Monster (Kanye West song)

Monster” is a song by American hip hop recording artist Kanye West, released as the third single from his fifth studio album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010). The song features rappers Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and indie folk group Bon Iver. All five credited acts have writing credits on the posse cut, with the production handled by West and Mike Dean. Lyrically, the song expresses often disturbing, horror film-influenced concepts, with some comparing the song’s eerie aesthetic to the Michael Jackson track “Thriller“. The song contains an atmospheric, drum-heavy composition.

2010 single by Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver
“Monster”
Single by Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver
from the album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Released August 27, 2010 (2010-08-27)
Recorded 2010
Genre
Length 6:18
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Kanye West singles chronology
Runaway
(2010)
Monster
(2010)
Start It Up
(2010)
Jay-Z singles chronology
Hot Tottie
(2010)
Monster
(2010)
H•A•M
(2011)
Rick Ross singles chronology
All I Do Is Win
(2010)
Monster
(2010)
Swagger Right
(2010)
Bon Iver singles chronology
Skinny Love
(2008)
Monster
(2010)
Fall Creek Boys Choir
(2011)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
Right Thru Me
(2010)
Monster
(2010)
I Ain’t Thru
(2010)

Originally released through West’s GOOD Friday initiative, a weekly free music giveaway he started to promote My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, “Monster” was later confirmed to be featured on the album, and was released as a digital download on October 23. It was met with mostly positive reviews from music critics, with Minaj’s verse being praised, and West’s production being well received. However, critics were mixed in their assessing of who had the better verse between West and Jay-Z. The song was listed amongst the best tracks of 2010 by publications, with NME placing it at number 53 on its list of the “150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years”.

The song debuted and peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 at position 18. “Monster” was promoted with an accompanying music video, directed by Jake Nava. The music video had several references to horror films and featured extensive horror imagery, with zombies, decapitated corpses and heavily atmospheric cinematography. The music video was widely controversial, being banned from MTV. The video has been criticized for its portrayal of women, and the content of the video was described as weird and disturbing in nature.

. . . Monster (Kanye West song) . . .

To promote his upcoming fifth album, West launched GOOD Fridays, a weekly free music giveaway.[2] The intention was to release a free new song every Friday for a few months, and the weekly tracks generally featured various rappers from his label, GOOD Music, and other artists he usually collaborated with.[2] In the first week West released onto his website a remix of the album’s first single, “Power“, and “Monster” was released on the second week.[3][4] The song was promptly removed from his website and replaced with another track, with “Monster” being uploaded as a digital single onto iTunes.[3] West announced that “Monster” was actually intended for his collaborative album Watch the Throne with Jay-Z.[3][4][5] West’s announcement failed to surface however, and the song actually appeared on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and was released as the album’s third single.[3]

Following some media controversies, West chose to record his fifth studio My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in a reclusive manner in Oahu, Hawaii.[3][6] Like the majority of the album, “Monster” was composed there.[7] Rapper Rick Ross was invited to Hawaii to work with West, because West was set to produce the song “Live Fast, Die Young”, which appeared on Teflon Don, an album by Ross.[8] While Ross was there with West in his recording studio, he actually walked in on West while recording another song.[9] Ross was not initially intended to be featured on West’s album, however Ross was so impressed with what he heard he decided to record a quick, though short verse.[9]

Ross had the concept of the song explained to him by West, which according to Ross, blew him away in presentation.[9] West was so impressed by Ross that he invited him back to his studio during the final stages of the album, where he also appeared on “Devil in a New Dress“.[8] While Ross was there, both Jay-Z and Minaj were recording their verses.[9] Ross expressed his admiration for Minaj, who impressed him during the recording.[9] He stated that what he had observed had earned him respect for Minaj, who called the recording process a “moment of history”.[9]

Rap artists Rick Ross (left) and Nicki Minaj (right) are both featured on the song. Ross was impressed with the song’s concept and asked if he could deliver the intro. Minaj appeared on the song due in part to her admiration of Jay-Z. Ross expressed admiration for Minaj, and praised her lyricism.

Minaj expressed excitement when approached to collaborate on the song, and she had contributed 32 bars to the track.[10] Her main inspiration behind working on the track was the possibility of meeting Jay-Z, with whom she was obsessed since a young age.[11] According to her, she literally couldn’t have a conversation without quoting a line by him, and it was a dream come true to collaborate with the artist.[11] Minaj had recorded her lines around four months before the lyrics finally appeared on the song.[10] Minaj described both Jay-Z and West as “icons”, and stated that she was blessed to be working with them.[10] In an interview with Rap-Up, Minaj mused “never in a billion years would’ve thought that I would’ve not only been on a song with one of them but both them”.[10]

Justin Vernon’s involvement on the song stemmed from being approached by West directly.[12] West first got into contact with Vernon when he directly phoned him, with the intention of sampling his song “Woods”.[12] The two talked on the phone for about 40 minutes, where West explained some of the concepts for the project, and invited him down to his studio in Hawaii.[12] West is a big admirer of Bon Iver’s album For Emma, Forever Ago, and was impressed with Vernon’s unique use of auto-tune. The two artists became friends while playing games of basketball together, and West introduced him to Jeff Bhasker, one of his main producers.[5][12]

Vernon was sampled on another song from the album, “Lost in the World” and appears on vocals on “Monster”.[12] While there during recording sessions, he had reportedly recorded 10 tracks.[5] He watched Minaj record her verse, and he too, expressed admiration for Minaj’s performance on the song, however he noted that initially he had no idea who she was.[12] Vernon described the process as highly artistic, stating that the fourteen-hour day recording schedule allowed for a lot of fun and creativity.[12] West, talking about recording the song with Vernon, stated that he was “similar to me, where he just does shit just so people would be like, ‘Oh shit, how did you do that? How did that happen?’ He’s just a really cool guy to be around.”[5]

. . . Monster (Kanye West song) . . .

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. . . Monster (Kanye West song) . . .