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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ComplexCon(versations) Returns With 2017 Sneaker of the Year Debate

One of the most talked-about moments at the inaugural ComplexCon was the Sneaker of the Year panel, which featured a roundtable of experts arguing over the best sneaker releases of 2016. This year's edition upped the ante in every way possible as it became another can't-miss event at ComplexCon 2017.

Those who weren't able to attend the ComplexCon(versations) panel now have full access to the debate.

Complex's own Joe La Puma (and host of Sneaker Shopping) once again handled hosting duties this year, and returning panelists DJ Clark Kent, Wale, and Russ Bengtson brought their expertise to a heated debate that also featured Lonzo Ball, Victor Cruz, Aleali May, and J Balvin.

Along with breaking down the top 10 sneakers of the year, Wale and Clark Kent took some time to critique Lonzo Ball and his ZO2 shoe, but also rounded it out with some praise for the Lakers star and the Ball family.

Check out the full panel debate above to find out which sneaker took the No. 1 slot, and keep it locked to Complex in 2018 as we'll be rolling out over a dozen ComplexCon(versations) episodes including My Beautiful Dark Twisted Panel with Rick Ross and Mike Dean, The Disruptors with LaVar Ball and Complex Networks CEO Rich Antoniello, and The Rap Generation Gap Debate featuring Cam'ron, Kyle, ASAP Ferg, and more.

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Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Plain Pat Spotted Together at L.A. Studio

Legend has it that whenever you type the names Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Plain Pat in quick succession, you're guaranteed good luck for three years.

In what is surely another good omen, the three were recently spotted doing presumably iconic things in Los Angeles together. Check it:

So, what's the occasion? Turbo Grafx 16 sessions? Man on the Moon 3? Just a hangout? Only West, Cudi, and Pat know for sure. Upon closer inspection, however, details in the photos above—namely the windows and parking lot—would suggest this is the same Los Angeles-area studio where West was recently spotted vibing all the way out to a mystery Migos project.

Image of pure joy via YouTube

In fact, it would appear that West has been spending quite a bit of time here in recent weeks:


A post shared by @kanyewestuniverse on Jul 26, 2017 at 1:14pm PDT


A post shared by @kanyewestuniverse on Jul 26, 2017 at 10:56am PDT

Pat, of course, has history with Cudi and West as both a manager and a producer. Most recently, Pat bagged multiple production credits on West's The Life of Pablo and Cudi's Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin'. Shortly after Pablo's release, noted West associate Ibn Jasper shared a photo of Pat in the studio with Cudi and Mike Dean. The caption? “TURBO GRAFX 16 day 1.” Hmmm.


A post shared by Ibn Jasper (@ibnjasper) on Feb 29, 2016 at 1:33am PST

As a West fan, it's important to refrain from jumping to any kind of conclusion about this stuff. Whatever Pat, Cudi, and West were theoretically working is just as likely to be scrapped entirely as it is to end up on anyone's forthcoming album. At the very least, we do have confirmation from Def Jam CEO Steve Bartels that West is indeed “working” on something.”

“I check in with him from time to time just to see how he's doing,” Bartels told Variety last month. “What's great about our relationship is that I always know when it's go time — because he wakes me up.” Let's hope Bartels gets a late-night call from West soon.

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Producer Claims Future Filed Copyright Claim Over Desiigner’s “Panda” (UPDATE)

UPDATED 6/20/17 10:30 a.m. ET: Mike Dean has sent in the following statement to XXL:

“The kid lost the stems to the beat. It had some samples in the original from a film. I recreated some of the stems enough to patch up the beat and remove the samples. I was gonna recreate the whole beat then I found a way to keep it. Major labels don’t play with samples not being cleared The song would never have come out or cleared legal at Def Jam. If that’s nothing, then he’s right.

“He should have better file management skills if he works at an electronics repair shop.

“He should get facts straight before he speaks on my name. I let the claim go because I have better shit to do than fight with people over BS. Hope he enjoys the bread and appreciates what I did to help him make $$. That’s about it. Menace, put some respek on my name.

“And thank god Mike Dean removed your samples, youngin. Should throw me a few points from his pocket my way, but I am doing ok with or without the “Panda” bread.

“P.S. He should also thank Plain Pat (the best A&R in the world and my favorite co-producer) who made us (G.O.O.D. Music) all aware of “Panda” in the first place.”

Original story is below.

Desiigner’s 2015 debut single “Panda” catapulted the rapper into hip-hop stardom. The track dominated the airwaves, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance, topped the Billboard charts, and was sampled by Kanye West. It was the kind of introduction many rappers dream of; however, the mastermind behind the “Panda” beat hasn’t received the same success. In fact, he claims he’s still waiting on payment.

In a recent interview with DJBooth, 23-year-old Menace said he hasn’t been fully compensated for producing “Panda” due to a legal claim filed by Future.

“There was a situation with Future putting [an infringement] claim in because apparently, he said that ‘Panda’ sounded like ‘Fuck Up Some Commas.’ So we were just about to see the checks but there’s been a lot of delays so we won’t see anything until next year anyway,” Menace said. “Not only [Future], Mike Dean, Kanye West’s producer, he put a claim in as well saying that he did something to the beat and he never did. I don’t think we’ll see a check until probably next year. Right now, it’s just going through negotiations. The problem is that once someone puts a claim in, it just stops everything.”  A representative for Future denied Menace's claims, saying that they are “not true.”

People have been comparing Desiigner to Future for some time now, pointing to similarities in their rap styles. During a 2016 interview with Complex, Desiigner shared his thoughts about the comparisons, insisting he had no beef with Atlanta rapper.  

“God gave him a blessing, but he gave me a blessing too. I ain't gonna doubt the man's music. He make beautiful music too. Music is made every day,” he said. “Big ups to him, big ups to Future. I actually like Future’s music. I like his music, you feel me. I’m not a hater or a critic on him, you know, I do me. God bless him, God bless me.”

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Kanye West’s ‘MBDTF’ Was Reportedly Almost a Completely Different Album Called ‘Donda’s Boy’

Any day that starts with an immediately-regarded-as-classic Kanye West story is a good day. On the latest episode of ItsTheReal's A Waste of Time podcast, Rory Farrell spoke with Eric and Jeff Rosenthal about his days as a Def Jam intern during West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy era. According to Rory, the original vision for what is widely considered West's greatest album—which Rory said was first entitled Donda's Boy—was quite different than the critically acclaimed final product.

“I was in meetings that interns were not supposed to be in,” Rory recalled. Months ahead of the release of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, for example, West showed up at the Def Jam offices with a special request. “No one had seen him,” Rory said. “He shows up out of nowhere at the Def Jam offices like Lupe and Nas trying to get their albums out, in a full suit. He has, I want to say it was Don C's son but don't quote me, a child dressed identical to him, carrying his Louis Vuitton bag. Comes in and is throwing a fit at how shitty everyone is dressed. So he says, 'I'm not doing business today until everyone is in a suit.'”

Ahead of West’s return the following day, everyone in the office was scrambling to find black suits. When West arrived, the aforementioned child opened up the Louis bag, tossed a blanket over the conference table, and poured West “either white wine or water” into a medieval wine glass. “Kanye says, 'I'm parched, we can begin now,'” Rory said. 

West then played the office My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which was then entitled Donda's Boy. “The idea was that it was going to be 10 tracks, and each track was going to be 10 minutes,” Rory said. “'Runaway' was 20 minutes long. Pusha wasn't on it. Kanye was singing for 15 minutes of it at the end.” The bonus track “See Me Now,” Rory added, had no Beyoncé on the hook at the time. Eventual single “All of the Lights” was also featureless. “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy but it was just Kanye West,” Rory said. “And it was amazing.”

Listen to the full podcast below. The West stories start at around the 42-minute mark.

Shortly after multiple outlets started picking up Rory's stories, legendary producer Mike Dean appeared to question their validity on Twitter. Dean, of course, has worked closely with West since his 2007 album Graduation:

Plain Pat, who previously worked as West's manager and was integral to his early successes, also questioned the alleged alternate title. “News to me,” he said, marking his first tweet in nearly six months.

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