Kanye’s Phoenix-Sex Cover Not Actually Banned

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Who would have thought that Kanye West was the type to exaggerate things?

Kanye West needs to take his own advice and start tweeting like he has some type of respect for himself.

Yesterday, the rapper/exemplar of our age took to Twitter to make an important announcement: The artwork for his upcoming album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, had been banned. Or, spoken in the unique authorial voice West uses on the Internet, “Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!! Ima tweet it in a few…”

(See pictures from the recent life of Kanye West.)

Once West did tweet the album cover, the issue became clear: the proposed artwork was a bizarre oil painting depicting a human man engaged in intercourse with a nude winged creature. (Or, again in Kanye-speak, “They don’t want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!” What can we say? We love Kanye-speak.)

West’s followers were soon inundated with a classic Kanye Twitter rant:

—”In the 70s album covers had actual nudity… It’s so funny that people forget that… Everything has been so commercialized now.”

—”I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity.”

—”So Nirvana can have a naked human being on they cover but I can’t have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.”

The only problem, it turns out, is that the cover was not actually banned. In an awesome bit of reporting, the LA Times spoke to people at West’s record label and learned that the issue wasn’t as black-and-white as it would first appear. As the paper found, “West was strongly urged to use alternate art, [a] source conceded, but added that West ‘was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him.’”

The issue, of course, was the danger of family-friendly big-box retailers refusing to carry the album, which could result in a 10% drop in album sales. Though some of Kanye’s tweets would seem to belie the point, he appears to have bowed to commercial pressure. It’s a sad day when you learn that your loud-mouthed self-aggrandizing emperors have no clothes. Still, at least we got an awesome Twitter hashtag out of it. #Kanyeshrug.

(via The A.V. Club, where the commenters uickly broke out the perfect Spinal Tap quote for this situation: “It’s such a thin line between clever and stupid.”)

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