As you may know, I was about to do another list involving Eminem. Then I realized all I ever talk about is Eminem. There are a lot of other rappers I like out there, you know. I’m not that white. So, without further adieu, let’s talk about Kanye West.
Kanye is one of the few rappers out there that one could honestly say has only gotten better with age. I’d disagree with you, but the case could be made. Despite a growing number of news stories concerning his erratic behavior, Kanye continues to put out great music, and so I can excuse the outbursts. In fact, one particular album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, has been hailed as a masterpiece, called “the Sgt. Peppers of hip hop,” and Entertainment Weekly put it at #8 on their list of the greatest albums of all time. Of course, this is EW we’re talking about, the same people that said WALL-E is the best animated movie of all time and that Shark Tale was the tenth-best DreamWorks movie. But still, great album.
Now, unlike my Eminem list, for this list I went back and listened to every single one of Kanye’s albums over again, to ensure that I get this right. Because Kanye hasn’t really had any terrible albums, give or take 808s and Heartbreak. Anyway, let’s begin the list. I’ll be accompanying the album titles with pictures of Kanye pulling off outfits that no other man on the planet could pull off. The list will include Can’t Tell Me Nothing, Watch the Throne, and Cruel Summer, and GOOD Fridays because who’s gonna stop me? You? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
#10: 808S AND HEARTBREAK
808s and Heartbreak is essentially the Batman and Robin of Kanye West albums. It’s SO BAD. OH MY GOD. It’s not even that I don’t like Autotune. It’s just an insanely bad album. It’s annoying and boring and sad and just all-around terrible. Please, do not listen to this album.
Best songs: “Heartless,” “Paranoid”
#9: CAN’T TELL ME NOTHING: THE OFFICIAL MIXTAPE
Can’t Tell Me Nothing should’ve been the first warning. Its utter lack of high-quality songs and overabundance of boring, sad, Autotuned garbage should’ve clued people in that 808s and Heartbreak would not live up to Kanye’s previous work.
Best songs: N/A
#8: GOOD FRIDAYS
Now, GOOD Fridays was actually a series of singles released by GOOD Music in the fall of 2010. Of the things Kanye did in 2010, this was the worst. Which isn’t to say it’s bad, just not… very good. Saving grace: It features one of the few songs from hip-hop supergroup Child Rebel Soldier, which knocks it up about 20% in my book.
Best songs: “Don’t Stop (by CRS!),” “Don’t Look Down”
#7: CRUEL SUMMER
Cruel Summer is just not impressive. Sure, it has two or three really good songs on it. But they’re all in the beginning or the end of the album, so you’re left with a full album’s worth of songs in the middle that just make you go “meh.”
Best songs: “Mercy,” “New God Flow”
The thing with Graduation is that half of the songs are really good. If it was shorter (say, Yeezus-length), it might be even better. But the other half of the songs are really boring and kind of hard to listen to. It’s pretty clear in retrospect that an album like 808s and Heartbreak was inevitable. But the rest of the album is good.
Best songs: “Champion,” “Good Life,” “Big Brother” (grr it’s stuck in my head now, my big brother was big’s brother AUGH)
#5: LATE REGISTRATION
Late Registration feels more confident than College Dropout. It also deals with a few more serious themes than College Dropout does. That being said, it’s no College Dropout.
Best songs: “Touch the Sky,” “Gold Digger”
Upon further inspection, I have to say that Yeezus sounds totally different from anything Kanye’s done before. I kinda like it. That being said, the Daft Punk-helmed techno beats combined with Kanye’s irritated, somewhat nasal voice can be kinda annoying at times. There aren’t really any bad songs on the album, but there are only ten songs on the album, so that’s not really a huge accomplishment.
Best songs: “New Slaves” “Bound 2” (Those who are not fans of Kanye or just listen to whatever’s on the radio may say, “But I thought everyone hated ‘Bound 2.” No, everyone hated the “Bound 2” video. The song is fantastic.)
#3: THE COLLEGE DROPOUT
Kanye basically spent his entire life working on College Dropout. It features songs like “Jesus Walks,” “Last Call,” “The New Workout Plan,” and “All Falls Down.” That being said, it’s not his best. It just feels rough, which I suppose can be expected from someone’s first album, but Kanye was already an accomplished producer at the time, so you would think he’d take the time to polish his album a bit.
Best songs: See above
#2: WATCH THE THRONE
Watch the Throne is a 2010 collaboration album between Kanye and his mentor, Jay-Z. Both are now considered to be some of the greatest rappers of all time, and it’s clear why from this album. The songs are very interesting, production-wise, many of which are built around unaltered samples and some of which don’t even have choruses. It’s straight-up fascinating. I can’t even choose the best ones, because I’d wind up naming like eight songs, and no one’s interested in reading that.
And the best Kanye West album of all time is…
#1: MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but simply, is one of the greatest albums ever recorded. And I’m not the first to say it. Entertainment Weekly, for example, put it at #8 on their list of the greatest albums of all time. What I’m trying to get at is that I’m not a mindless Kanye West fanatic. This is just an extremely impressive album. And it makes it clear right from the start that it’s going to be very big, very proud, and VERY Kanye with it’s first track, “Dark Fantasy.” From then, it’s an hour and nine minutes of unrelenting magic, winding down with “See Me Now,” an upbeat party track featuring one of my favorite Beyonce hooks and my absolute favorite Big Sean verse to date. Even the bad reviews of this album call it a “near-masterpiece” and “deeply fascinating.” It’s just too good.
Best songs: All the songs are equally fantastic, but the one’s that I find most memorable are “Power,” “Dark Fantasy,” “All of the Lights,” and “Runaway.”
That concludes my ranking of all ten Kanye West albums. I’ll have an ASM2 review out tomorrow, followed by a review of Neighbors, as well as album reviews of Young Money: Rise of an Empire, Demolicious, Ready Steady Go!, and Strangeulation. Like if you like, favorite if you favorite, follow if you follow, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and as always…
Liek dis if uc ry everitime.