Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West


Opulent and ambitious, self-aggrandizing and confessional.

The most expensive hip-hop recording ever made, Kanye West's fifth album was a 68-minute LP pulsing with the rapper’s singular mix of the self-aggrandizing and the confessional. The album combined the art-rock ambitions of The Beatles, the opulence of Pink Floyd, and the pop-star grandeur of Michael Jackson—but had the personal gravity of a singer-songwriter statement. There’s a nine-minute prog-rap opus (“Runaway”) that came with a 35-minute short film. The album art is by contemporary artist and Warhol associate George Condo. “All of the Lights” features an orchestra and vocals from Rihanna, Alicia Keys, and Elton John.

But despite its ostentatious appearance, the heart of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is that of raw honesty, with West’s frayed ends of reflection, self-criticism, relationship woes, ruminations on fame, and moments of anger. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy would forever change the landscape of hip-hop, its genre-crossing boldness, limitless imagination, and sheer sumptuousness of presentation foreshadowing the genre’s 2010s turn towards maximalist sounds and arthouse design.