Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a rare kind of classic album—the one where the story of its creation is as fascinating as the end product.
So it only made sense for former Complex CCO Noah Callahan-Bever, who went to Hawaii for part of the MBDTF sessions and wrote a cover story about the experience, to host a ComplexCon(versations) panel featuring some of Yeezy's collaborators. Malik Yusef, Hype Williams, Selita Ebanks, Rick Ross, Mike Dean, and Consequence all shared their stories.
Yusef traced the album's beginnings back to the now-infamous Taylor Swift incident. The record, Yusef said, was “more of a spiritual thing than a musical thing. It was an energy that took place when [Kanye] made Taylor Swift famous… We went to this artistic, somber-esque mode.” He also shared the story of how “All of the Lights” ended up in the form we know it today.
Hype Williams and Selita Ebanks discussed creating the visual aspects of the album. Hype mentioned writing the script for the Runaway short film, and then remembered what happened next. “Kanye threw away the script, which he always does,” the filmmaker said.
Ebanks, who played the Phoenix, recalled improvising her famous dance sequence, and revealed that she got the part at the suggestion of a certain First Daughter.
Rick Ross, Consequence, and Mike Dean closed things out by bringing the discussion back to the music. Ross recalled Kanye disliking the first draft of his verse of “Devil in a New Dress.” Mike Dean spoke about his role, spending week after week in a room with Plain Pat.
“[We'd be] doing 30 parts a day for each song,” he remembered. “Take them downstairs, 29 would get deleted. Every day for eight months.”
You can see the entire conversation above, and keep it locked to Complex as we'll be sharing more ComplexCon(versations) panels featuring the likes of André 3000, Lena Waithe, Ryan Coogler, Virgil Abloh, and more.
More from Complex