This is a public service announcement: after months of anticipation, consternation, and breathless internet reportage, Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is actually here. Really! It leaked yesterday afternoon, and we’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop since. Obviously it’s great: Of the thirteen tracks, only three — “Gorgeous,” “Hell of a Life,” and “Blame Game” — had not seen the light of day in any form, and the previously released ones have already tallied up impressive iTunes play counts here at Vulture HQ. But how great is it? Rolling Stone jumped ahead of the pack, slapping a five-star review on Twisted Fantasy just yesterday (making it, as has been pointed out on Twitter, RS’s best rap album since Beastie Boys’ To the 5 Boroughs). An informal poll of people in our immediate vicinity was overwhelmingly enthusiastic as well.
In order to better put it in perspective, however, Vulture ranked the songs on Twisted Fantasy alongside all the crazy, awesome stuff Kanye has been doing to promote Twisted Fantasy. In reverse order:
30. Taking a cross-Atlantic flight to perform with Jared Leto.
29. Naming his album, in all seriousness, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
28. Dick pics. Hey, he raps the truth!
27. Giving this speech while accepting the 2010 Stylemaker of the Year at the ACE Awards.
26. “Hell of a Life”: Over a terrifyingly distorted bass line, ‘Ye raps about falling in love with a porn star. At the wedding, they both sleep with the bridesmaids.
25. Hanging out with King Tut’s grandmother.
24. Hiring a 19-year-old kid named Cassius Clay as his fashion adviser.
23. “Blame Game”: a downcast ballad featuring John Legend, Chris Rock, and an Aphex Twin sample.
22. Showing up unannounced at Yankee Stadium, the Boom Boom Room, and a bowling alley.
21. “Gorgeous”: features Kid Cudi on the chorus, Raekwon on a verse, and Kanye threatening to “choke a South Park writer with a fish stick.”
20. Making a “moving picture” instead of a video for “Power.”
19. Ranting at Matt Lauer. Watch out, Lauer: ‘Ye’s got a fish stick for you, too.
18. Flouting TSA regulations while performing over an in-flight intercom.
17. Making a Thriller-targeting extended music video, then getting a bunch of channels to debut it at once.
16. “Monster”: A giant posse cut won by Nicki Minaj (“Pink wig, thick ass, make ‘em whip lash / I think big, get cash, make ‘em blink fast.”)
15. Getting Bush to respond to “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” right in the midst of his promotional cycle. And, for the record, George Bush does not “hate Kanye” because he is “not a hater.” Wow.
14. “So Appalled”: A giant posse cut won by Pusha (“Love war, fuck a truce / still move a bird like I’m in bed with Mother Goose.”)
13. Releasing that (see above) as an album cover.
12. “Power”: In retrospect, the perfect song to jump-start the comeback.
11. Raekwon. Bieber. On the same song.
10. “Dark Fantasy”: In the extended studio version, Nicki Minaj gets to do an intro in a British accent, like in the Runaway movie. And how massive are the “can we get much higher?” parts?
9. “Devil in a New Dress”: This beat is bonkers. Bonus: Studio version has a brand-new Rick Ross verse.
8. Whiting out the set at SNL.
7. Debuting new material by rapping it a cappella at the offices of Facebook, Twitter, and Rolling Stone.
6. “All of the Lights”: honestly, the non-studio, non-Rihanna version is a tiny bit better. But this is still an instantly timeless anthem.
5. Premiering “Runaway” at the VMAs. Pusha came out of nowhere.
4. His Twitter!
3. “Lost in the World”: Yeezy reappropriates a Bon Iver song for his epic album closer, and somehow that makes perfect sense.
2. G.O.O.D. Friday!
1. “Runaway”: On our 35,745 listen. It still kills.