For some reason, big market stores like Walmart allegedly threatened to ban the record if it was released in that form. Naturally, Kanye was appalled when he found out his record label was neutering his vision: "Banned in the USA!!! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my phoenix!" he tweeted, comparing the cover to the baby nudity on Nirvana's Nevermind and pining for the free-spirited culture of the '70s. He also said:
"Target, on the other hand, they get me."
Which, of course, is complete bullshit. The guy who painted the cover said Kanye specifically asked for something that would be banned, while his record company clarified that they were prepared to stand behind him if he had his heart set on the drunken demon fucking the firebird with the gross teeth. But, apparently, he didn't. It's almost like he just wanted the publicity or something.