Official or Otherwise, Kanye's Oedipal "Mama's Boy" Satisfies a Craving for the Early Days

Kanye stans have been waiting for "Mama's Boy" with bated breath ever since he debuted the track (then called "Mama's Boyfriend") a cappella from a tabletop stage at Facebook headquarters, then with doubled anticipation when the legendary DJ Premier spoke on his involvement. Ironically, the version that leaked onto the Web earlier this week was sanctioned by neither--and Yeezy is pissed:

"The version of the Kanye West recording "Mama's Boy" that arrived on blog sites earlier this week is entirely bogus and unsanctioned, and violates the artist's creative intentions. As is often the unfortunate case, an unknown party or parties got a hold of Kanye West's vocal track and added their own soundbed to it, effectively and falsely releasing it as a Kanye West track from the My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy sessions. The result in no way resembles the final song Kanye West intended his fans to hear, and he is deeply disappointed that one of the most personal, meaningful and special songs he has ever written would reach people in this way. Needless to say, measures are being taken to identify and prosecute the persons responsible for leaking this material."

So if you're the one who took the time to swipe 'Ye's vocal tracks and craft a beautifully soulful beat to match it . . . watch out. But assuming you're in the clear, there's plenty of reason to celebrate the song, or at least this version, for what it is.

This version of "Mama's Boy" throws back to the Chi City Kanye, who wore Polo rather than Versace, the one that was preparing Good Ass Job. It's deeply personal and emotionally brilliant--at times the angst even overpowers a rhyme scheme or delivery's better sensibilities. And maybe best of all, as fantastic as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, its rawness attempts no grandiose statement. In arguing for the validity of the track, Death and Taxes makes the same point:

Every song on "MBDTF" was like a grand proclamation, often lengthy and filled with expensive bombast. It was great, but there was scarcely a trace of the Broke Phi Broke whiz kid from the "College Dropout/Late Registration" era. That Kanye was fading towards the end of the college trilogy and had completely vanished on "808s and Heartbreak." "Mama's Boyfriend" finds West in a bed of music that puts him right where he started.

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