If someone is indeed forcing Kanye West to change the cover art for his upcoming My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the message hasn't gotten to one of the major retailers Yeezy mentioned in his Twitter posts about the alleged censorship.
While 'Ye's label has not responded to requests for comment about the claims by the rapper that the explicit art — a painting by New York artist George Condo that depicts a nude, demonically grimacing West reclining on a blue couch and gripping a green bottle while a naked winged woman with a polka-dot tail straddles him — has been nixed by Wal-Mart, a spokesperson for the mega-retailer told MTV News on Monday that they have no opinion on the cover at this point.
Because they haven't even seen it yet.
"We're excited about Kanye West's new album and we look forward to carrying it in our stores on November 22," read Wal-Mart's statement. "As always, it's our standard practice to carry the edited parental advisory version. We did not reject the cover artwork and it was never presented to us to view."
The Arkansas-based retailer — which, according to the market research group NPD, accounted for 17 percent of CD sales in the first quarter of 2010 — does not carry albums with explicit artwork or lyrics, but does accept versions with edited content.
Early Monday morning, Kanye claimed on his Twitter account that the Fantasy cover had been "banned." "So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they cover but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings," he raged in one tweet. The Nirvana album he was referring to was the band's 1991 major-label debut, Nevermind, which had the iconic image of a naked baby boy swimming after a dollar bill on its cover.
A few hours later, he added, "Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!! Ima tweet it in a few..." adding a short while later, "Banned in the USA!!! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!" Always acutely aware of upholding his high artistic standard, Yeezy explained that he "really don't be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers," launching the new hashtag "#kanyeshrug" as proof.
The Los Angeles Times said that according to an unnamed source familiar with West's discussions with his label, Island Def Jam, the rapper was "strongly urged" to use a different cover image. But he was also told that "if he wanted to [use the Condo painting], the label would stand behind him."