It doesn't hit the streets, legally, until Monday, but Kanye West's long-gestating My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy leaked a few weeks back. Since then, Rocks Off has been spinning our preview copy quite a bit at the office.
It's not the completely finished version about to hit stores and digital outlets - it's missing the requisite sketches - but it's still the best version of the album available now.
Within, the past two years of West's life come to a head, from the death of his mother, fallout from '08's 808s & Heartbreak and the Taylor Swift debacle to the various haters he finds himself surrounded with. It's full of guest stars like Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Dwele, Rick Ross, John Legend and hip-hop's newest leading lady, Nicki Minaj. The list goes on...
Fantasy is West's coming-out party, now five albums in. If the first two were West gaining his footing, and the last two chronicled him warping his persona, Fantasy is the sound of the guy in him going online and fully functional.
It's not at all a five-star album, a classic, like Rob Sheffield at Rolling Stone said a week ago, it's a stepping stone to something else. Time will tell if it's a classic; for now it's just an interesting plot twist.
Lyrically, this album is West at his densest and most varied, with his wordplay making six turns over one verse, but it also holds a good dozen or so gems that Rocks Off had to rewind and hear again.
Some are sordid, some are sad, some are outright hilarious. If you don't get the Family Matters reference, you need God in your life, son.
"Blame Game": Been a long time since I spoke to you/ In a bathroom gripping you up, fucking and choking you/ What the hell was I supposed to do?"
"Hell Of A Life": "I think I fell in love with a porn star/ And got married in a bathroom/ Honeymoon on the dance floor/ And got divorced by the end of the night/ That's one hell of a life."
"Monster": "I'ma need to see you pee your pants at the concert."
"Devil In A New Dress": "I hit the Jamaican spot, at the bar, take a seat/ I ordered you jerk, she said, 'You are what you eat.'"
"Monster": "Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh?/ I put the pussy in a sarcophagus/ Now she claiming I bruise her esophagus."
"Hell Of A Life": "No more drugs for me, pussy and religion is all I need."
POLITICS, RELIGION AND RACE RELATIONS
"Power": "Colin Powells, Austin Powers/ Lost in translation with a whole fucking nation/ They say I was the abomination of Obama's nation."
"So Appalled": "Champagne wishes, thirty white bitches/ I mean the shit is fucking ridiculous/ Fucking ridiculous/ I mean the shit is fucking ridiculous."
"Hell Of a Life": Make her knees shake, make a priest faint, uh/ Make a nun cum, make her cremate, uh."
"Dark Fantasy": "You got too many Urkels on your team, That's why your wins low."
"Gorgeous": "We make 'em say ho cause the game is so pimpish/ Choke a South Park writer with a fish-stick."
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"Dark Fantasy": "Look like a fat booty Celine Dion/ Sex is on fire/ I'm the king of Leona Louis."
"Gorgeous": "Is hip-hop just a euphemism for a no religion?/ The soul or the slave music that the new generation is missing?"
"Runaway": "Let's have a toast for the douchebags, Let's have a toast for the assholes/ Let's have a toast for the scumbags, every one of them that I know/ Let's have a toast to the jerk-offs, that'll never take work off."