Celebrating the eventual release of his much anticipated new opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in an adequate manner, Kanye West graces the cover of the December/January 2011 issue of Complex Magazine. For the accompanying cover story, the magazine’s Editor-In-Chief Noah Callahan-Bever received exclusive behind-the-scenes impressions of the life and times of Kanye West following the Taylor Swift-incident and the recording process. An excerpt of the piece is offered on the next page:
“Did you look at my eyes?” asked Kanye West over the phone. He was calling from Milan. It was the middle of October 2009. It had been over a year since the completion of his last LP, 808s & Heartbreak, but this conversation was my first glimpse of what would become My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. “I mean, really look in my eyes in the ‘Run This Town’ video. If you do, you can’t tell me you’re surprised by what happened. It was all there in my eyes.”He was, of course, referring to “what happened” at the 2009 VMAs, one week after the video shoot. Kanye and I had exchanged emails days after the Taylor Swift incident, but between him being inundated with criticism and my own personal distraction—a recently discovered brain tumor, of all things—this conversation, a month later, was our first real catch-up. And yes, Kanye West and I do periodically catch up. (And yes, I know how that sounds. Believe me.) Which is why, when I finally got around to explaining my condition over email, I received this concerned phone call from Milan, like, four minutes later.After I hurried through the uncomfortable explanation of where I was at, the commiserating naturally turned to the major event in his life. Besieged and apologetic—but defiant—Kanye explained the fragile, overworked mental state that led to the outburst, his disgust with the ensuing media storm, and why he’d suddenly, and seemingly indefinitely, gone full ex-pat.