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Kanye West graces the cover of the December/January issue of Complex magazine. For the cover story, Editor-in-Chief Noah Callahan-Bever provides a rare look inside Kanye’s Fantasy Rap Camp in Hawaii and the making of My Dark Twisted Fantasy.

The sun sets, and Q-Tip and Consequence arrive, straight from the plane. Kanye asks RZA if he’d voice the hook—”Champagne wishes and 30 white bitches/You know the shit is, fuckin’ ridic’lous”—and the Abbott steps into the booth and obliges, immediately transforming from sedate and stoned to amped and aggressive. It’s enough to make us all chuckle on his first take; wrapped around those words, his thick and bizarre drawl just sounds so perfectly…RZA. But Kanye notices something off in the delivery, and he presses the intercom button to talk to RZA: “Um, fam, it’s actually ‘thirty white bitches,’ not ‘dirty white bitches.’” RZA laughs. “I’ll do it again,” he says, “but to be real, the way I be saying words, you ain’t gon’ be able to tell the difference.” Ha! At Rap Camp, the shit is fuckin’ ridiculous.

The rest of the trip settles into a fairly routine pattern, if by “fairly routine” you mean “a succession of both magical and mundane moments starring the musicians who defined your adolescence alongside the most exciting artists of today.” Each morning begins with a 10 a.m. breakfast at Kanye’s Diamondhead residence. Pusha, Tip, RZA, Cudi, Cons, and Kanye’s crew slowly assemble to enjoy the absurdly tasty cooking of Kanye’s in-house chefs. If you’re smart, you order the French toast with the flambéed banana. An hour later, Kanye pulls up in his Porsche Panamera, fresh from the studio. That’s right, from the studio. During my five days in Hawaii, Kanye never slept at his house, or even in a bed. He would, er, power-nap in a studio chair or couch here and there in 90-minute intervals, working through the night. Engineers remained behind the boards 24 hours a day.

You can read Noah’s full story, as well as some testimonials from some of the album’s stars (Pusha T, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Nicki Minaj) here. There are also a good 40 or so never before seen candid photos from the studio sessions that you can check out here.


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