Kanye West’s Collaborators Come Together for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Panel | ComplexCon(versations)

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.

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Nicki Minaj on How She ‘Fought [Kanye] Every Step of the Way’ to Keep Her “Monster” Verse on ‘MBDTF’

It’s hard to imagine My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy without the incendiary hit single “Monster.” But according to Nicki Minaj, that was almost the case.

In celebration of the record’s seventh anniversary, The Pinkprint rapper reflected on her iconic verse and what it meant to collaborate with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. Nicki also mentioned the time she had to convince Kanye West to keep “Monster” on MBDTF, after he expressed his hesitation.

“Kanye called me to tell me Jay put a verse on this song & that he was still deciding if he would put it on his album,” she wrote on Instagram. “Haha. It was like an hour long call where I tried to convince him to let the song stay on his album. He felt this verse would end up being the talk of the album. I said: YOU’RE KANYE WEST!!!!”

She also admitted there was a minor disagreement when it came to her signature growl. Kanye wanted more, while Nicki feared it would be “overkill.”

You can read Nicki’s full note, which includes shout outs to Amber Rose and Blac Chyna, below.

“Monster” debuted Sept. 21, 2010, on Kanye’s G.O.O.D. Friday music program; however, it didn’t get an official release until Oct. 23, about a month before MBDTF dropped. The song went on to receive a platinum certification as well as plenty of critical praise, with many people applauding Nicki as the track's standout. Pretty impressive considering she was featured alongside Jay Z, Rick Ross, and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.

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Let Amber Rose Speak On Her Breakup With Kanye—After All, He Made An Album About It

When Kanye made ‘MBDTF,’ he followed the footsteps of Frank Sinatra and Marvin Gaye’s heartbreak classics—but that was just one side of the story.

A Recent History of Kanye West’s Music Leaks

Truth be told, music leaks every day, and while some artists' pre-release material might move the news cycle for a bit, no one can dominate a conversation quite like Kanye West. Over the years, his leaks have become the thing of legend, with entire sections of the internet dedicated to cataloging the build-up of new Kanye music, watching it evolve from demos and pre-release material to the finished product (or, in the case of The Life of Pablo, the songs' evolution).

This is something to ponder as we try to figure out what his most recent leaks will end up being. Boasting features from Young Thug, Migos, and ASAP Rocky, the songs have been teased for over a year, with no clear cut indication on where they'd end up. Judging by Kanye's leak history, we might not even get the same songs that we heard this week.

Let's look back at Kanye West's leaked track history in recent times.

May 28, 2010: No one man should leak all that “Power”

Long before we knew what a powerhouse of an album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy would turn into, Kanye fans were just hoping he was on his way back toward traditional hip-hop after 2008's 808s and Heartbreak.

When “Power” leaked in the spring of 2010, it was all the evidence we needed to declare Kanye was back. There weren't a whole lot of changes in the song in the time between the leak and the album's final release, but the initial product was so good that it didn't really matter.

May 31, 2013: Q-Tip introduced us to “Mama's Boyfriend”

A track by the name of “Mama's Boy” had been rumored amongst Kanye fans for years, and was allegedly rapped a capella at the Facebook offices during the promotional tour for MBDTF. It didn't end up on the album, and a fake version would eventually surface on the internet in 2011.

Mercifully, Q-Tip freed what sounds like a final version of the song titled “Mama's Boyfriend” while lecturing at the Red Bull Music Academy in 2013. The upbeat snippet didn't sound like it would have fit on MBDTF, but at least it was finally confirmed to be a real track.

Aug. 12, 2014: Someone recorded “All Day” on their phone

The fight to be first on the internet is real, and it was part of the reason “All Day” hit the streets long before the scheduled release date. The leaked version was reportedly unfinished, and Kanye claimed to continue working on the song until March 2015.

Despite the shoddy quality and incomplete nature of the original “All Day” leak, it managed to rise to No. 1 on Billboard's Twitter Trending 140 for five hours. That's the power of Kanye in a nutshell.

March 11, 2015: Kanye thinks Kim Kardashian is “Awesome”

Kanye first played this song for a Met Gala crowd way back in 2013, but it took another two years—and a stolen Kanye laptop—for this song to hit the internet. “Awesome” is believed to be a salute to his wife, Kim Kardashian, but the response to the song was nothing like the title.

Fans have warmed up to Kanye's use of Auto-Tune over the years, but things went into overkill on this one. “Awesome” was never released officially, and maybe that's for the best.

April 11, 2015: Kanye's got the “Midas Touch”

Dropping seemingly out of nowhere, this gold-themed song was speculated to be a reference track for Rihanna, in the same vein of her song “Bitch Better Have My Money.” Her name is all over the track, and Kanye was working together with Rihanna at the time, with their song “Four Five Seconds” releasing months prior to the “Midas Touch” leak.

That's all speculation, however, because there has been no indication since the leak about what the song was supposed to become. Consider this a partially-unsolved mystery.

Jan. 21, 2016: Miley Cyrus hops on “Black Skinhead”

Kanye loves boasting about his ability to mix untraditional combinations of artists—call him Kwa-li or Kwe-li, he'll put him on songs with Jay-Z—and putting Miley Cyrus on a song called “Black Skinhead” certainly qualifies. Cyrus sang lyrics from Tears For Fears' “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” while West switched up the delivery of his lyrics, mixing in Travis Scott vocals alongside a toned-down inflection.

Mike Will hinted the song was in the works dating back to 2013, and hopefully you took advantage of the leak when it finally emerged, because it's a difficult track to hunt down these days.

Feb. 18, 2016: Reddit user releases a whole lot of Pablo tracks

The Life of Pablo is more of a “living” album than a traditional release, and one rambunctious Redditor thought he'd join the creative process for Kanye's latest solo album. Just days after Kanye released Pablo, original or demo versions emerged, including the original version of “Wolves,” full versions of “Waves” and “Fade,” and new tracks like “Only One,” “New Angels,” and a remix of “All Day.”

Kanye wasn't shy about telling the public he had a whole lot of unreleased music in the vault during TLOP, but he didn't comment on this particular leak.

March 31, 2016: Apple Music accidentally leaks “Saint Pablo”

Rappers are always happy to tell you when a record label or third party screws the pooch, and Kanye had a case to make when “Saint Pablo” leaked in early 2016. Ye's link up with Sampha was accidentally posted on Apple Music for a few hours in March, taken down, and then eventually added to Pablo in mid-June.

It wasn't an unknown property when the tech giant let it fly—Kanye had been performing it at shows prior to the leak—but come on, Apple. You only had one job!

Oct. 6, 2016: A Young Thug-assisted version of “Famous” hits the net

Kanye's controversial Pablo track came under fire for targeting pop icon Taylor Swift, but an unreleased version of the song that surfaced later in 2016 changed the formula entirely. Rihanna and Swizz Beatz' vocals got dropped from the track in favor of Young Thug, and West name-dropped his ex, Amber Rose, rather than firing shots at Swift in the track's intro.

The Kanye-Thug collaboration sounded like it was unfinished, but I guess we'll never know—we're still waiting for an official release of this one.

June 4, 2017: Collaborations with Young Thug, Migos, ASAP Rocky, and Travis Scott surface

Individuals behind a site called Music Mafia allegedly hacked Drake's Twitter and afterward were able to get their hands on two songs from Kanye—”Hold Tight” featuring Migos and Young Thug and “Euro (Switch Hands)” featuring ASAP Rocky—as well as a preview of another track with Travis Scott. 

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