Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
If Kanye West's fifth solo album (and fourth consecutive number-one debut) felt even more painfully, soul-baringly honest than the rest of his oeuvre, consider the circumstances of its creation. Following West's meltdown at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and the ensuing media shitstorm, he went into self-imposed exile, and even toyed with the idea of abandoning the music business altogether.
Instead, he took some time to regroup and then camped out in Hawaii with a group of trusted collaborators including Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Q-Tip, and RZA, as well as a good friend or two.
It's hard to imagine a record as emotionally raw as "Runaway" being birthed any other way. While "Monster" and "All of The Lights" dominated radio airwaves, the album's beating heart lay in trangressive tracks like "Hell Of A Life" and the breathtaking "Devil In A New Dress" featuring Rick Ross. MBDTF is all about the struggle for one man's eternal soul, the eternal tussle between spirit and flesh. Call it the last temptation of Ye.