Kanye West Asked for Cover Art to be Banned

Months after Kanye West’s critically acclaimed album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, hit shelves, its cover art is still causing controversy. In an interview with The New Yorker, artist George Condo, who designed all of the covers—including the notorious artwork featuring an armless, white, naked phoenix sitting on the lap of a naked black man holding a bottle—said Mr. West specifically asked for an illustration that would get him in trouble.

A couple of weeks before my first visit to Condo’s studio, Kanye West, the rapper, asked him to do a painting for the cover of his new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” writer Calvin Tomkins wrote in his New Yorker story. “West said that he had seen paintings by Condo, and wanted to collaborate with him. According to Condo, he also said that he was looking for ‘something that will be banned.’”

West came to Condo’s studio, where for several hours they listened to tapes of his music, and over the next few days Condo made eight or nine paintings,” the article reads. “Two of them were portraits of West, one in extreme closeup, with mismatched eyes and four sets of teeth. Another showed his head, crowned and decapitated, placed sideways on a white slab, impaled by a sword. There was also a painting of a dyspeptic ballerina in a black tutu, a painting of the crown and the sword by themselves in a grassy landscape, and a lurid scene of a naked black man on a bed, straddled by a naked white female creature with fearsome features, wings, no arms, and a long, spotted tail. West chose that one.

As previously reported, Ye took to his Twitter account back in October to announce that the powers that be did not approve his vision for his forthcoming CD booklet. “Yoooo they banned my album cover,” he wrote that afternoon. Adding, “In all honesty … I really don’t be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers.”

A rep for Walmart denied the allegations. “We’re excited about Kanye West’s new album and we look forward to carrying it in our stores on November 22nd,” a spokesperson said. “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.” —Elan Mancini

  • markpicken

    bullshit faggot marketing!
    I like this album. In fact,I love this album compared to the last.
    In fact compared to majority of lame recent releases! My only BUT is about the hype and pathetic controversy!

    • thatgirl404

      @markpicken: Well, don’t blame Kanye, blame yourself for always falling for what mainstream artists put out as “gospel” as opposed to seeing it for what it is “mass marketing” gimmicks to get chumps like you hyped over much of nothing. I think this story takes away from Kanye’s credibility. When you’re good, you don’t need these type games… just stay true to your fans whose money help you ball, homeboy!

  • markpicken

    1st comment ever. HA!
    I showed the artwork to my wee brother and he thought it was cool as fuck!
    That was until i showed him the title.
    Then his exact words were “fuckin’ shite”.

  • The Change

    Kanye’s artistic vision & lyrics are Fresh. Always pushing th envelope & forget the corporate market place, all they care about is money. I’m glad he chose the album cover he did people need to stop being so bitchy & just listen to the CD if a cd cover bothers you that much I feel sorry for you (No Life) or perhaps jealousy. At least he chooses to be creative with his work instead of doing the usual looking tough guy pic with a gun & some drugs & some hot piece of ass, forget that. Ye keep up the controversy show these lame white americans how to be an artist. Ye always & the album bumps. Support his work.

    • PHEAR

      I’m confused… Did he draw it himself?

  • markpicken

    PIERZY!
    HA!
    been reading the comments for years
    Im from scotland and i love HIP HOP,
    like i love haggis!
    XXL is not what it used to be.

    Its still the best website.

    ^Not much of a compliment considering
    the competition.
    Apart from Bol(no dallaspenn/ronmexico)
    the best thing about the site is
    the regular commentators.
    WAY too many to mention .

    As im currently unemployed 9 to 5
    for the first time in a decade!

    I hope to step my typim game up
    + comment more. HA

  • Q461

    Thats some smart marketing. Ye knows whats up. Back before the digi age, an album cover def helped market a record.

  • Dead President

    dont get me wrong i dig the album and yo i lurrve watchn hataz kickin up at the scent of controversy. but personally thought the cover couldv been more troublesome – haha oh yeaah . .

  • lookatya(stillinrehab)

    what a nigga
    trick you at of ya money nigga
    couldn’t just rely on his music nigga
    causing ruckus with taylor swift to subcoinsciencsly to promote his album nigga
    H.e A. M.otherfucker
    theres your ham nigga

  • 404girlz

    @markpicken: Well, don’t blame Kanye, blame yourself for always falling for what mainstream artists put out as “gospel” as opposed to seeing it for what it is “mass marketing” gimmicks to get chumps like you hyped over much of nothing. I think this story takes away from Kanye’s credibility. When you’re good, you don’t need these type games… just stay true to your fans whose money help you ball, homeboy!

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