West has attracted an exceeding amount of attention on social media in recent months. For a guy who once idolized Dame Dash, Beanie Sigel, and Freeway, it’s more than just a miracle at this point, when he has become an icon who is only surpassed by Jay Z. Ye appears to have everything a starving artist could pray for. High-profile relationships? Check! Sold out shows? Check! Platinum album sales? Check! Fame and a large estate? Check! Big-name celebrity co-signs? Check! Millions of dollars of clothing, sneaker and record deals? Check!
Yes, there are hiccups in Ye’s checks, but they’re still remarkable. Amber Rose and Kim Kardashian have a reputation that surpasses their goodwill, Kanye’s own clout is often marred when his tirades explode on social media. While his sneakers are ridiculously expensive, his clothes look like they came from Zion in the Matrix.
Ye falls in the unique class of high-profile fashion designer, well sort after music producer and iconic lyricist or rapper. In one of my blogs, I wrote that he could be in the same clout as Dr. Dre. Of course, Dre has a more brilliant career. He not only took NWA, Snoop, Tupac, Eminem, The Game and Kendrick to higher heights, his Beats brand falls in a whole nother stratosphere.
Dr. Dre is the only megastar alive who only dropped three albums and still became a mogul. Most people don’t realize that as a ‘Nigga Wit Attitude’, he also set the microphone on fire. The reason I even made a comparability between Ye with Dre is because they both produce and rap on a high level. Obviously, if you consider the entirety of Dre’s career, Ye has not come close by a far stretch. But he defeated 50 Cent by proving to be not only a dope emcee but also an elite producer.
Obviously, if you consider the entirety of Dre’s career,
Ye has not come close by a far stretch.”
Hip Hop gives a lot of respect to rappers who write their own lyrics and we all know Kanye receives help in that department. These are some of the hiccups of which I spoke earlier. The upside to this is even as great producers, both Dre and Kanye get help on the boards as well. Samples aside, both of these super producers get help from other renowned producers in the industry.
If you ask me, I would say, I’d been a huge Dre fan before Kanye but, put his ego aside, Ye does have a potential to reach Dre’s level at some point. Especially since he didn’t falter when he switched his original sound to this vintage one. Without further ado, here is a list of albums by Kanye West’s excellence:
I expect Ye to be a bit more God fearing than that.
However, if he’s referring to the 5 Percenter’s definition of the black man being god as in the sun while black women are goddesses as in the moon…”
7. Yeezus  – This is the dopest wack album I’ve ever heard. I forced myself to bump it in the truck and it was painful to listen to. I don’t know if he was pushing his boundaries production-wise or if he was introducing a new sound. I’ve noticed what I can only describe as that vintage Kanye West sound in a lot of songs lately. The lyrics are well written while his rap delivery is spot on. “Blood on the Leaves” is my favorite song on this one.
While I admired its grit and social consciousness, I’m not too kin on Ye calling himself God or being blasphemous. I expect Ye to be a bit more God-fearing than that. However, if he’s referring to the 5 Percenter’s definition of the black man being god as in the sun while black women are goddesses as in the moon and the stars of the universe representing black children, I will subscribe to it. The album is certified gold with about 7 songs that played on the radio. However, I won’t co-sign it on any day.
I’m sure if someone bleached their asshole they would want to let people know about it. “Pt. 2” is dope! So is “Famous”, “Real Friends” and “No More Parties in LA”.
6. The Life of Pablo  – This album is unconventional in many ways. It has potential to be a classic. I have no doubt in that. But it does not fall high on my list on Kanye’s best work. Of course, I streamed the whole thing on Tidal. To me, on the production end, it’s better than “Yeezus” but falls short lyrically because it doesn’t paint that sophisticated picture I’ve known Ye to paint. I’m not really into songs that talk about how much pussy or dick is in an artist’s life.
That should be a given for someone like Kanye so there shouldn’t be a need to over emphasize that on his record. OK, maybe in one song but any more than that and it’s just too much. I’m sure if someone bleached their asshole they would want to let people know about it. “Pt. 2” is dope! So is “Famous”, “Real Friends” and “No More Parties in LA”. If you ask me, it’s a song for song album.
A Hip Hop head should enjoy it. However, it does not compare to his previous work. This album feels to me like a list of bonus tracks from “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” with the song “Feedback” being a leftover from “Yeezus”. The album lacks the excitement needed to have a social impact but it can change the way a platinum album or number hit is graded. It will be interesting to see what comes of it.
My impression of this album is one of pain and recovery. “Heartless”, “Amazing” and “Coldest Winter” easily portray…”
5. 808s & Heartbreak  – I love this album! It gives me the feeling of chasing a dream and then losing the pleasure of attaining it. Like surrendering the motivating influence that drove you to accomplish something but what you relinquish is far more than just your passion. The 808s represent the dream or objective that was striven for and the Heartbreak represents the passion for the said achievement.
Before this album was released, Kanye had tragically lost his mom. As a man who yearns to take his mom to Hollywood, I can only imagine his heartbreak. My impression of this album is one of pain and recovery. “Heartless”, “Amazing” and “Coldest Winter” easily portray the double platinum album’s message. I also think Ye experimented with his sound as he sang more than before.
The production is haunting, I hear the songs in my head hours after playing them. The words are touching. But I overplayed it to the extent where I can’t stand autotune anymore.
I was in college around this time. I had attended several colleges up until this point so I could relate to the idea of dropping out only to become a success.”
4. The College Dropout  – Most Kanye fans got hooked during this era. I think I speak for the greater percentage when I say this is probably Kanye at his most real. He had obviously been working on these songs for years before gaining Jay Z’s approval to be promoted from a Rocafella producer to coming off his own. I was in college around this time. I had attended several colleges up until this point so I could relate to the idea of dropping out only to become a success.
With songs like “Jesus Walks”, “All Falls Down” and “Through the Wire” it appeared that Kanye was going to be that emcee/producer who put the Soul back in Hip Hop. At that time, socially conscious rappers were not selling much so he set another record in pitching real issues from the hood and having that be accepted on a mainstream level. We had not known the egotistic side of the soon to be a mogul. The double platinum album went on to sell four million copies! As a true classic it shows a hungry but excited, and yet seasoned Kanye West who’s God fearing, grateful and street smart.
In a way I think the reason why it’s difficult for me to appreciate “Yeezus” and “The Life of Pablo” is because I’m looking for the high I got from “Late Registration”
3. Late Registration  – To tell you the truth, I was late to join the Kanye West bandwagon. While the world was going crazy over “The College Dropout”, I was heavy into those D-Block mixtapes. Styles P had kept the streets on lock. I liked his debut but I was not sold on Kanye, yet. I was into Biggie, Pac, Snoop, Nas, Jay Z and 50 Cent. I remember going to Philadelphia in the spring of 2006, catching up with a friend who enjoyed Kanye’s songs in car rides. She surprised me by slipping in the “Late Registration” which I had not heard.
The boy has I blown away! It was like listening to the best music I’d ever heard. That was the day I became a Kanye West fan. For me, this album has so much Soul. I went from that dude who thought Kanye was that pink polo wearing soft to fully blasting “Heard Em Say”, “Diamonds of Sierra Leone”, “Touch the Sky” and “Drive Slow”. I’m a guy who grew up away from his parents, who spent the majority of his life missing his mom so you could imagine how it felt to hear, “Hey Mama”.
This album swept me way off my feet. In a way, I think the reason why it’s difficult for me to appreciate “Yeezus” and “The Life of Pablo” is because I’m looking for the high I got from “Late Registration”. I think it went triple platinum.
On all accounts this album is the very best of Kanye West.
It embodies duality in his experience. College guy meets world and unveils
some dark fantasies.”
2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  – You can sense the brilliance in Ye’s work when you experience this album. It’s like experiencing a journey where the subject goes from excitement, with the debut and sophomore albums, to the ultimate climax on “Graduation”, and then, boom! The warm, sunny and colorful experience subsides to a rainy “808s and Heartbreak” but after the storm passes, expecting a return to the sunny, colorful and warm atmosphere, you get to where it’s not rainy but it’s not sunny either.
You feel the playful Kanye from “The College Dropout”, “Late Registration” and “Graduation” and you feel a wounded Kanye. The music gets darker and a psychotic yet wealthy mogul emerges. You get a sense that he’s come to a different state of mind. On all accounts, this album is the very best of Kanye West. It embodies duality of his experience. College guy meets the world and unveils some dark fantasies.
With “All of the Lights”, “Blame Game”, “Monster” and “Power” you feel his orchestral return to the soul. It’s Like Ray Charles when he recorded “Georgia”. You hear anthem after anthem. His lyrical delivery is at its peak. The platinum selling album is a once upon a time narrative, a classic and Kanye’s last great album to date.
When it’s all said and done, Kanye is one of
the most talented people who inhabited God’s green earth.”
1. Graduation  – 50 Cent couldn’t have picked the worst time to challenge Kanye. His music career never recovered from the blow it received from “Graduation”. I consider it the part three of “The College Dropout”. The mercury rises higher on “Late Registration” and overflows on “Graduation”. Here, Kanye celebrates his success. He also warns of what’s to come. All time classics, “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”, “Champion”, “Flashing Lights”, “Good Life” and “Stronger” galvanizes his victory!
But he defeated 50 Cent by proving to be not only a dope emcee but also an elite producer.”
He’s now untouchable! Sadly, had his mom not pass, we don’t know if Ye would have switched this path. “808s & Heartbreak” seemed to have transitioned him. In is post “Graduation” work, you watch the mercury rise again but it does not overflow. Ye’s fans are torn. They know he’s a genius who pushes the envelope to deliver a masterpiece. But, beside “Watch the Throne” we find that while “The College Dropout”, “Late Registration” and “Graduation” are classics on the earlier side of his musical offering, “808s & Heartbreak” is at the midpoint while “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” remains the best on the latter.
“Yeezus” and “The Life of Pablo” will always be up for debate. Kanye’s work on “Watch the Thrown” is another masterpiece but it counts as a collaborative rather than a solo effort. In the end, if he does not do another album on the “Graduation” level, it will remain his best ever. When it’s all said and done, Kanye is one of the most talented people who inhabited God’s green earth. Out of seven solo albums that he has released at least four of them are indisputable classics. No one can deny that. *