Ranking Ever Kanye West Album, Because The Controversial Rapper Has Hits & Misses
Without fail, everyone has some kind of opinion about Kanye West. For years now, he's been a polarizing voice in the music industry, some people call him a genius and others can't stand him. I'm safely in the "Kanye West is a genius" camp when it comes to his music. In my opinion, West has produced some of the most impactful rap albums and singles of our generation so far. And now that his his second album as a solo artist, Late Registration, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, it's important to look at West's career as a whole and see just why he's such an important figure in the hip hop world and music industry in general by ranking West's best albums.
Much like the rapper himself, each of West's albums has their fair share of fans and haters, especially the albums he's produced from 808s & Heartbreak in 2008 and on. I truly believe that all of West's albums so far have been pretty fantastic, but like everyone, I have my most and least favorites. Late Registration is a solid album with several hit singles including the monster hit track "Gold Digger." And just like with his first album, The College Dropout, and many others, West also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and was nominated for Album of the Year for Late Registration. The rapper certainly deserves the accolades he receives for his music, but which of his albums are the best? I know my ranking order.
8. Cruel Summer
This isn't totally a Kanye West album as it's technically a compilation album by the artists on Kanye West's label GOOD Music. However, West did produce pretty much all of the tracks and he appears on three out of the four major singles so we're counting it here. With tracks like "Mercy" and "Clique," it's definitely got some high points, but overall it's nowhere near the usual West level of awesomeness.
In the height of Kanye West's Kanye-ness (for lack of a better term), I have to admit the artist began to really get on my nerves. So when Yeezus was released, I wasn't so keen on really appreciating the album. I still think it's a great one, with such awesome tracks as "Blood On The Leaves," "New Slaves" and "Black Skinhead" which showed up everywhere from The Wolf Of Wall Street and every commercial under the sun. But for me, it felt a little incomplete.
6. 808s & Heartbreak
We come to what is probably West's most polarizing album. In 2008, the rapper released 808s & Heartbreak which seemed to be a direct result of losing his mother the previous year and the ending of his engagement. West abandoned the idea of rapping and took to singing with auto-tune and other ways of electronic synthesis in his music. Now by putting this lower on my list, I'm not saying I disliked 808s & Heartbreak, in fact it was one of my favorite albums when it was released. But I just happen to like his other albums a little better.
5. Watch The Throne
Jay Z & Kanye West's joint album is awesome, that's to be sure. With hits like "Otis," "N***as In Paris" and "No Church In The Wild," Watch The Throne is one of the greatest collaborations between two incredible talents.
4. The College Dropout
"All Falls Down" is easily one of my favorite Kanye West and rap songs of all time. But the entire College Dropout album is pure gold as it is West's first foray into solo rap stardom. The College Dropout is an awesome first album and it's no wonder it shot West into the spotlight as a brilliant solo rap artist.
There are many people who feel that Graduation is a better album than Late Registration and might even be West's best album to date, and I see their point. Graduation features some incredible tracks and a more transitioned and realized rapper than the earlier albums. But to me, Late Registration features a slightly higher number of great singles despite Graduation delivering such brilliance as "Can't Tell Me Nothing" and "Homecoming" featuring Coldplay's Chris Martin to name just a few.
2. Late Registration
And now we come to the album celebrating its anniversary this year. Late Registration was just West's sophomore album and yet definitely one of its best with such incredible tracks as "Touch the Sky" which launched the brilliance that is Lupe Fiasco, the beautiful record "Hey Mama" which received even more poignance after West's mother passed away in late 2007, and the monster hit "Gold Digger." Late Registration also has a soft spot in my heart as I became familiar with Kanye West as a solo artist through Late Registration rather than The College Dropout. For me, this was the West that made me a loyal fan.
1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
This it it. The big one. In my opinion, Kanye West's 2010 album is absolutely his finest. Every single track is pure gold, and the way that West released his singles was genius, with the strong "Power" first and the beautifully vulnerable "Runaway" next, followed by the monster track "Monster" that showcased one of the best verses Nicki Minaj has ever thrown down. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy came after West's Taylor Swift debacle so the song "Runaway" became even more affecting. And the album also featured some of the best featured performances of any album in the last several years. It's just the best and solidified West's place as rap royalty.