All right, so Kanye West has had a rough couple of years. He’s aired his lunacies to millions on Twitter. He’s a punching bag for TV journalists. And worst of all, the only things he’s created are the Kanye Interruptus meme and one lame album. (No link on that last one).
But his craziest feat in recent memory: scoring a 10 out of 10 rating for his new album on Pitchfork and launching with some of the most beautiful and controversial cover art of any hip-hop album in recent memory. (Rolling Stone gave it 5/5, too.)It’s called “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” and it’s very, very good–but you got that.
So what’s the deal with the covers? There are five of them, all commissioned to 53-year-old New York artist George Condo, an abstract painter who came up in the ’80s with the likes of Keith Haring and has several pieces in the permanent collection at MOMA. West sat for Condo while he painted several portraits, done in the artist’s “artificial realist” style.
In October, when two of the five paintings were revealed, there was talk of banning them from some stores in the U.S. (although Kanye won’t say which store pressured him to make a change). “In the ’70s, albums had actual nudity,” Kanye argued to no one in particular on his Twitter feed. (He might be referring to this John and Yoko album, or this Blind Faith album, the Ohio Players’ ’70s albums, or this David Bowie album.) The final album cover comes with a slide-through window that lets you view all five paintings.
Available now. Price: $12 on Amazon Music.