In the months leading up to the release of Kanye West’s Magnum Opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the controversial rapper decided to release free rough cuts of tracks that may or may not make it on the album each Friday through his Twitter account and blog. By the end, West had released a total of 15 free tracks (three of which made it on the official release of the album) that frequently featured many other rappers that were part of his G.O.O.D. Music label. The fact that most of the songs were actually amazingly good and well-produced examples of the rap/hip-hop genre, made the actual release of Fantasy all the more exciting for Kanye’s Twitter followers.
When that fateful day finally arrived, the album was met with much fanfare from critics (with Pitchfork giving it a once-in-a decade 5 out of 5 stars) and music fans alike, but everyone that had kept up with the GOOD Fridays releases (as Kanye officially christianed them) was sorely disappointed by the barebones Fantasy. It included five songs that we’d already heard, through GOOD Fridays or as singles, and some (including myself) went as far as saying that most of the free songs ended up better than what eventually made it on the album. What I think Kanye should have done is to figure out a different way to hype the album and include all of the free music on the final album – making it a giant two-disk set of epicness. Fortunately since I own all of the GOOD Fridays releases and Fantasy, I have been able to do this myself by creating an epic playlist that contains songs from both, split into two parts (disks). Let’s compare the official My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the one that I created:
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Official):
1. Dark Fantasy
4. All of the Lights (Interlude)
5. All of the Lights
7. So Appalled
8. Devil in A New Dress
10. Hell of a Life
11. Blame Game
12. Lost in the World
13. Who Will Survive in America?
14. See Me Now
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (With GOOD Fridays Additions):
1. Dark Fantasy
2. Don’t Look Down (GOOD Fridays)
3. See Me Now
5. All of the Lights (Interlude)
6. All of the Lights
9. Chain Heavy (GOOD Fridays)
10. The Joy (GOOD Fridays)
11. Lost in the World
12. Who Will Survive in America?
1. So Appalled
2. Christian Dior Denim Flow (GOOD Fridays)
3. Good Friday (GOOD Fridays)
4. Hell of a Life
5. Blame Game
6. Take One for the Team (GOOD Fridays)
7. Looking for Trouble (GOOD Fridays)
8. Devil in A New Dress
10. Power (Remix) (GOOD Fridays)
That my friends is the best rap playlist in history. We ditch the rough transition from high-flying album opener “Dark Fantasy” into the low-beat strictly-rap ditty “Gorgeous” for a much smoother transition into the chorus-heavy heart breaker “Don’t Look Down.” After this we string up three of the album’s hit singles, before going into hardcore rap territory with “Monster”, “Gorgeous”, and “Chain Heavy”. We end disk one with the uplifting duo that ends the official release and therefore brings this part of the playlist it full circle. On this disk especially, one can see the shadow of the official Fantasy in the background, with the GOOD Fridays releases cutting like a razor through the material.
Moving on to disk 2, is it just me or is “So Appalled” the best album kick-off song this side of “Dark Fantasy”? It’s aggressive verses and pounding beats provide more than just a preview of what’s to come, and most importantly here it’s not competing with the similarly structured “Monster” like it is on the official release. It is then followed by two of the more creative chorus-driven GOOD Fridays releases, before going into hardcore rap in the middle section with the bragging “Hell of A Life” all the way to the underrated “Looking For Trouble”. The album ends with the two ‘epics’ from the official release – “Devil in a New Dress” and “Runaway” – a one two punch that should leave any person who appreciates music breathless for at least a few seconds. Also the Power (Remix) has ‘extra bonus track’ written all over it. Why didn’t it act as that on the official Fantasy?
Overall, I would say that the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy release was botched by Kanye not really wanting to make it epic, instead choosing to include only the single-ready material (and “Gorgeous” for some reason). If he had instead released my proposed album above, he may have been hailed for creating THE best rap album of all-time. As it stands, Fantasy is a good attempt, squandered only by the way the powers that be decided to package it.
Official Album Rating: B+
Unofficial Playlist Rating: A+++ (seriously the best thing ever)