Kanye West: My Album Art Was “Banned in the USA”

"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" art said to be too hot for Wal-Mart

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Kanye West arrives at the 9th Annual BET Awards on Sunday, June 28, 2009, in Los Angeles.

    Hip-hop star Kanye West has cried foul, and possibly wolf, over alleged censorship.

    The “Runaway” singer unleashed a fusillade of tweets Sunday alleging that the powers that be had nixed a painting he’d selected to grace the cover of his upcoming “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

    “Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!!” West tweeted shortly before posting the offending image, a naked Kanye-esque creature apparently engaged in a sex act with a female “phoenix.” West further described the representation: “a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings.”

    “Banned in the USA!!! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!” he tweeted. “In the 70s album covers had actual nudity... It's so funny that people forget that... Everything has been so commercialized now.”

    Turns out the “Gold Digger” rapper may have signed off on the decision.

    A source described as familiar with West’s talks with Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam records told the Los Angeles Times the musician was warned the art could cause mass retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy to not carry the album, resulting in a big hit to sales.

    Execs leaned on West to ditch the George Condo-produced artwork, but the musician “was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him,” the Times reported.

    West, for his part, said he “really don’t be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers.”

    “I wanna sell albums but not at the expense of my true creativity,” he tweeted.

    Update: Wal-Mart told MTV they never rejected the album cover because "it was never presented to us to view." West also said he plans to give fans five different covers when they buy the album.

    Selected Reading: LAT, MTV, Twitter