Grammy-winning rapper Kanye West reportedly understood the consequences of what would happen if he chose a controversial image for his new My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album.
According to the artist responsible for the image, George Condo, West wanted to stir controversy over his album cover.
“A couple of weeks before my first visit to Condo’s studio, Kanye West, the rapper, asked him to do a painting for the cover of his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” writer Calvin Tomkins wrote in a New Yorker story. “West said that he had seen paintings by Condo, and wanted to collaborate with him. According to Condo, he also said that he was looking for ‘something that will be banned.’ West came to Condo’s studio, where for several hours they listened to tapes of his music, and over the next few days Condo made eight or nine paintings…Two of them were portraits of West, one in extreme closeup, with mismatched eyes and four sets of teeth. Another showed his head, crowned and decapitated, placed sideways on a white slab, impaled by a sword. There was also a painting of a dyspeptic ballerina in a black tutu, a painting of the crown and the sword by themselves in a grassy landscape, and a lurid scene of a naked black man on a bed, straddled by a naked white female creature with fearsome features, wings, no arms, and a long, spotted tail. West chose that one.” (The New Yorker)
Last October, West tweeted the image of his barred cover art.
“In all honesty … I really don’t be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers #Kanyeshrug!”
“I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity.” (Kanye West’s Twitter)
Despite West’s censorship claims, a Wal-Mart spokesperson later refuted the allegation.
“We’re excited about Kanye West’s new album and we look forward to carrying it in our stores on November 22nd,” a Walmart spokesperson says in a statement provided to EW. “As always, it’s our standard practice to carry the edited parental advisory version. We did not reject the cover artwork and it was never presented to us to view.” (Entertainment Weekly)
An industry source also said that stores such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy account for a significant portion of album sales.
At issue, said the high-placed industry source, was whether or not mass-market retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart would carry an album featuring venomous nudes, and one that would no doubt inspire controversy. Though sales at mass merchants have been declining in recent years, data from Nielsen SoundScan for the last two years still had the likes of Best Buy and Wal-Mart accounting for at least 10% or more of physical CD sales. (Los Angeles Times)
Check out some recent Kanye West footage down below: