Kanye West’s 2010 magnum opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a vivid exploration into the multi-faceted mind of arguably the greatest hip hop artist of all time. This opulent masterpiece, as grandiose as the man himself, is an intricate tapestry of genre-defining lyricism and meticulously crafted production.
From the sheer audacity of “Power,” the beautiful chaos of “Monster,” the introspection found in “Runaway,” to the classic elegance of “Devil in a New Dress,” every track on the album presents a different facet of West’s creative prowess. The grandiosity of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy offers a perfect mirror to Kanye’s own persona — unapologetic, complex, and impossible to ignore — and is arguably his best album to date.
So let’s get into it. From the intro track “Dark Fantasy” to the gritty posse cut “So Appalled” and 9-minute masterpiece “Runaway,” we rank every song on Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
11. “Hell of a Life”
Landing at number 11, “Hell of a Life” is the twisted, racy cousin to 808s & Heartbreak‘s “RoboCop.” This audacious track melds grungy guitars and an infectious, yet raw synth-driven hook into an earworm that offers an unfiltered look into Ye’s mindset. It’s a ride, yes, but it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as some other songs on the album.
10. “All of the Lights”
“All of the Lights,” the tenth track on our list, embodies the audacious maximalism that is a hallmark of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. This triumphant sonic spectacle features a star-studded list of 14 additional vocalists, including Elton John, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, and Alicia Keys. Its symphonic instrumentation and masterful arrangement, though striking, still leaves room for other tracks to shine brighter in terms of lyrical depth and narrative coherence.
9. “Lost in the World” (feat. Bon Iver)
Just shy of our top 8 is “Lost in the World,” featuring Bon Iver. It’s a tour-de-force of genre-blending that finds its footing at the intersection of hip-hop, folk, and electronica. The track, which grew from a simple a cappella track by Justin Vernon into this complex masterpiece, exemplifies Kanye’s talent for distilling diverse influences into a cohesive, novel sound. However, as expansive as it is, some other songs on the album offer more grounded, introspective journeys into the world of Mr. West.
At number eight, we find “Power,” the behemoth of a single that served as the world’s fiery reintroduction to Kanye West in 2010. Packing an army-march of a beat courtesy of S1 and spitfire lyrics into an anthemic testament to power and self-perception, it’s hard-hitting, but ultimately, it’s the earnestness of the track that places it slightly lower in this ranking.
7. “Blame Game” (feat. John Legend)
Up next at number seven is “Blame Game,” where Kanye partners with John Legend for an achingly raw track about the throes of a failing relationship. The vulnerable narrative and poignant piano arrangement create a deeply emotional experience. But while the track hits home with its personal narrative, it’s not quite as conceptually or musically audacious as some of the higher-ranking cuts on this list. Plus, the Chris Rock outro gets a little played out after a while.
6. “So Appalled” (feat. Swizz Beatz, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Cyhi the Prynce & RZA)
Securing the sixth spot is the brooding “So Appalled,” featuring a formidable array of talent, including Jay-Z, Pusha T, and RZA, against a classic ’90s-type backdrop. The track is a grimly satisfying critique of societal ills and decadence, with each rapper bringing their A-game to the murderous beat. While this star-studded ensemble delivers a stunning performance, the song’s length and superfluous verse from Cyhi keep it from outshining the top five.
5. “Gorgeous” (feat. Kid Cudi & Raekwon)
Finding its place at number five, “Gorgeous” sees Kanye teaming up with Kid Cudi and Raekwon to craft a potent critique of race relations and the state of modern society. Over a crunchy guitar riff, Kanye and company deliver verses rich with metaphor and wit, revealing the track’s depth beneath its deceptively smooth surface. It’s an undeniably significant track, but it doesn’t quite reach the artistic and emotional peaks of those ranked higher.
4. “Dark Fantasy”
Floating into the number four spot is the album’s grand opener, “Dark Fantasy.” The track is a masterclass in world-building, with its soaring choral intro and fairy-tale narrative that unfolds over a lush, intricate beat. It sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the album, but its just a notch below the other three tracks that top it in this ranking.
3. “Monster” (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver)
Crashing in at number three is “Monster,” an epic posse cut that has each contributor delivering a stellar performance. Kanye, Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Bon Iver each shine in their own ways, but it’s undoubtedly Nicki Minaj who steals the show with her career-defining verse. “Monster” is a prime example of the album’s excess done right, where the whole becomes even greater than the sum of its already impressive parts.
2. “Runaway” (feat. Pusha T)
Securing the second place in the rankings is the nine-minute-long magnum opus, “Runaway.” With its elegantly simple piano intro, the signature distorted single-note solo, and a brutally honest self-reflection from Kanye, the song takes listeners on an epic journey that is as audacious as it is emotional. Pusha T’s piercing verse on fame and its pitfalls adds another layer to the sonic masterpiece. Despite its sprawling length, “Runaway” never loses its focus, making it one of Kanye’s most memorable offerings to date.
1. “Devil in a New Dress” (feat. Rick Ross)
Taking the crown, however, is “Devil in a New Dress.” Amid the maximalism that defines much of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, this song stands as a testament to the enduring power of classic hip-hop. From its soulful Smokey Robinson sample to Rick Ross’s career-defining guest verse, every element of the song works in harmony to create a seamless whole. It’s a track that showcases Kanye’s ability to bring out the best in his collaborators while spotlighting his own brilliance as a beatmaker and songwriter. Above all, “Devil in a New Dress” encapsulates the central themes of the album — the tension between sin and salvation, beauty and darkness — making it the quintessential track from this era of Kanye’s career.