Spun: Kanye West

By Jeff Clemens

People say Kanye West is a lot of things — an egomaniac for his tirade during 19-year old Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009, indulgent for his 35-minute music video of his new song “Runaway,” and a narcissist for the sometimes ridiculous stream of consciousness that the rapper unleashes on Twitter (apparently fur pillows are hard to sleep on?).

Regardless of what you think of him, it’s becoming blatantly obvious that he’s a musician entirely in his own league. His latest release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, sees him mixing the soulful and gritty production of his earlier albums with the intensity and intimacy of 2008’s 808’s and Heartbreak. Though collaborations are never an absolute measure of talent or quality, the album is pretty much a genre-defying who’s who of successful musicians — Elton John, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, Bon Iver and Gil Scott-Heron to name a few. From the bizarre opening monologue delivered by Nicki Minij that transitions into a soaring chorus of “Dark Fantasy,” to the haunting keyboard of “Runaway,” Kanye truly displays his ability.

The production is mind-blowing, his song writing is on point and he’s as witty as ever. Though he may suck at being a celebrity sometimes, he’s pretty fucking good at being a musician, and isn’t that what really matters?

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