* Click a shape in the chart for more information
It's about time. He only has, what, 21 Grammys? Some people write off Kanye because of his abrasive public personality and tabloid antics, but they usually haven't listened to the music. If you are one of these people, or you just haven't had the time to check out the music of Yeezus, it's okay- you can change.
Before The College Dropout, Kanye had built a name for himself in the hip-hop community as an excellent producer, but not a rapper. The College Dropout changed everything. Filled with excellent production, humorous skits, insightful lyrics, and themes that broke from the traditional mafioso gangster rap, The College Dropout was hailed as an instant classic and won a Grammy. It's best to listen to all of West's works in their entirety, but here are some highlights: Jesus Walks, Never Let Me Down, Through the Wire, and my personal favorite, Family Business.
West entered the rap scene with his soulful, thoughtful debut The College Dropout. 5 albums later, he gave us Yeezus. Filled with contradictory soundscapes and minimalist, industrial production, Yeezus was at the opposite end of the spectrum of West's previous maximalist masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With co-production by Daft Punk, fans of electronic music will enjoy Yeezus. Highlights include Blood on the Leaves, Hold My Liquor, and Bound 2.
Hey, I get it. You're a busy man/woman. You don't have time to delve into whole albums. You need to turn up, and turn up now. Here are some Ye bangers that'll definitely get the party going:
All Day- Ye's latest single off his upcoming project. It bangs, all day.
Made after the death of his mother and the end of his long term relationship with Amber Rose, 808s & Heartbreak marked a severe departure in sound for Kanye, made with autotune, electro-pop influences, and tribal drums. Much more pop-oriented than his previous releases, it was met with a controversial public response but critical acclaim. It may sound like nothing new compared to today's current landscape, but when it came out it helped changed the sonic direction of hip-hop to a more melodic sound, launching the careers of artists like Drake and Kid Cudi. Highlights include Heartless, Love Lockdown, and Welcome to Heartbreak.
Kanye has 3 albums themed around education: The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation. These are the most thematically and sonically similar albums of his discography.
Late Registration is basically a more polished and refined version of The College Dropout, with classical/Baroque influences on the instrumentation. Highlights include: Diamonds from Sierra Leone, Hey Mama, Drive Slow, and Touch the Sky.
Graduation eschews the skits of the previous albums for a more concise project. West was inspired by the anthemic powera-ballads of U2, and wanted to create an album full of songs that could be played in a stadium tour. Highlights include Can't Tell Me Nothing, Good Life, and Homecoming.
After the incident at the VMAs, Kanye West went in self-imposed exile in Hawaii (terrible place to be exiled, right?). During his isolation, he created one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is considered by many to be West's magnum opus. With expansive, experimental production, conflicting themes of self-indulgence and self-doubt, and elements from all West's past projects, this album sums up everything that is Kanye West. It's beautiful, funny, shocking, and inspirational all at once. It's hard to pick out highlights from a perfect album, but once you listen to these I have no doubt you'll be compelled to listen to the whole album and join the disciples of Yeezus: Power, Devil in a New Dress, Monster, and Runaway.