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We continue our serialized examination of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West with the album’s second track “Gorgeous.

“Gorgeous” is undoubtedly one of Kanye’s strongest displays as lyricist and rapper. There’s nary a wasted word on “Gorgeous” as Kanye seamlessly weaves cheeky pop culture references with poignant racial anecdotes and self-empowering affirmations. It’s a blueprint to atonement, to overcoming uncontrollable forces with sheer grit, determination, and self-assurance. Kanye seems less concerned with how to end racism and more concerned with how to overcome it, how to do great things in spite of it.

Layers of emotional and psychological complexity are added when we consider the song’s hook, an observation on Kanye’s psyche after the VMA backlash. It subtly reveals that fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of losing it all are guiding, underlying principles in Kanye’s behavior. It would seem for all his bravado, Kanye is not fully confident in his confidence, his ego a defense mechanism to adversity.

Listen to “Gorgeous” on Apple Music.

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Photo: Victor Galvez