I. On November 22, 2010, Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy received the distinction of Best New Music with a score of 10 from Pitchfork, an award more elusive to musicians in the 2010s than the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize, and the National Medal of Freedom. While artists like Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar, and Bob Dylan won honors in the latter categories during that time, Kanye West is the only musician who received a perfect score this decade from the critical website for a new studio album. It may seem arbitrary to point this out, but it means something. It means that according to the most influential music website in the world — or, in its words, “the most trusted voice in music” — no artist has since expressed the ethos of their moment in sound as well as Kanye did in 2010.
What My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy achieved above all else was that it was able to portray in a new way the failure of contemporary America to provide the type of life it had always seemed to promise. For Kanye, gone was the excitement of the college years, metaphor or not. Gone was the possibility of, in the words of his working title for the album, “a good ass job.” Even the violence and agony of love lost had been worked out by Kanye in 2010, processed to beautiful auto-tuned effect with 808s & Heartbreak (2008). Leading up to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,

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