatin' Wheaties, drinkin' Fiji, bein' greedy, huh?
Don't even think you can allude to the rumors,
I'm immune to the boo's,
I'm a prude to you losers.
It's all in time, my nigga,
See I dreamed my whole life that I could rhyme with Jigga"

At the very least Kanye could have done what he did with "Diamonds (From Sierra Leone)" on 2005's Late Registration where he featured his solo version of the song and then added the Jay-Z remix (I had to get off the boat so I could walk on water) as a bonus cut. I just think that would have been the smarter play, exposing more people to the genius that is the "Power Remix."

But then again there is a reason why Kanye's pajama rich, so maybe I shouldn't question his beautiful dark twisted mind.


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