« Dissect

S2E8 – Monster by Kanye West

2017-09-26 | 🔗

We continue our serialized analysis of Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by dissecting "Monster."

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
welcome to dissect long for musical analysis broken into short digestible episodes i'm your host cold kushner today we continue our serialize examination of my beautiful dark twisted fantasy by kanye west the last episode marked the end of the album's first act if you'll remember this first act title beautiful was comprised of the album's first four tracks and the album opener dark fantasy we were introduced to connie's character with stab himself as a success celebrity who indulges in materialism drugs and women but also subtly acknowledges the hollowness of this lifestyle yeah i'm second track gorgeous builds on the character introduced in dark fantasy he possess
this is achievements within the systemic oppression and racism black men and women and or in america while the songs took adds complexity and vulnerability their connie establishes the al mistakes in his own mind that his life depended the success of this album is vindicate after the vma the that would win over the public approval once again we also here for the this time subtle allusions to suicide which we might hypothesize as a consequence if the album isn't as successful as connie hopes early on the third song power connie reaches the album zennith in terms of the projection of his ego and bravado i kind of armor developed against the emotional turmoil he feels within over the course of the that armor begins deteriorating and it's deterioration that will continue over the course of the album power ends with imagine suicide which is followed by a few interlude this interlude can be interpreted as connie's metaphor death a portal into a fantastical world
on a psyche connie introduces this world with the song all the lights which we compared to the bright light experience that supposedly happens after one's death the songs neon infested binge of glamour and indulgence is it unusual but metaphorically accurate backdrop to connie's fantastical story of an ex con trying to win back his girlfriend and daughter after being released from prison if you remember we heard this story as metaphor for connie's life post the amazed with kanye playing the ex con taylor swift being the slap girl the feds being the public's perception of the daughter being khanates inner child like creativity which is put at risk because of its a piece of action i glued all the lights in act one mostly for referential convenience really the song acts like a bridge into the album's second act which i've tried
dark here the ambitious beauty of the albums first fourtrax begins to decay and an ugly dark side of connie psyche will begin to reveal itself indeed connie waste no time introducing us to this world as the exquisite adore bins of act one or altogether chewed up and spat out by the albums next track and the subject of today's episode monster so right out all just another lonely night are you willing to sacrifice your life nope monster was these by kanye west with additional production by mike dean and plain pat at the time of this release kanye tweeted that monster was to be the second track on a five song collaborative ep with jay z called watch
of course that album ended up being a full length release the monster was placed on twisted fantasy instead it's not difficult to see why it's phantasmagoric musical set and villainous teams are at home in the elms overarching narrative of fame and it's dark underbelly the track will find connie and others at their most grotesque revealing the haunted paranoid mind that comes with the vice of celebrity the track begins a bony verres justin vernon singing a string a sinister lines is distorted and multi dimensional voice establishing the songs for boating tone the opening line i shoot the lights out is of course the defamation of the previous track all the lights declan creation of the albums tonal and emotional shift the next line hide till it's bright out flow
the nocturnal stereo types of monsters who usually hide tells dark out the following line helps illuminate the somewhat puzzling word play saying just another lonely night it would seem that the indulgences of celebrity night life is export on all the lights are the very things connie's looking to hide from as if the neon lights at the vegas strip our story in the economy is the hot sun is to a vampire with the next line are you willing to sacrifice your life i have yet another illusion to suicide on this album with this in mind the opening line i shoot the lights out becomes a bit more ominous we could also interpret this introduction as metaphor for connie's work ethic and approach to the creation of twisted fantasy related in hawaii it was well known that connie rarely slept during the making of the album working long hours through the night and into morning which we assume left
life outside the studio a sacrificed who's willing to make to dedicate himself completely to his art after this foreboding introduction we hear a high pitch scream followed by a literal monster or matched only by the grizzly voice of rick ross starless is way through a brief transitory bridge i no good one ross begins by cordially introducing himself as a monster i know good blood sucker and a fat mother well for most people these descriptors would surely be self deprecating the aggressive
this in sureness with which are performed make clear that these are badges of honor it sets the tone of things to come as all three of the tracks remaining performers will openly the bracer inner monster ross concludes his brief appearance by providing more vivid imagery saying as you run through my jungle all you hear is rumbles kind west samples here's one for example again ross is doing an exemplary job as setting the song seen as a beat literally rommel's beneath him ross is the use of the word you on the line as you run through my jungle and urges us listeners to visualize running through the murky swamps of his haunted psyche perhaps being chased by the fat motherfucker himself justin vernon's introduction and ross is brief appearance set up connie's dramatic entrance
he comes in performing the song gas gas of needed to stop it everybody knows connie wraps gossip gossip and we're just stop it everybody knows i'm a mother monster this is almost certainly direct commentary in the country's reaction to connie's interruption of taylor swift is a gossip columns and late night tv shows use the incident as material for months after the vmas connie is shown brief moments of monstrosity on the album thus far monster sees connie fully embracing the villain role the public bestowed on him post villa maze made clear by the vulgar
and narcissism of this verse that follows the opening her the best live in right now and about the ticket to win at the the only and it's the same yeah that number you want to make connie opens up versus the best living or dead hands down let's talk more head right now
and my eyes more red than the devil is and i'm about to take it to another level bitch in four lines connie claims himself to be the best rapper of all time demands oral sex from his haters establishes that he's high aligns himself with the devil and if that wasn't enough let us know that he's actually going to take his brashness further assist song continues clearly connie is unleashes dark side and the vulnerability in self consciousness alluded to on the albums previous four tracks have been at least for now sold by the monster within later kanye says do the rap and the track triple double no assists this is clever wordplay as triple double refers to nba player with double digit stats in at least three category which most commonly includes assists mcconney being both a rapper and producer doesn't need assistance make a track so as musical triple double includes no assists the verse continue connie says i heard that people sing raps to give the track pain
which is a reference to the artist t pain the popular is should have auto tune in the early two thousand and ten connie then says bought the chain that always give me back pain this would seem to be a direct reference to the enormous gold horace chain we discussed in our power episode accompanied by his custom made already phillip lim suit which is undoubtedly a tribute to michael jackson coney ward this gold horse chain for several performances promoting twisted fantasy after its release an absurdly large chain apparently enough to give connie back pain a slight job at the irrationality of his materialism the line my money so yeah i had the axing comes next which seems to be another direct reference to the backlash of the vmas here it would seem any genuine remorse regarding the incident was just for the sake of good publicity as is tarnished reputation was diminishing as income after clever sequence of lines about the women that court him
concludes his verse by turning up his monstrosity and delivering some of the most quotable lines of the album you know it's not but it ever had sex with a fair rd
the now iconic succession of lines to conclude the verse he says because you'll never get on top of this so mommy which sounds a lot like money by the way this advice is just to get on top of this have you ever had sex with a pharaoh put the pussy in a sarcophagus as we discussed in our power episode egyptian culture had a strong influence on twisted fantasy and while more serious songs like power it's influenced leads to deep introspection and philosophising on h and ideas on monsters put through connie's unique comedic filter and outcomes a line like put the pussy in a sarcophagus the punch line is top only by its infectious delivery with the long drawn out oh of pharaoh perfectly setting up the rapid fire sarcophagus line and we can't help it to sing along everytime connie concludes averse i'm living in the future so the present is my past my presence is a present kiss my ass as an impactful exclamation mark on
filled with extreme braggadocio and however egocentric its delivery it's a true statement connie is time and again proved his forward looking artistry the impact of his work felt year after the releases and often misunderstood at the time of publication all in all connie's versus a remorseless calculated blitzkrieg of egotism he shows no signs of vulnerability as he does on the albums previous four nor should he monsters a song about the cathartic release of antagonism connie embracing the villain well bestowed on him by the public and unapologetically basking and untamed unadulterated malice after a repetition of the songs hook jay z enters the track list
a string of monsters creatures she got some with no question come everybody knows some a mother must it happened everybody wanted after j he's the source entry of ghoulish creatures he clarifies the origins of this haunted psyche as as i bring in the streets of brooklyn which he likens to a swap he says none of you and words know where the swamp is none of you and words i've seen the carnage that i've seen i still hear fiend scream
my dreams as a dope dealer the feeds here are likely to addicts gissell drugs do who are either withdrawing from the drugs they crave or i've just taken drugs and entered a state of chemical psychosis after somewhat disturbingly claims to rape and pillage of village full of women and children the verse breaks down as he admits as yes what he wanted to know what my get enough of me all i did is these vampires and blood suckers all i see is that made million is million about any financing the only way to back you j mrs weaknesses love which he claims he doesn't get enough of it follows with what he receives instead vampires blood suckers backstabber is and no fang fakes finally he and his burst by smelling blood implies a massacre on his enemies is not
and that we can say jay z definitive hip hop great over on a song but this was his fate on monster you senator between great verses by artist with everything to prove as you know connie dropping as if his life depended on the success of this album and thus he wrote down his wraps for the first time and also crowd sources rhymes with the top mcz imported to hawaii nicki minaj who enters after j was relatively unknown to the general public at this time and saw monster as an opportunity to showcase their skills along to the world's greatest artists indeed nicki minaj had not yet released a proper album win monster first appeared online she's been making ways as a mix tape artist for a few years and then signed a little wayne's young money records in august of two thousand and nine she did a slew of featured versus alongside artists like gucci mane mariah kerry and robin thicke but it wasn't tell me nauseous monster verse that she really broke the mainstream to this day
college credits coneys monsters their big break regarding her experience in hawaii and working with connie she told complex magazine quote i heard through drake that connie wanted me on his album and i got on the next thing smoke into hawaii he's a legend in hip hop an in pop culture and to be honest album is a blessing i don't even remember him ever working with the female rapper so to be on an album on a record this monstrous i could have planned it better in a perfect world i remember station i had with connie every time i sit down to write now every single time i said down i remember him asking what is it that want to say it's not about rhyming words it's about what you really want to say the fact that he wasn't even looking at me when he said it he was on the computer looking at naked girls i think it was just a life changing experience outside of wayne no one is ever spoke to me that way and cause me to better my craft i credit him with bringing out something miraculous in me i really do unquote
nicki minaj's verse on monster is a master class in lyricism but even more so in delivery she performs a phenomenal dynamic range of vocal peaks and valleys her elastic voice effortlessly fluctuating from subtle softness to diabolic crescendo like a virtuoso pianist throughout her verse monodia laska late between two opposing alter egos roman zolanski and hard juku barbie these two characters played a prominent role in minaj is earlier karere anon anon full contrasting duality their presence on monsters a perfect somatic fit minaj spends the majority of the verse embodying the roman in lanski character and arrogant insensitive outspoken mail from london england
bowman is a crazy boy who lives in me an he says that things that i don't want to say i think he was born out of rage he was conceived in rage so he bashes everyone threatens to beat people and is violent of course it doesn't take much to see why
he chose to perform as a lance again the majority of the verse as a character's maliciousness is at home on a song about embracing your inner monster hello well last week thank nikki begins with the with imagery as she arrives onset saying pull up in the monster automobile gangster with the bad bitch that came from sri lanka yeah i'm in the tonka color of willie the passenger from sri lanka speculated by some to be the musician mia born to sri lankan parents
in m i friends and i've called run songs together so the possibility of ma being the bad mitch passenger seems likely next nicki says you can be the king but watch the queen conquer this to me is uh delete line for a few reasons in and of itself there's a passive right off of the position of king we think of the game of chess kings are mobile dead weights what queens savage in limitlessly agile she also says watch the queen conquer which is self upcoming verse of course pay off that she backs up her words above and beyond our expectations indeed the now i line that follows is first things first i'll eat your brains it's a drawing right look at the line the monster persona fide that in a detailed enough message next she describes the teeth and fangs currently eating your brains as gold plated nikki then establish is a rhyme scheme in cadence centered around all things monster her monster high in the fashion capital milan
are monster shoes from designer just seppi's in ot enter monster record labels young money throughout section nikki's voice wavers with the strange a broader that would seem to be imported transylvania as which continues she pivots door barbie character mark by the senate change in our focal inflection personification of barbie begins let me get this straight wait i'm the rookie but my features and my shows ten times your pay 50k for first album out as we they minaj hadn't yet released a commercial album at the time a recording monster yet she still
and high fees for features due to the respect she garnered three mixtape trilogy more though words themselves with the introduction of barbie nicki dynamic performance of the verse begins to take center stage on the phrase no album out she suddenly pivots back to the scratchy aggressive acts in of romans ski a transition made more impactful by the beat dropping back in after having been and for several measures over the next six bars nicki ride the momentum of the beat and establishes a rhyme cadence into sharp accents placed on the ending phrases climate climate violent ynet wildin it sounds like she's literally spitting out some of these words but in another sudden one hundred and eighty she south shore accents in elongates the phrase when i sign it to the point of absurdity moving on i would just like to point out a phrase that i personally never understood until sitting down to write this episode in this section it's discussed she says tony matterhorn duty wine it while and tony
matterhorn is a jamaican dancehall reggae dj who's big was a song called duty wine released in two thousand and six sunshine on about matterhorn could be self referential to the axe she's using on this particular part of the verse it does sound strikingly similar to matterhorn as a burst continues nikki pivots back to barbie time we just heard nikki keeps the energy comparatively low which is the brill wind up for versus upcoming dramatic conclusion the only brief appearance of roman during these bars
is an excellent moment during the line she on a diet but her pocket eating cheesecake which begins as barbie and schizophrenic lee morse midline to roman immediately after this line nikki cleverly references a split personality she just displayed by saying i'll say bride of chucky is child's play both bride of chucky in child's play were movies in the chucky horror film ranch eyes that centered around a homicidal but sweet looking toy doll not unlike the contrast between the keys barbie and roman alter egos the line's besides the eight they can't stand besides me i think me you ann m sherman nosh friday contains a few clever references am here short for amber rose connie's girlfriend at the time of writing monster she implies that the three sherman nausea twice which of course right
this is our name nicki minaj the significance of specifying friday cleverly lose to massage his debut album pink friday both this album and twisted fantasy were released on the same day friday november twenty second two thousand and the kind of massage a between kanye nicki in their share release date after maintaining the longest period of calm in the verse us bar the beat drops to kick joe alone and nikki delivers a tko of an outro i think we think that's good let things get cash make complete this now i can outros accentuated by rapid heart pants between the left and right channels creating a
bring audio strobe light like effect she uses a complex rapid fire three phrase double rhyme scheme saying pink wig thick ass given whiplash i think big get cash making blink fast within each of the two lines the last two phrases rhyme as whiplash cash blink fast while the first phrase in both lines rhyme wig pig this creates an accelerating effect into the versus final lines which is punctuated by a high scream in a statement of the songs is motif i'm a mother monster all the mcs on the tracks a variation of i'm a monster at some point in their versus rick ross of course opens with the fur no what also opens with the phrase and says it negative stopping everybody know jay z also states that early on in his verse
everybody knows some a monster must by the time nikki's part comes around we've heard the phrase eight times so we know it or not the repetition of this line has been conditioned into our minds as credential as resolving the answer to the songs unasked question rather than open with the line like everyone else nikki uses her entire verse to build towards it and when she finally delivers it's extremely impactful heightened by the grueling high pitch squeal that precedes it it's a monster moment so large that connie doesn't reappear to perform the songs hook instead the be continues instrumental i kind of metaphoric
king of the mike nicki minaj his verse on monster has quickly become one of hip hop's all time treasures its impact was felt immediately upon the release of the track it is seen by most including make yourself as their first big break into popular culture in two thousand thirteen complex magazine named the verse the best birth of the last five years that same year connie admitted that we had a momentary thought of potentially cutting the verse from the track because he felt it was the best verse not only on his song but if the entire album it was like that moment you know when i thought about taking nicki's verse for months because i knew people would say it has the best verse on the best hip hop album of all time and arguably top ten albums of all time right
and i would do all that work eight months of work on dark fantasy and people to this day would say to me all my favorite thing was nicki minaj verse so if i let my ego get the best of instead of letting that girl get to shop to get that flat come on she could be i would take it off or marginalize her try to stop her from having a shining moment so what happens when mark what was riding on j with what i come up to him and say my son issues easy that it could be a work on the indeed connie providing nikki with a phenomenal plot for not only with his audience in influence but a musical plot as well for me the success of a song like monster is just as much about the musical details than it is about the quality of the songs versus monsters and exemplary model of cohesion everything about the track contributes to its monstrous theme the production rumbles and shakes with the persistent driving low end and minimal treble there's use of multiple sound effects including literal monster roars and screams
voice is the sound of a crowd when connie asks to see our hands at a concert honey also selects artists and coaxes them to staying on theme justin burns distort sinister introduction rick ross's grizzly monster voice jaycees clever wordplay and of course nikki's osculating alter egos lyrically we could display how on topic everyone stayed by reciting a simple list of quote unquote monstrous theme words i compiled from the track lonely night sacrifice bich monster bloodsucker jungles rumbles dead red devil cold pain sasquatch godzilla king kong loch ness goblin cool zombie swamp carnage feins scream murder rape pillage vampires blood suckers fangs blood massacre eat your brains chucky and kill this content
rainbow cabul airy the continent performance of each of the tracks versus as well as the production and tasteful insertion of sound effects the route create a tightly knit cohesion rarely executed this well in a song with so many features while songs like dark fantasy power and all the lights might be more obviously polish and therefore more easily perceived as cohesive everything about monster start out to the tiniest detail and this brings us to the song's outro which features a reappearance of justin vernon well vernon was jordan and sinister on the tracks opening here on the outro he's much more bone
this passage is a signal of resignation and coming after tracks so outwardly brash it creates a strange unexpected juxtaposition against the onslaught of egos laura fication and remorseless embrace of wickedness that preceded it it seems to be another direct acknowledgement of the vm a incident backlash burnin begins i crossed the line light the word limelight is pronounced in such a way to also hear the word line this cleverly comments on both crossing the line at the vm a's and his relationship with the limelight of fame but when we
center the next line and i'll let god decide crossing the line like come steps celestial connotation perhaps alluding to the bright light once he's after death as we discussed at the top of the show all the lights could be viewed as a portal into another world chinese dark twisted fantasy and crossing the lime light maybe an acknowledgement of that transition letting god decide the fate and consequences of his actions find connie a bit indifferent to the whole of the inmate to buckle now perhaps ready to move on and let the chips fall where they may finally the lines i wouldn't last two shows so i'm heading home can be interpreted a number of ways first we might still think of the vmas with connie knowledge in his inability to lassie shows we're stay quiet when he believes the mistake was made could also be alluding to the
it is world tour with lady gaga was canceled due to the aftermath of the vmas but i think more than this these last lines are in exhalation of forfeiture kanye who on the songs hook repeatedly addressed an imaginary crowd on an imaginary stage is exhausted by his efforts to uphold what now seems like a manufactured anti hero image it says this the song monster was kanye's best attempt to try and the villains clothes and after having a little fun is ready to call it a night indeed monsters resignation transitions directly into a track that is in many ways a continuation of monster just viewed through a different lens like monster it's also set at a concert like monster the hook acid
see our hands at said concert but unlike monster the motional quality is much more somber what two hands yeah it's like this sometimes a mean ridiculous this is like that sometimes yes one man in the this is not a dreary dream like khan where is the setting of the albums next track so appalled which was thoroughly explore next time on dissect is written and produced by me dick by bureaucratic fargo i want to tell you about a podcast you should be listening to you don't already it's called switched on pop switched on pot breaks down what makes a pop hit work music
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big shout out to my diamond level supporters evan sweat jonathan hardy way salmon chaudhry mike jolla robbie landsberg greg serve any our tour misia's ramen raise danny park great jenkins judy krishna that's my mom couldn't samuels the three one crew in the portland art and stumble secretive secret at organized voice dot org again you can support dissect that paycheck on spelled p a t r e o n dot com slash dissect follow at dissect podcast on twitter and instagram enjoyed dissect community group on facebook by searching dissect podcast you can also email me directly at dissect podcast at dissectpodcastgmail dot com thanks so much for listening talk to you next week
Transcript generated on 2019-11-16.