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Preceding the inception
of the album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” by Kanye West, the music
producer turned rapper endured controversy after West leaped onstage to
interrupt Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards in
2009 to proclaim that Beyoncé in fact has “one of the best videos of all time”.
The world was against Kanye as he struggled to fend off the proverbial Kanye
hate zeitgeist fueled by viral internet memes as celebrities quickly rallied behind
Swift; notably including the President of the United States at the time, Barack
Obama, and even Beyoncé herself. Kanye soon after exiled himself to Hawaii and
vowed to only return with the greatest album of all time, and he makes quite a
compelling argument.

            “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” abandons a linear
story as each track turns into a careful character study focusing on the tolls
of rampant materialism, excess decadence, and the relentless pursuit of hedonism
that collectively result in delusional characters that are riddled with self-doubt,
anxiety, and self-destructive tendencies which manifests itself in the form of
a consistent motif throughout the album. Kanye aims to dismantle the
connotation of wealth and happiness. The album’s opening song “Dark Fantasy”
begins with an introduction by Nicki Minaj as she proclaims that the album will
eviscerate the false perceptions of fame and wealth. Immediately after a choir harmonizes
“Can We Get Much Higher” which not only signifies how Kanye is at his peak and
there doesn’t seem to be any way to get better, but also substance abuse. It is
then followed by Kanye rapping of aspirations of achieving wealth and
happiness. The bridge featuring vocals from Kanye and Bon Iver hints at a different,
more bleak, fate of this character: “And the hell, it wouldn’t spare us/ And
the fires did declare us/ But after that, took pills, kissed an heiress/ And
woke up back in Paris” (“Dark Fantasy”). The lyrics can be interpreted as him
using the drugs to avoid and forget his problems. Dark Fantasy explores how
drug and alcohol use does not remedy pain, and how his problems remain there
once the substances have exited his system.

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The
lead single “POWER” characterizes an erratic and boastful Kanye who is being
consumed by pride, greed, and anxiety as he desperately struggles to remain
sane after the money and drugs begin to slip away from him. Kanye is proud to
be the symbol of cockiness on this track which is displayed through narcissistic
diction such as “and I embody every characteristic of the egotistic/ He knows,
hes so f***ing gifted” (“POWER”). The egotism is hammered home by Kanye referring
to himself in the third person. Kanye then hints at slowly losing control of his
life as the power and pressure point him to self-destructive tendencies: “How ‘Ye
doing? I’m surviving/ I was drinking earlier, now I’m driving” (“POWER”). The final
word of the third verse then echoes to make “exciting” sound like he is
actually repeating “suicide”. The lyrics imply that Kanye sees the inevitable
fall from grace and contemplates taking his own life at the peak of his power.
He believes that he is already at the pinnacle of his fame and there is nowhere
to go but down from there. The outro is sung by Kanye West and Dwele as they refer
to suicide as a beautiful death. The imagery of jumping out a window to suicide
can be interpreted as the resolution and ironically the only happy ending: “Now
this will be a beautiful death/ I’m jumping out the window, I’m letting
everything go” (“POWER”).