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We begin our serialized examination of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with the album’s opening track “Dark Fantasy.”

From its opening moments, “Dark Fantasy” establishes the sound, themes, and narrative that will be explored throughout My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Sonically, it consolidates Kanye’s entire musical palate and creative powers developed over his first four solo albums. It’s a beautiful amalgamation of soul, hip-hop, RnB, classical, and gospel, at once seamless and juxtaposed, and utterly grandiose.

Lyrically, we find Kanye at perhaps his most economical. Woven within just two compact verses and a brief bridge, Kanye establishes a complex character who appears confident and living a luxurious life of fame and fortune. But veiled beneath the surface is a struggle between good and evil, someone who is all too aware of the shallowness of the drugs, sex, and materialism he indulges in.

Listen to “Dark Fantasy” on Apple Music.

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Photo: Jessica Arnold