Opinion: Ten years later, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy still stands as the most influential rap album of the 2010s

The album itself won numerous awards in the industry, including Best Rap Album in the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, Best Album at the 2010 HipHopDXAwards, and CD of the Year at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards.


Photo courtesy of Def Jam Recordings/Universal Music Group.

Colby Guy, Features Editor

On Nov. 22, 2010, Kanye West released his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Ten years later, it stands alone as the greatest rap album of the 2010s.

What separates this album from Kanye’s other hit albums like Graduation, 808s and Heartbreak, and The College Dropout is that every single song on the album has replay value, the album flows together extremely well, and some of West’s biggest hits were produced from this album.

Some of the most well-known songs that came from this album are “All of the Lights,” which featured Rihanna, “POWER,” “Monster,” and “Runaway,” which were all US Billboard Top 40 hits.

The album itself won numerous awards in the music industry, including Best Rap Album at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, Best Album at the 2010 HipHopDXAwards, and CD of the Year at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards.

The album also has an extensive list of guest artists, including Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, and Rick Ross.

In conversations for the best albums of the decade, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘s biggest competitor is Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 release, To Pimp A Butterfly, but West’s 2010 album has even its fiercest competitor beat in almost every category.

The amount of depth West’s album has compared to To Pimp A Butterfly is insane to the point where nearly every song on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a perfect 10/10. 

Some of my favorite songs of all time, such as “Hell of a Life”, “Blame Game”, and “Devil In A New Dress”, came from this album and they also rival the hits that topped the charts.

“Devil In A New Dress” in particular is one of the more underrated songs on the album that resonates with me. In this song, West tells his story about fighting temptation while trying to live a religious life. He shares all of the sinful thoughts he had been experiencing and tells it beautifully.

Kanye West’s production of this album was masterful as well. Every song had an amazing beat to go with the all-time great lineup of songs that West had in store on this album.

The songs all had beats that perfectly matched the stories being told through West’s lyrics and it flowed perfectly. These beats set the mood for an album that showcased such a vulnerable time in Kanye’s life.

This album came out after West had experienced legal trouble in 2009 and was conceived during a self-imposed exile to Hawaii. The result of it was an artistic masterpiece that encapsulated everything West was going through during that time.

This album has a unique aspect where Kanye makes himself vulnerable enough where you can see his sensitive side, yet he still has control of the album where it has an upbeat vibe to it and makes you feel powerful.

The mood the album gives off is a mix of emotions that couldn’t be matched by any other album, because that is the type of artist Kanye is — he’s unique, he’s masterful at all aspects of the art of music, and he can tell his story in a unique way that can fit any mood at any time.

Each of these songs has its own personality that allows each of them to stand alone. For example, a song like “POWER” gives off this energetic mood that makes you feel like you can take on the world, while a song like “Blame Game” has that type of feel where West shares some of the struggles he’s been through.

The way West can portray the emotions he went through, both the good and the bad, in a way that created an array of amazing songs is something that can’t be matched by any other album.

He makes himself vulnerable in this album, showcasing his human emotions, while also having an attitude in some of these other songs showing the enjoyment he had at this time and giving off a powerful aura.

A song like “Hell of a Life” feels like it fits over a montage of people having an absolute blast in a movie. It describes a life of fun, a life of freedom, and makes you feel powerful while listening to it.

On the other hand, a song like “Runaway” goes in-depth about his arrogance and insecurities. It shows his remorse for acting out due to his ego and shows his sensitivity.

In this album, West showcases his hopes, his faults, and his beliefs during this time period. He had moments where he believed he was at the top of the world but had other moments where he showed his weaknesses.

While listening to this album, I identify with a lot of what he’s portraying in this album, because a lot of times you’re going to go through both of these moods.

West shares the highs and the lows of this interesting time of his life in a way that no other album could match. 

From the number of hits on this album to the meaning behind it, this album should automatically be on the top of everyone’s list of best albums of the decade and it still holds up ten years later.

Colby Guy is the Features Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thatguycolbs.