Inside Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: 'Power'

The release of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, one of the most hotly-anticipated albums of the year. The 13-track LP completes something of a comeback narrative for West that began with the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards (when he was ostracized for crashing the stage during a Taylor Swift acceptance speech and went underground for a while) and was built up over the course of the past year with some key live performances, the "G.O.O.D. Friday" download series and the recently-released short film "Runaway." In fact, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is so dense and full of gems that it's necessary to take each song and break it down to its bare elements. This time around, we take a look at the references on "Power."

King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man"

The signature track from perhaps the definitive prog rock band. Formed in England in 1969 by jazz-influenced guitarist Robert Fripp, the band has touched on elements of hard rock, jam rock, metal and a bunch of elements in between for the past four decades. "21st Century Schizoid Man" comes from their debut album In the Court of the Crimson King and contains multiple references to the Vietnam War.

Kelly Rowland

Former member of Destiny's Child (she was the only member besides Beyoncé Knowles to be with the group for its duration) and current solo star who has put out two albums on her own (with another coming next year). In this context, Kanye refers to "Kelly Rowlands" as a stand-in for dark-skinned girls.

"Saturday Night Live"

Long-running late night comedy show that has launched the careers of most every major name in film and television humor of the past three decades. When Taylor Swift hosted "SNL," they poked fun at Kanye's 2009 VMA interruption, which West clearly took exception to.

Jay-Z's "99 Problems"

West throws back to the famous "F--- the critics/ You can kiss my whole a--hole" couplet from Jay-Z's classic "retirement" track "99 Problems."

Napoleon

Iconic French military leader who attempted to re-imagine the borders of Europe and expand the French empire during the 19th century. Notable for being both short and power-hungry, which lead to the psychological distinction "Napoleonic complex" (where short people over-compensate for their size with larger personality traits).

Austin Powers

Character created by Mike Myers around whom a series of three films were built at the turn of the century. Powers was a secret agent from the '60s who was cryogenically frozen and then thawed out in the modern day. Hilarity ensued.

Barack Obama

Chicago native and 44th President of the United States. Polarizing.


VMAs 2017