Kanye West knows how to stay in the limelight with the upcoming release of his new album, "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" -- whether that includes posting unreleased songs for free on the Web, or making television appearances.
With unpredictability on his side, the prolific rap giant stirred buzz when he tweeted on Sunday that the U.S. banned the cover art for his new album because of explicit nudity.
“Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!!,” Kanye tweeted late Sunday. “Banned in the USA!!! They don’t want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!”
Kanye also reminded his fans that “’70s album covers had actual nudity,” reluctantly adding that “everything has been so commercialized now.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, which interviewed a source familiar with the debate between West and Universal Music Group’s Island Def Jam, the decision to change the cover art wasn’t so one-sided.
“West was strongly urged to use alternate art,” the source said, adding that West “was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him.”
The real issue surrounding the content of the cover art, according to the source, was whether or not retail stores, such as Wal-Mart or Best Buy, would sell an item that blatantly displays nudity.
Retail stores, which make up at least 10 percent of physical CD sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan, could have a major impact on West’s album sales if he decided to boycott, especially with the holiday season approaching.
"In all honesty ... I really don't be thinking about Wal-Mart when I make my music or album covers #Kanyeshrug!," Kanye tweeted.
“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” is slated for a Nov. 22 release in the U.S.