Kanye West Covers Complex (December/January)

Donda’s Baby Boy graces the cover of the December/January issue of Complex magazine. For the cover story, Editor-in-Chief Noah Callahan-Bever provides a rare look inside Kanye’s “Fantasy Rap Camp” in Hawaii and the making of My Dark Twisted Fantasy.

The sun sets, and Q-Tip and Consequence arrive, straight from the plane. Kanye asks RZA if he’d voice the hook—”Champagne wishes and 30 white bitches/You know the shit is, fuckin’ ridic’lous”—and the
Abbott steps into the booth and obliges, immediately transforming from
sedate and stoned to amped and aggressive. It’s enough to make us all
chuckle on his first take; wrapped around those words, his thick and
bizarre drawl just sounds so perfectly…RZA. But Kanye notices something
off in the delivery, and he presses the intercom button to talk to RZA:
“Um, fam, it’s actually ‘thirty white bitches,’ not ‘dirty white
bitches.’” RZA laughs. “I’ll do it again,” he says, “but to be real, the
way I be saying words, you ain’t gon’ be able to tell the difference.”
Ha! At Rap Camp, the shit is fuckin’ ridiculous.

The rest of the trip settles into a fairly routine pattern, if by “fairly routine” you mean “a succession of both magical and mundane moments starring the musicians who defined your adolescence alongside
the most exciting artists of today.” Each morning begins with a 10 a.m.
breakfast at Kanye’s Diamondhead residence. Pusha, Tip, RZA, Cudi, Cons,
and Kanye’s crew slowly assemble to enjoy the absurdly tasty cooking of
Kanye’s in-house chefs. If you’re smart, you order the French toast
with the flambéed banana. An hour later, Kanye pulls up in his Porsche
Panamera, fresh from the studio. That’s right, from the studio. During
my five days in Hawaii, Kanye never slept at his house, or even in a
bed. He would, er, power-nap in a studio chair or couch here and there
in 90-minute intervals, working through the night. Engineers remained
behind the boards 24 hours a day.

You can read Noah’s full story, as well as some testimonials from some of the album’s stars (Pusha, Pete Rock, Nicki, Bon Iver) here. There are also a good 40 or so never before seen candid photos from the studio sessions that you can peruse here. A couple samples:

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