A previous post titled “Big Brother vs. Little Brother” addressed Kanye’s rise so far up to his 5th album release and compared his freshman-senior year studio albums with the one and only Young Hov. if you missed that post click here. Now that the 5th album has leaked, my homie @milesfan79 is back to sum up his thoughts about Mr. West. Consider this an album review as well. I’ll chime in as I see necessary…
Where do I begin?? I’m still in sort of awe of the album after listening to it for the last week (yea I’ve had it a week lol). Three months ago I left you’ll with the question:
So who would you say had/has better career when comparing the two? Can we expect Kanye’s new album to be the next Blueprint?
I will answer those questions later.
So lets explore My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy shall we. From a production stand point MBDTF is damn near flawless. The sample selections are creative and soulful; and his incorporation of live instrumentals was perfect. The best thing about this album is Kanye focused on “Quality and not Quantity”. I was a lil skeptical when I say the tracklist and saw it was only 11 tracks (plus 2 interludes), but that just comes from habit of artist giving us quantity instead of quality lately. Its kind of sad we now expect a cd to have 16+ tracks and frown/complain when we see cd’s with 10 or 11 tracks. We are so used to it, that we all forget some of the GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME had 10 or less tracks: Thriller had 9 tracks and Illmatic had 10 tracks. These days 97% of albums not have 15 or more tracks, with most of the songs being “fillers” to satisfy our desire for “quantity over quality”. Kanye was able to restore my belief in “quality over quantity” in the hip-hop game and at no point did I want to skip a track, I can listen to the cd begin to end with no skips.
I also like the fact that he did not rush songs, most time we hear songs and they cut off 10 seconds after the last verse. Kanye chose to “let it ride” on most of the tracks, I commend him for having foresight to not cut songs short. Most times when you hear a 7-minute song you can’t wait for it to over but Kanye was able to keep me wanting more even after 5 or 6 minutes (pause if necessary lol)
His feature selection and usage was very well thought out and impressive; lately a lot of artists have feature heavy projects, so feature heavy you sometimes stop and ask yourself “who’s album is this again?” There were 12 artist featured on this album but you could barely tell, at no point did I not forget it was Kanye album. Kanye allowed the featured artist to compliment the songs rather than carry them for him.
Another impressive thing about this album is the fact that its taps into your emotions with out you knowing (No its not a “emo” album a la 808 & heartbreaks). Being a psych major I look at it from a psych/emotional perspective and most song resonates with different emotion/feeling (stay with me I’ll explain) that we all experience and can relate to. The most explicit example was with “Blame Game”, Kanye was able capture the essences and emotions of any past relationship in 7 minutes and 50 seconds with out making you getting too sad or too mad.
Not to spoil it for those that have not heard it, but picture a previous relationship and all the good and bad emotions you experience when thinking about that relationship: meeting them, digging them, loving them, lusting them, loving them more, arguments, suspected cheating/foul play, being on the verge of break up but still fighting to try to make it work, its ultimate demise/breakup and finally moving on. Well “blame game” explores and taps all those emotions in 7minutes and 50 seconds and you enjoy every second of it with an added bonus at the end lol. The other songs can resonate with certain feelings/emotions:
Hell of a life=debauchery/lust/recklessness
Devil in a new dress=infatuation
The only negative thing (but not really) I can say that sort of took away from the album was the fact some of the songs were released early as “GOOD Friday” tracks and all the songs were heard in the “Runaway” video. But that not really a negative, b/c good music is good music regardless of its timing. I think we all still want that “shock and awe” factor that we used to get from albums back in the day, but technology (internet leaks, hip-hop blogs, etc) does not allow for those surprises “wow” moments we used to get anymore.
Overall I give MBDTF a solid A+, it is damn near flawless, very smart production, has lots of replay value and there is nothing else like it at the moment.
Reecie’s Note: I agree with this grade. well maybe just an A. I am not sure about the plus. What can I say I’m a pretty hard grader. lol
**Will this be this generation’s “Blueprint”??**
That is a difficult question answer at the moment, b/c we can look back at status of Blueprint over the last 9 years, whereas we are just the beginning of MBDTF.
However, for sake of argument/debate, I’ll say: yes and no and maybe.
I say Yes b/c I believe this album will be Kanye’s blueprint, the album that ultimately secures his status in the hip-hop game. Like I touched on in previous debate Blueprint secured Jay-Z in the game, as this will do for Kanye. Think of events (his mother’s death, previous “disappointing” album, Taylor Swift debaucle) leading up to this album that had us all questioning, “Does Kanye still have it??” “what can is he going do next?” So not only did he prove he still has it, he proves he is the best at it.
I say No, b/c Blueprint laid a blueprint (pun intended) for artists to follow/model themselves after, MBTDF is so new/refreshing to the game that it possibly could not be used as model for other artist. I don’t think anyone in the game right now has the ability to recreate the formula without being so obvious. So MBDTF is not the hip-hop game’s blueprint, if anything I think it will be hip-hop’s “Thriller” bc the fact that it has opens new boundaries that not just anyone can explore and it will make artist think more outside the box for direction but not on same exact path as MBDTF.
It maybe this generation’s BP for the fact that it will possibly be the most referenced album for the next decade. In the 2000s when debating/talking/comparing hip-hop BP was referenced in 99.9% of the time. Like BP I think for 2010 and beyond when having those same debates MBDTF may be be brought up as well.
Is MBDTF better than BP??
Yes and no
When judging the two with a hip-hop microscope/on hip-hop scale, BP beats out MBDTF but not by much. Also BP has sentimental value in the hip-hop game for the fact of the timing of its release on 9/11. This album help the hip-hop game and the nation get thru a gloomy uncertain and confusing time. WE were all dealing with the 9/11 tragedy but Blueprint provided an escape from the daily images of 9/11 and for that fact alone I feel MBDTF is not better.
However when judging on an overall musical scale without the hip-hop label, yes it is better than and trumps BP musically. No matter how you look at it BP is strictly a hip-hop album. MBDTF is not just a hip-hop album, it is an album with hip-hop elements. I would not put MBDTF in the hip-hop box alone; its so different it can’t just be labeled as a hip-hop in my opinion. If I were riding in the car in my 80-year-old grandmother I would definitely not put in BP, however I would put MBDTF without thinking twice (with exception of 1 song, “hell of a life” lol)
Reecie’s Note: I wouldn’t play the Chris Rock skit on Blame Game around my grandmother either, just saying. lol I totally agree with this album being beyond hip hop. It is pretty musically masterful.
So overall Kanye is following the steps of his big brother Jay-z, they are comparable to Jordan and Kobe. Jordan/Jay-Z will always be the greatest but Kobe/Kanye is just as great but just in different way and in a different generation.
What do you all think? is MBDTF the better album? is BP? are they totally incomparable that its not even necessary to dissect/compare? great on different levels? Let us know in the comments.