Kanye West‘s last album, 2008’s 808s and Heartbreak, was heavy on the Auto-Tune and stark synths, but relatively light on grandiose ideas. It was a necessary detour that expanded his emotional palette; a bloodletting after a harsh breakup and the passing of his mother that manifests itself in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy‘s harshest lows.
But musically, the new album largely continues where 2007’s Graduation left off in its maximalist hip-hop bent, with flashes of The College Dropout‘s comfort-food sampling and Late Registration‘s baroque instrumentation weaved in seamlessly.
As a result, the record comes off like a culmination and an instant greatest hits, the ultimate realization of his strongest talents and divisive public persona. And since the nerd-superstar rap archetype he popularized has now become commonplace, he leaves it in the dust, taking his style and drama to previously uncharted locales, far away from typical civilization. — Pitchfork (10.0 out of 10.0 review)