« Dissect

S2E9 – So Appalled by Kanye West

2017-10-03

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

Follow Dissect on social media @dissectpodcast. Purchase Dissect merch at dissectpodcast.com.

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 call today. We continue our serialized examination of my beautiful dark twisted fantasy by Connie West, Currently in the midst of the album second act, which will remember, is titled dark. our last episode, we heard monster as Connie's best attempt at wearing the villains clothes given to him by the public post Vmas. However, the songs, outro signals and exhausted resignation of this bill role as kind Heads home for the imaginary show that centered in the song's hook
monsters, resignation, transitions directly into a track. That is in many ways a continuation of monster. Like months It's also set at a concert with the narrator asking us to see our hands but where monster is a phantasmagoric display of antagonism, the track to this is a dreary smoke filled hangover. I meditation on the absurdity of success were talking about with fantasy seventh track. The second track it back to the subject of today's episode, so uh, two hands in the air. If you don't really care, it's like that. Sometimes I mean ridiculous. It's like that. Sometimes she redickulous one hand in the air so appalled. by Connie, West no id and MIKE Dean with guest, appear this is by Swizz Beatz Jay Z, push cy hi the prince in the Rissa. the track in many ways, exemplifies Connie's collective approach to making twisted fantasy. Indeed Connie.
In the beginning of so apart to recite his verse and hook the by the one minute, forty exits for been leaving the songs remaining five minutes to his guests, because so uh characterizes cognates art by committee approach to twisted fantasy before Diving to the track. I want to take this opportunity. Detailed, the albums work environment and creative process as Connie fled the country after the backlash of the Vm A's in two thousand and nine after stops in Japan and Rome Can they finally settled in Hawaii, rented, a home and indefinitely but all three rooms at the apex recording studio in Oahu Connie kept engineers at the it's twenty four hours a day on the studios wall where a handful of Connie commandments his version. Studio rules which included things like no tweeting. No pictures, no hipster hats and just shut the up. Some Connie invited a slew of artists and producers to Hawaii to contribute to the album, including Raekwon Riza, Pusha, T Rick Ross.
Charlie Wilson, Big Sean side High, the prince, Swizz Beatz, well, Nicki Minaj Ti Drake. I mean Jay Z, John Legend, Fergie Rihanna, the dream Ryan Leslie, Elton John MIA Justin and seal Beyonce kid Cudi, most def Santa Alicia Keys, Elly Jackson, Tony Williams, Q tip Riza, DJ premier, S1 MAD live in people. Connie reportedly spent over three million in expenses from his record label. Def jam recording the album. One of the most expensive albums ever made according to complex magazines, Noah Callahan Bever, who had opportunity to briefly stay with Connie in Hawaii. So there was a routine, established during the twisted fantasy sessions, beginning around ten thousand. Am breakfast took place at Connie's rented mansion prepared by his personal chefs, mind you, while Connie's guest, slept at the House Connie himself. Rarely did Steady, took ninety minute power naps throughout the night in the studio, and we continue
working in between these naps during breakfast. Music was the only topic of conversation. and mostly it revolved around Connie's album and it's complex article I had Bever said quote, is never explicit discussed, but everyone here knows Good music is the key to Connie's redemption with the right songs and the right album can overcome any and all controversy, and we are here to can challenge and inspire unquote after breakfast, most of the guys, headed to the YMCA to play basketball against locals before heading into the studio for this: communal, routine and press the Riza, the Wu Tang Clan, who found in and in his hawaiian experience will tell you some of this young man. It does show they get up every morning to eat breakfast together, his whole crew. They talk about yesterday and the next day and the day of and the present they plan.
Another prophecy sit down and talk about what they want to do with they did and how to make the music better. Then they go exercise together, Ok go to the YMCA League, play basketball, lift weights, focus, get the energycap out, get the cheer up, and then they get the studio about four hundred o'clock for Sql force. You to do. Some charity work main like fight all these kids and do some charity ship. So therefore he's doing a good deed of the day as well good karma, and then he goes to the studio and he stays there from four and when I was there, We love it for so twelve hours of Ender studio world then go to bed get up and do it again the next day. The way everything happened, though, was like full is enerji. You know, and actually I've never seen that from a rapid. Before I come from Wu Tang Clan five, five
for the concept of the Late Lake Summit When is summer sleeping you know, I'm a an this. It's not only his talent that took him to the top. I gotta say is his focus, show in the studio Connie established a communal approach to song. Crafting it often fix Donna, verse or line from a and now everyone in the room, their opinion, you have multiple per there's an artist working simultaneously in different rooms, and he between rooms, giving feedback, rapper Pusha T he said, of the twisted fantasy sessions, quote the guys, the maestro it's a totally unorthodox way. well. It's unorthodox to me, 'cause. I never can anyone working pieces like that we could easily be working on one song. Thinking we're in a mode we'll hear a sound from someone like Jeff Bhasker and immediately turn his whole Attention to that sound and go through his mental rolodex, to wear that sound belongs on his album and then goes straight to that song immediately. Unquote, q tip of a tribe called quest
set of his experience quote. I never were Hey Connie was working in Hawaii, everybody's opinions mattered and counted, and there's consequences T and everybody is sitting in there and he's playing and everyone is weighing in it was like music by committee. It was fresh that everyone cared like that at the delivery. It comes in the studio and Connie likes him and they strike up a conversation. He'll go check. This out. Tell me what you think, which speaks volumes to who he is and how he sees in views every person has a voice in an idea, so sincerely looking to hear what you have to say. Good bad or whatever By the end of the sessions you see how he integrates and transforms everyone's contributions, so the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. He's a real wizard at it. What he does is Alchemy really unquote. And so here we can return to so appalled, attract that feature handful of the collective guest artist that attended rap camp in Hawaii. As we noted the production
is handled by Connie, no idea and MIKE Dean, the beat centered around a sample from the nineteen. Seventy nine song you I am the Manfred Mann's earth band chopped up. snare pattern is added to sound like this.
hypnotic instrumental, provide the perfect landscape for the flu count to fame, but the song slew of featured Mcs Kanye, Swizz, Beatz, Jay, Z, Pusha, T Cyhi, the Prynce, the Riza features on the song, makes it a quote: unquote, posse cut. A posse cut is a track that contains verses, four or more rappers. The form was developed in the nineteen. These as a way for a rapper to show off their crew or posse as an example Use Marley Mars. Nineteen. Eighty eight track the symphony why they can classic posse cut. It features a verse from Master ACE attentions the product in the I'm going to come a verse from Craig G
dedicated unoptimised, except when I wasn't by Kool G Rap. Finally, a verse by big, daddy, Kane, the symphony is a blueprint for posse cuts, because it contains no hook. Rather than M Cs go in one after another, with little break in between, while some posse cuts have hooks there. Brief and not the center of the song, the verses. The ours. The lyricism takes center stage. This often creates a competition element within the track
GMC spitting his or her best verse. In order to stand out among the pack, we can find posse cut throughout hip. Hop history, including well, now, tracks, like Wu Tang Clan's, triumph a tribe called scenario, asap Sap, Rockies one train a slew of others, often in a posse cut, you find MC showboating using the opportunity to promote them and their skill set in Connie's version. Posse cut he uses. for to coaxes features into speaking on the same theme. Adding a variety of perspectives on a single subject. like we saw the album's previous track monster, which technically falls under the posse cut category. Each MC gave their version of what it means to be a monster and so a pod. Each MC will more or less expound upon the ridiculousness of the successful life they live. The tracker with producer Swizz Beatz performing the songs introduction the hypnotic timbre of his voice, complemented the dreary production and establishing the songs stream like setting.
Gina religare two hands in the air. If you don't really care, it's like that. Sometimes I mean ridiculous. It's like that. Sometimes it should be Dick Ulous one hand in the air. If you don't really care middle finger in the air, if you don't really care ridiculous. the track attracting by asking Let's put one hand in the air, the cliche of hip hop live, shows things. We take a strange turn when he asks us to see two hands in the air which a somewhat bizarre zombie like image of a crowd with both of their arms, extended skyward, there's a certain lifelessness to the action and it kind of going through the motions This is accentuated by the next line is like that. Sometimes I mean ridiculous. Seems to be commentary on the preposterous nacev of the influence and power granted to a performer on stage, section then repeats with a few subtle, but thematically telling changes instead of
hands in the air. He asked us to put our middle fingers in the air inferences, somewhat nihilistic overtones of the introduction. Only the introduction closes with the line. Life can be sometimes ridiculous. This Running section sets the stage with the verses that follow with each MC. outlining the ridiculousness of the life they live. First, up to the plate is our protagonist, Kanye West, who opens his verse with a somewhat foreboding reference to Donald Trump,
Donald Trump taking Dallas riyals baby you're buying girlfriend higher. But if you don't mind, I hope you won't cause we're but allow we only have about you like ten dollars that you will function hold. Do the walls for the since they all numbers. I need more robust, and if I don't use drugs need more couples house, she bangs, I mean got damn one time. Let it be a bad bit. Sweeping Donald Trump taking dollars from y'all. It's worth centered around trumps balding head in order golden glove at and resembling a spalding basketball. Connie then quotes
you're fired catchphrase from the show the apprentice saying. Baby you're fired your girlfriend hired. But if you don't mind, I'm gonna keep you on call it's a crude line, followed only by more crudeness saying we above the law. We don't give a fuck about y'all. I got dogs not sure fucking hole through the wall. It would seem that Connie's aligning himself with Trump's notorious womanizing and heartlessness his antagonism only worsens as a burst continues he's frustrated by looks at the housekeepers at his hotel room wishing instead, an attractive woman that desires him because he's famous is embodying the mindset of the extremely privileged a Donald Trump. So Fulton narcissism, that abuse people and things exclusively through the lens of his own pleasure system, as is continues. Kanye shows no signs of backing off his brashness
I just right one of the more memorable couplets from Connie's verses. The lines praises do to the most high Allah praises due to the most fly, Prada very uniquely Connie, West juxtaposition, from day Connie is shown, comfort, Inn, juxtaposing religious entities with high fashion. Could tour and memorable comical ways: Connie who's. The verse venting his frustration with the lack of integrity season. Other artists, he says Edwards be right in bullshit, like they got to work
and we're going to real man they out of work. That's why another God Damn dance track, gotta hurt! That's why I'd rather spit something that's got. A perp Connie seems to be implying that pumping out dance tracks is a kid. The factory work, what one does simply for paycheck. What kind Music, has purpose and integrity the dance tracks he speaks of are likely. The chart topping rap, slash, dance songs made popular, Two thousand and nine two thousand and ten era from artists like Pitbull and Flo rider. On twisted fantasy Connie was consciously avoiding the floor in the floor, rap mentality, trying to bring hip hop back to its roots dark. Fantasy is all of. It was just like no foreign floor 'cause, it was thank you. Favor rappers is bag and out- and she was like we
I don't like living the legacy like Mobb, deep blue tank. This period, man fuck everything else Connie's claim to authenticity is a somewhat contradictory way to end of verse. The largely propagates exclusive his lifestyle, the company's performance of the songs, brief hook, forces to examine those sentiments, I mean it is funny. Begins champagne wishes thirty white bitches the play. The tv show the lifestyles of the rich and famous and the tagline champagne wishes, Caviar dreams:
thank you for joining us. I'm Robin Leach, with those champagne wishes and caviar dreams will look forward to joining you on the next edition of lifestyles of the rich and famous chinese version replaces caviar dreams with thirty white bitches, which is followed by the line. I mean this shit is fucking ridiculous we can interpret. The word read list two ways: one meeting absurd or irrational and the other more modern, the informal meaning of ridiculously good. This double meeting can be applied equally to the sentiments of Connie's verse. on the surface, it would appear to be a defiant assertion and exploitative use of Connie's elite social status, but just beneath the surface, there's a kind of depressive quality to these claims does accentuated by the tracks. Somber somewhat ominous
The combat Uriel Johnny uses his life to exemplify the ridiculousness and hollowness of the lifestyle of the rich and famous there's a kind of desperation and loneliness of a man who, for example, is alone in a hotel room lusting after a house made looking for intimacy in all the wrong places before moving on. I do want to address something strange that you may have noticed about this verse, Connie's voice. I've heard many accounts from people confused by what's going on with Connie's voice on this track is different from the voice were custom hearing from Kanya to the point of being unrecognizable Some. With this in mind, let's listen again to another clip of this verse, paying attention to his voice. Way too long investigating this unsolved mystery. My initial hypothesis,
Connie's voices pitch slightly lower my bases hypothesis, on a passing comment made by Noah Callahan Bever in the complex article I started earlier at breakfast in Hawaii ever witnessed producer, the Riza telling the group he alters the frequency of Ghostface Killers voice to regulate its whiteness. A whiny voice would imply nasally and high. So I assume Reza pitched it down slightly to regulate this and seeing how Rizzo was president during the recording of so appalled and even performs a hook at the end of the track. I thought perhaps he had something to do with altering Connie's voice, well, however, logical these steps might be. I'm pretty sure this hypothesis is wrong. I endlessly fiddle with the pitch of Connie's voice on Silipo, trying to make it sound more Connie. I couldn't after some more digging, I came across an early leaked version of so appalled. It's a rough unmixed version of the track with just Connie's verse in an early version of the
Spalding Ball Ball than Donald Trump taking dollars from your baby. You're fired you girlfriend higher, but if you don't mind, I would keep you on call. Will ya bud Alaweo, Listen to me sounds like a demo. A reference track, especially because the quality of the vocal recording is rough and scratchy but after playing the album version of so appalled in this early version simultaneously discovered both contain the same performance of the verse, I'm going to play them simultaneously. For you now the league version in the left channel and the final version in the right ridiculous life can be sometimes ridiculous. even two vocal tracks right. If there are pitched differently or different, takes
you'd hear it right away as an exam. well. Here's the same passage this time with the early version pitched up just slightly, here. The two vocal tracks rubbing against each other right is two versions line up so perfectly. In the first example, I played you. It means that the leak Connie Kanye, so appalled, verse, is the same performance of Ursa ended up on the album it would seem, unlike That Connie would alter the pitch of his voice at such an early stage and it would be bound by reserve hawaiian influence theory as well. After even more digging I discovered a quote by producer Plain Pat. They may solve the mystery once and for all it's a quote from or he told about the creation of kid Cudi song, while the because I'm young, the song that began studio sessions in Hawaii
Jim all night right, I guess the the smoke in the recording of this track plane Pat said quote: when we recorded it, we didn't use a booth. We just recorded it right in the room on M fifty seven, that's the Mikey use live like in microphone. Cudi was recording in the booth, but he said it sounded to clean, given that the bee was so unorthodox and up Cudi recorded the same way Connie did so appalled, unquote, the microphone playing Pat referred to the M50 is a one hundred dollars microphone made by sure. Is it really common entry level, microphone according path, quote Connie recorded his verse on so Paul not in an isolated recording booth but
open room. These two elements together a cheap bike in an open room, produced a rougher, less polished, sound. We can hear this most clearly when Connie's vocals are sold on the track, which happens during the all Prada lines. As we listen close attention to the peace sound on the word. Prada praises due to the most fly Prada can hear the distortion right It would seem more than anything, the cheap microphone in the lack of recording booth is responsible for Connie's, altered voice and since plane, Pat, and he deliberately uses tech. To alter the tone of cut his voice would then be logical to conclude that Connie deliberately use the technique to create that tone as well props wanting the match, their Berkey character of so appalled to beat so cheap microphone, open room mystery solved, I think
So a continues with versus by Jay Z, Pusha T and CY the prints. Well, we don't have time to dissect every line of every verse. I would like to share Take a few exemplary lines from each and examine a tie into the song's loose over arching theme of embodying the darker side of success. Jeezy's first begin by venting his frustration about the constant slander on his name midway through the verse he recited. Most memorable line. Putting the recent Batman film, the dark knight.
more victims of mine in the coaches, easy close, the character Harvey Dent in the dark Knight film who transforms into to face after a tragic accident, leaves half his face. Disfigured you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. But, however, the Batman is. He doesn't want to do this for the rest of his life. Batman is looking for someone to take up his mantle J to face as a metaphor for the public perception of celebrities. It's along the somatic lines that we discussed in our power episode about bring down the same statues. We help erect Harvey Dent was a well intentioned politician, beloved by the public, who turned into a monster likewise, we often witness celebrities fall from grace and often revel in their downfall.
Jay, Z, elaborates and embraces this notion. I went from the favorite to the most hated, but would rather be underpaid or overrated. His outlining public hatred as an inherent of success able to somewhat casually brush it off as part of the job, because it's a job is very, very well you'd, rather do what his own best interest and attempt to keep a favored public perception All too aware of the fickleness of such a thing, Jay's verse lose it more elaboration, about's wealth, mixed with clever word, play to handle Wayne's world, so you know more focus on those thirty meals, so I spent another thirty percent like hammer. Thirty million can hurt me fucking insane Is an hammer went broke, so you know I'm more focused. I lost thirty mil so I spent another thirty 'cause. Unlike hammer, thirty million can't hurt me.
These lines are in reference to Mc Hammer and Hip hop star in the 1990s, whose net worth was valued around thirty million. According to Forbes magazine, hammer ultimately mismanaged his fortune and filed for bankruptcy. In two thousand and nine lines don't seem to be a shot rather use hammers rags to riches, to rags story as a cautionary tale, of course, mixed with a fair amount of braggadocio hammer, self took offense to the lines. I really Jay, Z, Diss, track title better run, run in which he claims sold his soul to the devil, I could see it in his eyes. The boy said his soul devil said. Mister double. Can you give me a sign? He said.
Jay Z's verse on so apologies followed by a verse by Pusha T Pusha T originally supposed to spend just a weekend in Hawaii, but ended up staying a month. assigned to Connie's label, good music push away. no time addressing so appalled steam of the darker side of success, What you make it take it, how it come by half a million twenties like a billion where I'm from and everything drug dealer, the legend I become seeing instead I'll be there by twenty one blackjack. I just pulled an aces you looking at the king and his face everything I dream of the fuckers, I'm watching it take shape Success is what you make it, take it how it come. I half a million 20s is like a billion where I'm from he's alluding to his success as crack dealer in the streets of nor Folk Virginia half a million. Twenty dollars. Bills implies that the money came from drug dealing occurring, that much
money, no matter how you did. It is an achievement in his neighborhood, push then uses CNN as proxy for the nation at large, will highlight the hype ability that someone like him, a black male drug dealer in the project, would be dead by age, twenty one but push flips the script, likening twenty one to blackjack The game who's goal is to get twenty one using a series of cards push pulls in ace, whose value is eleven in blackjack and compares himself to a king, whose card value is ten added together and, of course, you get twenty one blackjack. This clever word play represents his against the odds story of escaping the projects of a film. stream of success through music. Hence the line everything I dream: I'm watching it take shape, want to you, I'm just a young, rich and Wird die lacks faith. Even though push embodies the american dream. The success of the true rags to riches story. He still Daz and reduced to a delinquent juvenile with money? Again it touches,
Juxtaposition of success and the negative perception we often bestow on those with success after pushes verse comes appearance by good music artist, CY hi the prints, a talented, but not really well known: rapper, who I snuck his way onto so appalled. He told rap up com closed. I wasn't supposed to be on so appalled. People don't know that I kind of cheated Connie said. Can you think of something to write on the hook? I peeped he was kind of sleepy at the time, so he went to sleep I sit in the studio and I said I'm not just going to do no hook, I'm going to do my verse. I did a verse and I didn't tell him the verses on there and I hit it is playing the album for some very important positions and he played the song. He didn't know my versus going to come on and everybody in the room goes bananas. He said I got to keep it a Knowing size, verse wasn't planned or preface by Connie makes sense.
As well, so I hi contribute to solid lyrically crafty bursts with memorable lines such as, if God had an, I pod, I be honest, play list. His verse doesn't really contribute to songs, loose cinematic thread insofar as revealing the problematic side of success. For that reason, and noticed check this I hi we're not going to dive into his verse as we did the others. following cy hi there is. It performs an aggressive rendition of the songs brief hook, while Rep The song bridge, performed by Swizz Beatz, brings the song to a close, conclusions Will Connie J and push all loosely touch on the ridiculousness of success in the life they lived? It's perhaps musical setting of so appalled that contributes most of the overall narrative twisted fantasy in sambar smoke filled and bleak
adding to the slow decay we've been experiencing since Connie's imagined suicide on power and the bridge into his the world on all the lights. My monster, we heard Connie and friends expressing their inner villain. While so appalled gives us a glee into the absurdity of the villains, lush but problematic lifestyle. Jay said die, be a hero to live long enough to see yourself become the villain. They seem. Connie is doing exactly that. Seeing himself become the villain once on top of the musical world post Vma Kanye was instantly vilified by the general public on monster and so appalled, he is in some ways documenting what it feels like to become a villain. His grappling with the idea he's trying it on and is not pretty at the top of so we documented Connie's music by committee approach, how he surrounded himself with a slew of his favorite artists and musicians in Hawaii. We also noted how Connie rarely, if ever slept in a bed rather Six short naps in the studio, often working through the night and into morning
There's certainly displays Connie's work, ethic and dedication to his art. I can't help but think these actions are also indicative of a man in real pain and turmoil. We know the Vmas by with the lasting grief over his mother's death, sent Connie into emotional crisis of sorts and typically What do we do when were hurt after a breakup or go through a traumatic experience or death? We surround ourselves with people with friends as much as possible. We certainly don't like being alone and let's typically the hardest time of day when grieving or when going through a bad breakup at night in bed alone are mind: wanders, let stuff to sleep, and we get extremely lonely. Connie's unique approach to the creek. Twisted fantasy was certainly ambitious attempt to create a redemptive masterpiece, unlike we've ever heard, but the approach may have equally been the result of the unconscious actions of a man. rolling with the considerable amount of stress anguish in depression. Indeed, while so find Connie surrounded by friends. All expressing the
certainty of their lives as the album continues. Connie will go searching for something more intimate, something real, something like Well, love I love it though it sunset of the song is the album's next track devil in a new dress which will thoroughly explore, time, I dissect
dissect, is written and produced by me. The music by birocratic. If you enjoy dissect, consider leaving a review on Apple podcast, tell a friend about the or share a link on your favorite social media outlet, there's no team behind dissect sect. It's just me I can use all the help I can get growing the show if you'd like to support dissect, you can do so at Patrie. com, slash dissect by pledging as little as one dollar per month, which works out to be about zero dollars and twenty five cents per episode dissect, become more sustainable and help me offset some of the costs of the show. My dream is to one: make dissect my full time job and it's just half the listeners of the show pledged one dollar a month. I could very easily do that, big shout out to my diamond level, supporters, Evan, Sweat, Jonathan Hardy way, Salmon Chaudhry MIKE Jolla, Robbie, Landsberg, Greg,
Many are tour: Misia's Ramen raise Danny Park, Grant Jake and Judy Christian. That's my mom couldn't Samuels the three one: crew, the Portland ART and supple secretive secret, a sand aratta with Zach, Moses exam or politics TIM. We sell Ryan, Phillippi David Bye to Dan Evans, Clear Murphy, Aziz, twice, jury and bring masters. Again. You can support dissect that pager on spelled p a t, r e, o n dot com, slash dissect, follow at dissect, Podcast, on Twitter and Instagram enjoyed a dice, a community group on Facebook by searching dissect podcast. You can also email me directly at dissect podcast at G mail, dot com thanks. So much for listening talk to you next week.