Ranking Kanye West's 'Late Registration' Tracks, From "Touch The Sky" To "Gold Digger"
He's a strange guy, but his music is pure gold. Kanye West's sophomore album Late Registrations turn 10 this year and to celebrate, I had another long listen to the album from start to finish. And despite it being released in 2005, damn. The album is still a brilliant listen and ages quite nicely as well. From some truly sweet, vulnerable records about his family to the social issue songs for which West is known to the giant monster chartbusters and beyond, Late Registration really featured the full gambit of types of rap music that Kanye has been so good at for years. So when it came time to rank the songs of Late Registration, things became extremely difficult. How do you rank such uniquely wonderful tracks?
It was a difficult task but one that I couldn't resist doing. Late Registration is the album that truly introduced me to the brilliance that is Kanye West as a solo artist. I knew a little of the guy as a producer and I had heard the record "All Falls Down" and "Slow Jamz" from West's first album The College Dropout. But the first Kanye West album I heard all the through and really was able to appreciate was Late Registration and I truly believe it's one of West's best albums to date. So how do the tracks on the album compare with one another? Let's count the ways.
Of all the Kanye West songs on Late Registration, "Celebration" is a crowd pleaser but not nearly as fun as his other bigger tracks on the album.
13. "Bring Me Down"
Brandy's voice elevates this song but overall it falls flat compared to the other tracks on the album.
12. "My Way Home"
This is more Common's song than it is Kanye West, but the collaboration between the two is quite memorable. I just wish the song was a little more fluid overall. I would love to see these two collaborate again on West's newest album.
11. "Crack Music"
A great song with a social message but not nearly as amazing as another record on Late Registration with a social message: "Diamonds Of Sierra Leone."
Cam'Ron and Kanye West create magic with this track.
A brilliant, sad, beautiful ode to Kanye West's grandmother.
8. "Heard 'Em Say"
Adam Levine is a perfect addition to this track and is one of West's most chill and yet still thought-provoking songs.
I still adore this song to this day. The unguardedness and truth behind the song affected me so much when I first heard that, that it's still unforgettable.
6. "We Major"
What makes this song so awesome? It's that it features Nas even though he was in the middle of a beef with Jay Z who also contributed to this album. This is was one of Nas' best verses in the last decade and overall it is just fantastic, start to finish.
5. "Drive Slow"
Paul Wall has disappeared, but man did he make a brilliant verse for this awesome song. Kanye West knows how to make a great slow riding song mixing different genres with rap. The saxophone in this track is beyond awesome.
4. "Touch The Sky"
Now this is the kind of monster hit track that I can get behind, and the track also gave us the genius that is Lupe Fiasco.
3. "Gold Digger"
Jamie Foxx at the height of his Ray Charles-ness. Kanye West at the height of his pop culture hit-ness. Put them together and get one of the most recognizable and impressive faster rap jams of Kanye West's career.
2. "Diamonds From Sierra Leone"
It's a powerful track, it's a brilliantly written track, it's a daring track. It's best not to talk about why it's so great and just listen to it.
1. "Hey Mama"
And we get to the best of the best. Many people might give me a hard time for putting "Hey Mama" as the best track on Late Registration, but I stand by it. It's such a sweet, truly emotional track that doesn't need all the Kanye West bells and whistles. It stands on its own and it gets the added emotional punch of being the track that West performed for his mother two days after her death during his Glow In The Dark Tour.
Images: Def Jam Records