KANYE WEST My Dark Twisted Fantasy **** Mercury 2754461, £13.99
Being madder than a box of short curly hairs has served to get Yezi, as those familiar with the American superstar are wont to call him, into all manner of public confrontations of late. It has not stopped him pulling together a record which salvages credibility, while continuing to bend the needle on the crazy scale.
It may not always fulfil the stadium hip hop ambitions of its creator, but it comes excitingly close. Hell Of A Life begins with synthesised flatulence before the vocal melody takes on the riff from Black Sabbath's metal classic Iron Man – "no more drugs for me" swears Kanye, suggesting that sex and religion is all he needs these days.
Welcome contrast to the gangsta posturing comes from superstar-heavy collaboration, All Of The Lights, which has Alicia Keys, Fergie and Rihanna on rotation at the microphone, and a piano refrain from Elton John. More mainstream ivory tinkling comes courtesy of John Legend, who brings a touch of (much needed) class to Blame Game's name-calling profanity. A similarly stellar congregation assembles for Monster, with Jay-Z among the more distinctive voices. Kanye's rhyming is frequently hilarious, but you are laughing with him rather than at him. This is an even bigger cartoon than Gorillaz could dream of being; best not taken too seriously.
Download this: Hell Of A Life, So Appalled