I wrote this earlier, but I wanted to wait until he officially conceded in the Presidential Election before posting. I didn’t want it to be confused with an endorsement. Last year, I said that My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy told a story. This is the story I think it tells.
Kanye West’s previous album, the polarizing 808s and Heartbreaks ends with Kanye wanting to be “real” and wise men telling him that he will find his way. I think Kanye’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is Kanye’s quest to find his way. We see Kanye play the traditional hero in this album in an nontraditional way. There is no Ring to rule them all, there is no Holy Grail, no one is trying to get back to Troy, The Deathly Hallows are not present. Through different genres of hip hop we learn about Kanye’s trials, tragedies and triumphs. We’ve been to his Nightmare (see previous album) now we experience Kanye’s Inferno, now we will travel with him through the Puragatorio of being a famous Black man. During 808s and Heartbreak and the entirety of his career, he is constantly talking about the American Dream. Has his entire career been prepping us to his likely doomed Presidential campaign? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s been a common theme with his work. He even wrote an essay about it here. But, I’m not going to talk about his politics, because most of it I cannot get jiggy with. I also don’t want to put toooo much political stuff on here because I want a space that doesn’t talk about how I hate both the “left” and the right. At the end of the day, it’s all the same evil bird.
The story opens with Nicki Minaj telling us Roald Dahl’s version of Cinderella. Which is from his Revolting Rhymes book. I think there was some kind of metaphor there because a lot of people, myself included, consider rappers to be poets. A lot of rap is reminiscent of West African oral tradition so I can see what they were doing.
I think that snippet was someone telling a bunch of kids about Kanye West. Because like…Ask someone what they thought of Kanye when he first came out. They would probably say that Kanye was a good producer with a lot of potential. When this album came out it was post Bush outburst, post VMA-Gate, and post fishsticks. If you were to ask about Kanye, there’s a good chance that people’s opinion of Kanye would be different. People had already made up their minds about Kanye, and he prophesied that many people would continue to add to the “Kanye is bad” lore that is still present in our society today. So, the intro is him telling everyone that he will now tell the story of who he is. Or the figure/character that represents him.
He talks about how his life was something that he used to dream about when he was younger and was not rich or famous. But now he is rich, famous, and popular to the point that anyone who’s anyone wants to listen to his music. Then, he doubts himself, because underneath it all, he is just a kid from Chicago.
I hate to break it to you guys, but Kanye and Kim, the fat bootied Celene Dion have been a #thing for a long time. I hate talking about the Kardashians, but the evidence is there is you look. He really loves that woman. The break up with Alexis was hard on him and he drank to cover up the pain of that, and probably still the demise of Ms. Donda. But, it doesn’t make him feel better. He thought the fame, sex, and money would make his problems (which would later be revealed as mental illness) go away. It didn’t..
Kanye says he met the devil, but I feel like it was a metaphorical deal with the devil. This album took Kanye to a whole new height of fame. But what did he sacrifice to get more money, more sex, and more fame? The rest of the album will tell you.
(PS, I do not believe in the Illuminati the same way some people do. No one is covering their eyes in magazines to show they are “in”. That’s clown sh*t. So, it’s none of that and I think it’s all metaphorical in a Robert Johnson way.)
In Gorgeous, Kanye and Cudi (and a f*ckin fire verse by Raekwon) reflect on their mistakes in life and how they feel they are on their “last chance”. I think Kid Cudi’s singing represents the people that liked Kanye’s music but were kind of “meh” on him due to his behavior. Like, they are kind of on the fence about continuing to be fans, if that makes sense. I like that Kid Cudi was the one to sing this because of their complicated friendship. The singing could even been seen as prophetic.
I think the Jerome/Brandon thing is Kanye noting that if he were white, the reaction to him would be different. Which explains a lot of some of the weird BS he says, in my opinion…I think he has a complex with his race. You know how when white women voted for Trump in 2016, most people agreed that they put their whiteness before their womanhood? I think that Kanye puts his manhood before his race and doesn’t understand why he is not treated like a white man. Despite the fair weather fans, Kanye is getting what he thinks he wants in life. An excess of money. Fame, and sex. Ironically, Kanye recites a weird AIDS conspiracy theory right after.
Then, Kanye goes into his megalomaniac Kanye mode, he implies he is the leader of the religion of hip hop. Which, I mean, ugh his mind… because some people really act like that. While Cudi (his fans,and I believe that Cudi is a day one kind of fan) are left disappointed. Does Kanye care? Nope, he’s the greatest. Raekwon serves as somewhat of a greek chorus, imploring the listeners to stay true to themselves.
Speaking of Megalomania, the next track, POWER Kanye speaks on his role in the public eye. He believes that no one should have to power to get people that #bothered. Which I mean, he’s got a point. But, he embraces his role as the most important person to ever person. It’s important to notice that in the music video (which is oddly terrifying) that Kanye has the Sword of Damocles over his head. As the scene pans out, its revealed the other characters in the music video also have weapons. His fans, his day ones, The Kid Cudi’s in his life, are about to go full Brutus on him. And, instead of giving them the satisfaction of destroying him, he’s going to destroy himself. I think the beautiful death he was referring to is the Kanye that he was pre-fame. The kid from Chicago is gone. There is only Kanye/Yeezus/Ye now.
Listening to the song is always wild for me because the beginning is relatively light hearted and progressively gets darker. A good metaphor for fame.
All of the Lights interlude really does seem like it could be background music at a funeral. Like I said. The old Kanye, the one that we will later claim to miss is dead . All of the Lights is how the people in his life are dealing with the permanent change in Kanye’s personality. When you listen to the interlude with All of The Lights, you realize this is not a club banger and a very sad song. I’mma let y’all finish. But Elton John delivered the best interlude of all time. OF ALL TIME!
At the time of the recording/release of All of the Lights, Rihanna was going through some things as well. Her style started to change and a lot of people contributed to the incident. Yeah THE incident. This song mentions domestic violence and a daughter and you know what? I’m just gonna say it.
Kanye loves Rihanna. Not in like a romantic way, but like a mentor kind of way. I know most people associate that mentor role with Jay-Z. But I think Rihanna looks more to Kanye. Rihanna is not afraid to take musical risks or change her style. Rihanna is well respected in fashion. Kanye has said that he views Rihanna as his little sister . I’m glad that she was included in this song. I kind of feel like Kanye feels like he is responsible for a little bit of Rihanna’s success and that’s why she’s on and her body is featured in “Famous”. In that song, she sings about loving him more than his own family. Even though she did not write that lyric, I do think that is somewhat true. I think those lyrics were written especially for Rihanna because the lyrics reference “A Girl Like Me” which was Rihanna’s second album and the album that gave her the first number one single of her career (SOS).
I think Rihanna and Kanye saw each other as family. Which adds another layer to the MAGA comment that made her unfollow him. Rih inviting everyone to “turn up the lights” so they can see what is happening is not only for the change in Kanye, but the maturing of her own music. That Rihanna reign just won’t let up!
Since Rihanna is viewed as family, I think she joins Kid Cudi in representing the people that do care about him. But, Rih is slightly different because she, and the fans that represent her came around when Kanye became famous. So, she likes the “new” Kanye that showed up after POWER. I think Alicia Keys and Elton John represent the respected people in the industry that wanted the best for him and tried to give him advice, but he did not listen. I think Fergie represents what it’s like post fame. I don’t think Fergie is or was actually broke post The Dutchess, but her fame did die down a little bit when she took a well deserved break. I think maybe Fergie is future Kanye if he doesn’t slow tf down. If you remember, Kanye did end up having money problems at some point. And, eventually, he did have a breakdown so severe that he needed to be hospitalized. This is why I don’t judge Kanye too harshly after…everything. He’s going through a lot and he went without help for such a long time.
Pero like, the way that being a celebrity is set up now…we literally can have the option of seeing everything. Between paparazzi, social media, and the internet, it is so easy to find out a celebrities personal business. I have a theory about who this particular story is about. But I will keep it to myself as I want no smoke from a fandom I am apart of. I think “The Feds” can literally just be people in charge of this particular musician. Because if it’s about who I think it’s about, if they slapped their girl…woo child, their career would feel the STING. Or, if it was public knowledge that the musician had a child at that time he did not see. But, I heard the child is a son, not a daughter.
It would also explain the very obvious rift between Kanye and this person. And, why it’s so important Rihanna is on this song. I’ve heard that people claim Kanye pushed one of his exes, but I’m not too sure that I believe that Kanye puts his hands on women in the physical sense. He doesn’t seem like he can fight tbh. But you know what? I have seen this musician put the paws on a woman with my own two eyeballs so …actually, I’mma stop because I can hear the buzz already. Also the push is allegedly out of context. So like, AOTL is basically about how when you’re famous everyone knows everything about your life…or at least they think they do. Kanye continues his descent in to the evils of the maximalism of fame and becomes a monster.
Monster is a fun track that has a lot of meaning underneath it. Even though it is one of Jay-Z worst verses ever, it was the song that made me think “Ok, I like Nicki.” Kanye is now fully immersed in fame.
And I hate to bring this up because I will literally NEVER get over this tour being cancelled. But, before this album Kanye was supposed to embark on the Fame Kills tour with Lady Gaga. And what album was she promoting? The Fame Monster. There’s layers to this, guys!
Kanye knows he’s a monster and doesn’t think it’s necessary to talk about it anymore. It’s redundant at this point. Which may come across as Kanye being full of himself, but it’s actually quite heartbreaking. The chorus points out that people keep repeating how terrible he is,but still buy his stuff. So, he doesn’t care. He’s the best rapper. He also makes a pretty cool reference to the mummy. Since his verse was originally for something else, it lacks the monster motifs the other rappers evoke. And the way the others talk about monsters is interesting because I think it corresponds to their levels of fame. Rick Ross’ verse is short and sweet. He knows where he stands in rap and has nothing to prove. Jay-Z knows that he has to be ruthless to stay at the top of the game, because he can be replaced.And he has no conscience because he doesn’t have real love in his life. Wow, that buzz again?
With Nicki, it’s completely different, because Nicki was just starting to be a mainstream rapper at this point. She is revelling in being a monster, because she clawed her way up from being seen as a clone of another person to a rapper in her own right. She deserves this, and she knows it.
She went from being an entertainer to children in the first track, to delivering one of the greatest contributions to female rap. I don’t care about female rap feuds and actually kind of hate them but Cardi B will NEVER be able to top this. Rap is seen as a man thing. Until recently, there were not a bunch of successful female rappers out there. Which is why I don’t like when they fight. It’s literally so unnecessary. It’s totally possible for multiple female rappers to make music at the same time. Look at 2019!! No man is like “Hey, this dude kind of looks like me. I guess I’ll fight with him based on that principle alone”. If there is room for every generic but talented man, there is room for every generic yet talented woman. I know this video is seen as misogynistic, but the fact that Nicki arguably had a better rap than all of the men was a #moment for Black Feminism idc! Kanye does a lot of #sus things in regards to black women, but I will always be thankful he kept Nicki on.
I think the lil background vocals from Bon Iver that’s peppered throughout the album is the “old Kanye”, or possibly his super ego. While Kanye’s voice has been his Id. I think Monster is the point where “old Kanye” is revived. He’s heading home, back with Kanye. So the Id and Superego can become the ego. Because you can’t have one without the other. But they are always fighting for dominance. Kind of like a Jekyll and Hyde thing.
With So Appalled, I think this is where Kanye (and the people he trusted at the time to speak for him) talks about the aftermath of his scandals. Particularly the Katrina telethon incident, and the Taylor Swift saga, and many, many, many, future events. He feels so violated that people don’t take his side. Because, despite his misgivings, he still sees himself as the best. And at the time of him doing multiple bad things, he had good intentions. He got on stage to defend his “little sister” Beyonce. He wanted the government to take the plight of the Black people of New Orleans. Does this make the things he does okay? No, of course not. I really wish he wouldn’t do the things he does. I feel like this song is a continuation of the feelings conveyed on Monster, even though it doesn’t really seem like that at first. The fame and money turned him into a Monster, and he likes it that way. While at the end of Monster, Bon Iver gives some much needed self awareness and clarity to the situation…Kanye is gonna Kanye, and it’s very difficult to pull yourself out of that. I’ve been manic before (obviously lol) it’s something that I really struggle to control and I don’t even realize I’m doing it until it’s too late. I can’t speak on HIS mental health, but that’s how it is for me.
Another thing him and his peers are appalled by, are rappers comparing themselves to them. They are in the upper echelon of fame and money. Other rappers are not in the same category as them. Other rappers are either newbies, or people that have gone broke. And if that makes Kanye, Jay-Z, Swizz Beats, CyHi da Prynce,RZA, and Pusha-T bad guys, so be it. I think Jay-Z is at his lyrical peak in this song. He’s not even the best rapper in his house these days. I really appreciated his braggadocious flow here.
This song is really interesting because it samples You Are – I Am by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. I think the lyrics are interesting as they point to someone feeling alone comparing themselves to someone really important. And, I think Kanye and his producers chose to sample this song as kind of a tease that the main character sees themselves as not as important as someone else in an incomprehensible way. (I think God, personally).
Devil in a New Dress… I don’t want to say it’s KKW but.. As I said before on here, Kanye and Kim have been on and off for a very very, VERY long time. He has always loved her, despite it not being a good look for him at any point in time. She’s always going to be with him and a part of him. Moreso now because they are married with children. I know a lot of people assume this song to be about Amber, however, I think the final version is closer to being Kim than Amber. He did not have to do any type of waiting to be with Amber, he did not have to compromise himself to be with Amber. Kanye ever cruelly stated that he had to take 30 showers (baptism allusion?) to be with Kim.
Rick Ross has said that Devil in a New Dress is the best verse of his career. He said that it’s actually not the original verse that he made. Kanye told him that he could do better, and he did. Obviously this is just my opinion, but maybe he had a WWKD? moment, because I think that Rick Ross is writing this from the view of Kanye’s ID going wild to impress Devil/Kim. I don’t really think Kim is like a demon or anything. But in a metaphorical way, she arguable represents all of the 7 Deadly Sins, to Kanye in particular.
So him being “tempted” time and time again by her, paired with his most recent outburst (last updated in early September so hopefully nothing else has happened) I can kind of see how artistically, she can be viewed as a devil. Or maybe Kris Jong Un is Satan to him, who knows? I do know this is the verse that will define Rick Ross’ career. Definitely his best.
Runaway, wow. Runaway is one of my favorite songs. Not just because of the short film, but because I feel like a lot of people have felt this way. Like, you’re in love with someone and you know that the timing might not be the best. And you want better for them and you hope that in another time or space you guys can be together. But not now because you have your own stuff to figure out. This song brings out such an emotional response in people. I remember during the Yeezus tour when he played the beginning of Runaway, but didn’t perform the song and people were like ??? (lmao I hate him) . That E note is what the G note is to emo kids.
The silver lining to having Kanye as President is that this could be the new national anthem. I’d be okay with that. Everything else…is a hard no.
Anyway, I think this song is about Alexis. If you didn’t know, Alexis was Kanye’s bride to be, but then…something happened. And I think this song talks about what could have possibly happened.
Once again, the guest vocals are the ID acting up, while Kanye is admitting that he struggles with love and it makes him uncomfortable. So, he could not be with someone that truly loved him. It was not fair to her. In my opinion, that seems like true love. It takes a lot of love to let someone go. This song is a goodbye to Alexis. I think that the short film that accompanies this movie is a goodbye to Alexis. She was not made for “that” world. Alexis is better than fame.
I know that Kanye said the Runaway film is about Amber Rose. However, I feel like he is lying because
1.Amber has no issue with being famous because she could have gone into relative obscurity like Alexis has. Alexis runs her store and minds her business. Amber has done Dancing with the Stars, wrote a book, hosts Slutwalk, and has an Onlyfans. There is nothing wrong with any of these things, but it’s not stuff someone that doesn’t want to be famous does.
2.Amber heard the Chris Rock interlude in Blame Game and was rightfully upset. She was actually supposed to be in the video, but ‘Ye pissed her off. I think he just wanted to keep pissing her off and interrupting her relationship with Wiz Khalifa. Watching Runaway with the idea that The Phoenix is Amber Rose makes literally no sense. But it being the woman who had no aspirations of fame and stood by him after his car accident and the countless times he f*cked up makes so much more sense.
3. The Phoenix is played by Selita Ebanks a Black woman in the fashion industry. Alexis is a Black woman in the fashion industry. Like actually black, not a blackfisher. I don’t like to say someone is *really* Black or not. But if I referred to myself as a Scandinavian woman because my grandfather was Swedish and Danish, y’all wouldn’t accept it. So, I don’t accept Amber as Black. Sorry. Also, Amber is more of a fashion girl than someone in the industry. She did have a brief stint as a fashion icon, but everyone moved on pretty fast.
And, I am not the morality police, but I think that the fact that Kanye had an addiction to pornography does tie into his difficulty with romance. I don’t think that’s true for every single person that watches porn, but I think it is true for him. Like, if you read about the extent of his addiction, it was really bad. And I think it also speaks to his relationship to Kim Kardashian….Speaking of…
Hell of a Life is about his relationship with Kim. Once again, I know a lot of people think it’s about Amber. But this is the thing, I really think that all the assumptions that the “nasty” and overtly sexual songs being about Amber Rose is rooted in anti blackness. We know Amber is a blackfish, and at the time, Amber was presented to us as a black woman. People are gonna play dumb, but it is what it is. Even though Alexis is actually black, she was always presented to us as a good girl, so she gets a good edit. However, we know that Amber used to be a stripper (an underage one, at that), and she’s posed naked and so she is seen as bad. Everyone associates Kim’s whiteness (Kim is white. Her father was Armenian, which is considered to be Caucasian. Her Mother is dutch and Welsh) with goodness even though she’s done things just as bad (if not worse) than Amber.
Like the first line of the song: I think I just fell in love with a porn star…Turn the camera on, she a born star. Who do we know that’s publicly involved with Kanye and is a porn star? There is literally a lyric that says that one day he is going to marry a porn star.
This song is Kanye envisioning his life with Kim. He only reduces her to being a sexual being instead of a wife and mother. Which is probably why their marriage is the way it is now. I think Hell of a Life is in a way of a warning to his future self. Maybe it’s unintentional. But you really shouldn’t fall in love with one aspect of a person, you need to love the whole person, in spite of their flaws and in triumph of the positive things about them.
I don’t think this was written with the intention of being a warning. I do think this is what he wanted for his life because he felt like he was going to hell for choices he made in his life, so he should live his dream before his eternal damnation. Despite the total f*ckery it’s caused, I’m glad that Kanye became a born again Christian because the mental torture of thinking you’re going to Hell is probably not very fun.
The end of this song reveals that Kanye and the porn star didn’t actually get married. It’s just a Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. So I guess it is true, be careful what you wish for. I also like the idea that this is the prelude to the Yeezus album. Similar sound, similar things. If anything, it proves that Kanye really is a musical genius and I wish that fact was fostered in a more positive way.
Like, listen to Iron Man by Black Sabbath immediately after listening to Hell of a Life. It’s my favorite sample ever because the songs complement each other so well. It’s almost as if the sample is what Kanye is TRYING to say, like that’s what is going on but he can’t bring himself to actually say it.
Blame Game is the song that is actually about Amber Rose. Well, not actually Amber Rose. It’s about that time period and how he felt about fame at the time. He would rather be famous than not famous. He would rather be with Amber than not be with Amber. I think the Amber Era has always represented what he wanted in a woman. Amber was the fashion chick on his arm, and all the other guys wanted her. But the thing is, the things he liked about Amber were easily replicable and the other things that make Amber Rose Amber Rose are inconsequential to him. He didn’t like Amber, he liked how Amber made him look.
So, when she (I guess???) cheated on him, he also didn’t like how that made him look. That’s why he loves her and hates her. She makes him look cool/good, but other times he looks bad and like a simp. The different tones of this songs are his different feelings about Amber. And he blames looking bad on Amber. And something chilling to think about… All Amber Rose ever says is some variant of “Yeezy” in the skit. She says it with slightly different emotions. Maybe, somewhere deep down, Amber knows her career is owed to Kanye West. No matter what she does, she will always be the one that was taught by Yeezy. And maybe, that is the never ending nightmare of Amber Rose.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Lost in the World is one of my favorite songs and it is about Kim Kardashian. She brings a lot of good things to him, but also a lot of things that have not been so good. But at the end of the day, the love is unconditional. And I feel like that makes his love for Kim different than the love he has experienced with partners before. I also think it shows how he has grown as a person. He couldn’t fully love Alexis because the love she gave him was too emotionally difficult for him to reciprocate. He could not fully love Amber Rose because he was in life with the idea of her, he was in love with the idea of molding someone and them being indebted to him. I think that with Kim, he can romantically love her and he can also love the idea of molding her.
The K Stans will tell you different, but Kim was not a high fashion girl until she got with Kanye. I could prove it or whatever, but I don’t feel like arguing. So I’ll just leave it at this: when Kim was with Reggie Bush or the basketball man, her style was relatable and easily copied. And that is not a bad thing. I used to like how she dressed. Kim was the first relatively curvy girl in *that* group. And, it might seem dumb now, because we have the “body positive” movement,but back then, you were fat if you weighed over 120 pounds. And I remember literally hating myself for weighing 127 pounds. Kim was never fat, but she made being a healthy weight look good when the ideal look back then was like, hospitalization thin. But now, she has evolved past Juicy tracksuits and Bebe heels. Now, she gets Vogue covers. She had to have Kanye in the background to get her first Vogue cover.
What I like about this song is that it is the auditory version of a light being at the end of the tunnel . Like something better has to come out of all this suffering. Which, I feel is very appropriate for 2020. Once again, Mr. West is musically ahead of his time. Something better has to be coming.
This was the perfect song to end “the story” because it does feel like everyone is taking a bow at the end. From Bon Iver singing “The Woods” and Alicia Keys urging us to run from the lights and run from the night, calling back to her part on “All of the Lights”. And Oh My God, at the end when it goes back to the “POWER” chant is such a frisson moment for me. He knows that no one is supposed to have the power that he does. No one is supposed to get a happy ending after the things Kanye has done.
That’s why in the POWER video The Sword of Damocles is over him. It’s going to fall eventually. And he doesn’t know when. He doesn’t know if he will survive that. He doesn’t know if the way he’s been blessed in life is permanent. He doesn’t know if he is going to end up like most of the Black men in America. He doesn’t know when it All Falls Down. And that is the never ending horror of Kanye West.