“Have you lost your mind?" asks Yeezy on Hell Of A Life. "Tell me when you think we’ve crossed the line...” And so Twitter's most dangerously self-aware pundit maintains ‘bravery in his own bravado’ on the committee-written My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, aping the hook from Black Sabbath’s Ironman as he pushes the boundaries of tolerable auto-tune usage one more time.
But here he balances pastiche and drama with such glorious levity that to stick a fork in any part of his rich palette (the opening track’s overegging of a chipmunk chorus and all) would be a cruelty of Dickensian proportions. Kanye’s made no secret of his admiration for The RZA’s work, but never has his influence – from the soul flavoured minimalism to latter-day status as an all-encompassing ‘hip-hop hippy’ – been so apparent. Sit back, give in, and accept that for all its pomp and excess, the thrill of the ride is a greater distraction. [Dave Kerr]