Kanye West’s ‘MBDTF’ Was Originally an Album of Ten 10-Minute Tracks Entitled ‘Donda’s Boy’

Another all-time Kanye West story about the artist playing an early copy of 'MBDTF' for Def Jam execs.
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Kanye stories are the best stories. Period.

In just the past two months, we've learned that Kanye asked Jay Z to add the n-word to every song title on their Watch The Throne album and that during the creation of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye once used a luxury suitcase delivery man as a one-man focus group.

On the latest episode of the A Waste of Time podcast, Rory Farrell, co-host of The Joe Budden Podcast and general manager of HennyPalooza, joined brothers Eric and Jeff Rosenthal of ItsTheReal to talk about, among a variety of topics, his experience interning at Def Jam in the summer of 2010, when Kanye was in the middle of crafting MBDTF, and man, this might be the best Kanye story ever.

"[Kanye] shows up out of nowhere at the Def Jam offices like Lupe and Nas trying to get their albums out, in a full suit," Farrell said. "He has—I want to say it was Don C's son, but don't quote me—there's a child dressed identical to him, carrying his Louis Vuitton bag. Comes in and is just throwing a fit at how shitty everyone is dressed. So he says, 'I'm not doing business today until everyone [here is wearing] a suit.' So the next day, people are scrambling to find—not just regular suits—black suits, white shirts, black ties. And, of course, they're not gonna look like the ones Kanye buys. Everyone comes into the office looking like a terrible funeral. I went to H&M, I had no money. I looked a mess, a lot of execs I won't name looked worse than me. 

"He comes in, the child opens up his Louis Vuitton bag, throws a blanket over the conference table. Takes out two goblets—the medieval wine glasses. Pours him either white wine or water, it was in one of those unmarked bottles. And Kanye says, 'I'm parched. We can begin now.' He then takes out his laptop and starts playing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. At this time, it was called Donda's Boy, I don't know if that ever went out but it was called Donda's Boy and the idea was [that] he was going to do 10 tracks, and each track was going to be 10 minutes [long]. 'Runaway' was 20 minutes at the time, Pusha wasn't on it. Kanye was singing for 15 minutes of it, maybe, at the end. What was the shit he put out with Beyoncé on Hot 97? I don't think it made the album. 'See Me Now.' [Sings melody] Charlie Wilson was on it. He played that without Beyoncé—he put it out the next day. Beyoncé had to have done it like an hour after that meeting. It was him just singing the hook. What else was on it? 'All of the Lights' without Rihanna, without The-Dream, it was all Kanye. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy but it was just Kanye West. And it was amazing."

So, in review:

  1. The original title of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was Donda's Boy. (A KTT thread from 2010 mentions the title Donda's Son, citing a Vanity Fair interview, but there is actually no mention of it in the article.)
  2. The album was originally going to be made up of 10 tracks, each 10 minutes long.
  3. At one point, "Runaway" was 20 minutes long, 15 of which featured Kanye singing and Pusha T was not on the song. 
  4. "All of the Lights" was originally just Kanye, before Rihanna and The-Dream (and the various other uncredited vocalists) were added.
  5. Kanye made the entire Def Jam office wear a suit to his label meeting. If they didn't own a suit, they had to buy one. Because Kanye.

Despite a few small contradictions—if the album was ten 10-minute tracks, how could the original version of "Runaway" be 20 minutes?—and some timeline inconsistencies—by July of 2010, Kanye had already wrapped his Honolulu recording sessions for the album, so it'd be odd that none of the guest contributions were present for the version of the album he wanted to play for the Def Jam brass—Rory's Kanye story is up there among the all-time greats.

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