In our modern day and age, it seems that Kanye West is more likely to make the news feed for reasons other than Hip Hop. Personally, I find that disappointing because it alters us from recognizing him as the musical genius he is. Yes, Kanye has did things that have left us all in suspense. For example: him running onstage in the middle of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the 2009’s MTV Video Music Awards; calling out Jay-Z for not returning his phone calls; putting Nike on blast after they decided not to continue his shoe deal; and marrying Kim Kardashian, who’s claim to fame was via sex tape with R&B singer Ray J. Even with the latter, Ye used his musical craft to address it.
“Break records at Louis, ate breakfast at Gucci, my girl a superstar all from a home movie,” Kanye raps in “Clique.”
Despite how you may or may not view Kanye in the present form, I’m sure your thoughts on him were splendid after the release of his debut, College Dropout. I’m still amazed at how he relentlessly touched on every topic from self-consciousness to religion, while remaining in Hip Hop purest form.
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Typically, when that’s done, it’s drawn from inspiration. For example, “Through the Wire,” the Chaka Khan sample, whom he also gives thanks to in the video, was inspired by a near-fatal car accident that required his jaw to be surgically wired shut.
Ye kept the creative juices flowing with tracks like “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” and “Touch the Sky” on the solid follow up, Late Registration. No, Ye wasn’t the first to address a “Gold Digger,” as we know EPMD did 15 years prior, however he pushed the envelope by sampling Ray Charles’ “I’ve Got a Woman.”
Yeezy would keep stride on his third release, Graduation. However, 808s & Heartbreaks, his fourth album, infused with Hip Hop as well as Pop and R&B altered his sound from the previous three. Though most complimented the creativeness, this was one of his most overlooked projects.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Mr. West’s fifth album, finds him going back to the tools in which he used to create his first three.
Kanye would continue to test new creative waters with Yeezus and The Life of Pablo, his sixth and seventh albums.
[“Hip Hop Roundtable” by HHAD podcast coming SOON!]
Before Ye grasp our attention as a rapper, he did it as a producer. When I first heard “This Can’t Be Life” on Jay-Z’s The Dynasty album, I was like “whoa, that beat is DOPE!” Then he O.D. us with “Takeover,” “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” and “Never Change” on Jigga’s The Blueprint. But when I heard his verse on “The Bounce” from Hov’s The Blueprint 2, it was time to check into a rehab clinic!! “Ray-Ray is that ya car??” LOL…I like that part– South Central is a classic.
Looking at the Southside-Chicago native’s repertoire, most would agree that there aren’t many flaws except for the head to head battle with 50 cents. Remember?? It was highly publicized and it seemed to be a serious beef. They both agreed to drop their albums, Graduation and Curtis, respectively, on the same day–September 11, 2007. Fif even said he would quit rapping if Ye out sold him– in which he did, but 50 is still rapping so they must didn’t shake hands on it.
When the two appeared on 106 & Park together and they said they “did it for Hip Hop”–basically admitted that it was staged– I can’t lie, my feelings were hurt. Now, I know how a chick feels when a dude admits that he was only there for the sex.
Out of seven solo albums, Kanye West has won a Grammy for either Album of the Year or Best Rap Album for five of them. I find that very impressive. And despite his antics, he’s still dope and relevant. Even revived the careers of fellow Chicago natives Twista and Common along the way.
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Which Kanye West album goes the hardest?
[Polls Are Closed!!]
The College Dropout -40%
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy -20%
Late Registration -10%
808s & Heartbreak -0%
The Life of Pablo -0%