Hip-hop star Kanye West is once again the subject of controversy after revealing what he claims to be the original cover art for his forthcoming album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. While his record company may like the buzz and the hype West receives from his efforts to connect with his fans, they don’t seem to appreciate his idea of an album cover.
West tweeted on Sunday that the cover art has been, “Banned in the USA!!! They don’t want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!” He said referencing the image which the Los Angeles Times described as, “a piece of graphic artwork in which a naked representation of the artist was in a sexually suggestive position with the mythological firebird in female form.”
The artwork (by painter/sculptor George Condo) also features the same stark, vaguely ominous vibe as the cover of Kanye’s hit single “Power” (which also generated its share of raised eyebrows when it was initially released this summer.).
An Island Def Jam record company executive speaking anonymously with the Times said that while the company “strongly urged” West to use alternative artwork, it was never outright banned. Allegedly, Kanye “was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him.” However, the label isn’t sure the image in question would be sold in certain stores, thus putting into question future album sales.
In the last several weeks West has been keeping the Internet world buzzing from allegations that there are nude pictures of him being shopped to gossip sites, to his rant weeks earlier on Twitter regarding, among other things, the infamous Taylor Swift incident.
West is still working to recover from his image crisis which began more than a year ago after he interrupted Swift as she accepted her award for Best Female Video at the 2009 Video Music Awards. West was heavily criticized by other entertainers in essence blacklisted by some the media up until recently.
For his part, Kanye continues to defend his album cover via Twitter. He implied that the Wal-Mart chain may be indirectly responsible for Island Def Jam’s trepidations regarding the cover. “In all honesty … I really don’t be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers #Kanyeshrug!”, he tweeted last night. A representative of Wal-Mart told Entertainment Weekly that there has been no effort to ban the album, insisting that they’ve never even seen it.
Kanye is sticking to his guns. He recently tweeted, “In the 70s album covers had actual nudity… It’s so funny that people forget that… Everything has been so commercialized now”
His new album is due to hit stores on November 22.