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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It Sounds Like Kanye West and Kid Cudi Have a Secret Project in the Works

Rare good news alert.

Kanye West and Kid Cudi are reportedly working on a “top-secret project” together. At least, that's what this report from Page Six would have us believe. In an article that confusingly refuses to name Cudi in the headline (opting instead for “ex-protégé”), sources let loose what they (allegedly!) know about the collaboration.

“[Kanye West and Kid Cudi are] going to drop some crazy collaboration out of the blue,” one source claimed. “They're going to drop some surprise project on everybody. They're recording it now.” According to an insider, “nobody knows what it is” and the artists are keeping the creative process minimal. The alleged recording setup is just West, Cudi, and an engineer.

The report adds that sessions have taken place in Japan, where the two were spotted earlier this month paying Graduation cover artist Takashi Murakami a visit at his studio.


Long time no see @kidcudi and #kanyewest. Thank you for coming to my studio. It was fire 🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on Aug 11, 2017 at 3:41am PDT

Takashi previously teased a “project that I can not say yet” with an Instagrammed photo gallery. The mystery project was teased with images of nude art, a guitar case, and a Marshall half stack:


A post shared by Takashi Murakami (@takashipom) on Aug 10, 2017 at 4:16pm PDT

Fans have been sharing photos of the 808s & Heartbreak collaborators out and about in Tokyo:


칸예실사 👅

A post shared by 정 민수 (@carborfiber) on Aug 11, 2017 at 11:25pm PDT


A post shared by TeamKanyeDaily (@teamkanyedaily) on Aug 12, 2017 at 11:07pm PDT

West and Cudi were also seen last month at a Los Angeles-area recording studio with Plain Pat, a name any self-respecting fan will know means something great is almost certainly afoot.

Cudi surprised us all this week with the announcement of his Passion, Pain, & Demon Slayin' Tour. The 25-date trek, which includes a spot on Tyler, the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in Los Angeles, kicks off Sept. 30 at Philadelphia's Skyline Stage at the Mann.

In a perfect world, West would pop in during the Flog Gnaw set to run through this underrated collab:

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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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