DISCOGRAPHY DIVES #5: KANYE WEST

Average Score: 88
5 Favourite Songs: Family Business, Roses, Coldest Winter, Street Lights, POWER

--IN PROGRESS--

Kanye West - The College Dropout
90
ALBUM #1: THE COLLEGE DROPOUT

Tyler, The Creator, the artist I most recently did a discography dive on, may be the most polarizing figure in Hip-Hop for the 2010s, but how about we take it back a decade, where Kanye West first appeared, and would go on to not only be involved in some of the most infamous controversies by any rapper at that time, but also be a creative genius in the studio. And this status of being this notorious, problematic, but brilliant mind all began with the release of his breakout debut record, 'The College Dropout'.

There is a certain uplifting energy and charm Kanye brings to 'The College Dropout' that lasts throughout the entirety of the project, and it's achieved by using skits that are ridiculously uproarious, production that is charismatic, magical, & lush, and bars so hysterical I woke my sister up from a nap because I screamed at the lyrics on 'Breathe In Breathe Out'. Still, this album spans over 70 minutes, but remarkably not a single second is wasted. Even the final track, 'Last Call', is 12 minutes in length, yet never loses it's flow, personality, and the magnificent show of Kanye's storytelling capabilities, capabilities he had this early in his career.

You have to be a psychopath to not have a smile on your face when listening to 'The College Dropout'.

Best: All Falls Down, Get Em High, The New Workout Plan, Slow Jamz, School Spirit, Two Words, Through The Wire, Family Business
Worst: We Don't Care

9/10
Kanye West - Late Registration
100
ALBUM #2: LATE REGISTRATION

How do you top 'The College Dropout'? Just the thought of this task seems preposterous, this mere conception that appears in your mind would get you laughed at by many. Hell, if I was a fan of Kanye's at the time, I would've cackled in your face if you even came close to mentioning the idea that he could make a better project! Not because I wouldn't want a superior record, no, but because it feels so un-realistic for someone to be able to top one of the most exuberant, most inviting, and most riveting Hip-Hop LPs of all time. So just as I thought it surely couldn't get any better than what I had already heard, we get 'Late Registration'. Late fucking registration.

It's difficult enough to make a masterpiece, and only few artists in the music industry have been able to create more than one. The Beatles, Outkast, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, these are acts that have somehow made multiple incredible showpieces throughout their career.. yet these works of art came later in their discography. Kanye on the other hand, he pulled two masterpieces out of his ass straight away for his first two projects, making it really a sight to see, and a pleasure to listen to. But I do prefer 'Late Registration' to his debut, even if the case is ever so small. And that's because whereas at points there was some awkward conversion from song to song on 'The College Dropout', the flow of this one is much more smooth, each track cleanly transitions into the next. And apart from that, this album has just as much swagger, heart, and amusement. He's outdid himself for a second time, well played. Well fucking played.

You're two for two, Mr. West.

Best: Touch The Sky, Crack Music, Roses, Addiction, We Major, Hey Mama, Gone
Worst: N/A

10/10
Kanye West - Graduation
60
Album #3: GRADUATION

Well, here goes nothing. 'Graduation' is an unbelievable step-down from it's two predecessors, and assuredly one of the most overrated albums I've ever heard. But please, don't get it twisted, I do enjoy the majority of what's been put on this record, it's just the period of Hip-Hop it emerged from, 'The Bling Era', has aged so poorly over the years that plenty of the tracks on this project sound just a little goofy. And this quality could be for better or for worse, since many fans, including myself, actually have a diverting time with the silliness that's presented on this album. But even if you take out the aspect that it's painfully dated, 'Graduation' still isn't even that consistent, and pales in comparison to what he was doing on his previous couple works.

The first two portions of the record are the most inconsistent ones. 'Good Morning' is a fitting opener, with divine backing vocals on the chorus & pleasing high-pitched synths. 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' is another favourite of mine in the track-list; I love the subtle bassline, measured synthesizers in the back, and contains easily one of the best choruses Kanye's ever written. Still though, at the same time you get 'Barry Bonds', a clunky, boring, and so out of place track, it honestly doesn't have the energy that the rest of the record contains. And what about the infamous 'Drunk and Hot Girls', a song with an infuriating hook, ludicrous and fatuous lyrics, and an aura that's not charming, but more douche-y. For sure, the last leg of 'Graduation' is pretty phenomenal, and the album has multiple worthwhile tracks, memorable melodies, & introspective moments. But, in my opinion, it doesn't touch the quality of the two projects that came before it.

It's average.

Best: Can't Tell Me Nothing, Flashing Lights, Everything I Am, The Glory, Homecoming
Worst: Drunk and Hot Girls

6/10
Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
90
Album #4: 808s & HEARTBREAK

It had already been expressed in tracks like 'Hey Mama' & 'Never Let Me Down', how much Kanye's mother meant to him, so when she passed away in early November of 2007 from complications with cosmetic surgery, and his fiancée at the time Alexis Phifer breaking up with him shortly after, Kanye let out all of his feelings onto the soul-crushing, heart-rending, powerful, and therapy session that is '808's & Heartbreak', a favourite of mine in his discography.

It's also, in my opinion, his most fascinating project for multiple reasons. For one, it's well known that '808s' was critically panned on it's initial release for being 'too emotional' and 'too different from his other work'. But for two, in later years this album has thankfully seen a complete reexamination by many, citing it as being the start of an entire movement in Hip-Hop; the sub-genre of Emo Rap. The sheer influence & impact this one record had on mainstream-music & culture is mind-blowing, there's no doubt the Hip-Hop landscape would be dissimilar without this key project.

It's raw, it's poignant, it's cold, and most of all, it's heartbreaking.

Best: Welcome To Heartbreak, Heartless, Paranoid, Street Lights, Coldest Winter, Pinnochio Story
Worst: See You In My Nightmares

9/10
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
80
Album #5: MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED FANTASY

Alright, the big one. The one all music fans alike chat about, the one that tops end-of-decade lists. I mean, let's be honest, what the fuck am I supposed to say about 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' that hasn't already been ranted about endlessly by anyone born in the 1990s? Now, I don't want to be the ultimate contrarian, and I'm far from it because I frankly do love this album, but I have my logic as to why it's not the masterpiece it's been regarded as being by most fans.

This is a very grandiose project, every single track sounds larger than life. From the driving background chants on 'Power', to the chilling first piano notes that make for the epic build-up on 'Runaway', the album feels godly. But, brace yourselves, I can't help but find some misses in the tracklist. 'All Of The Lights' is a supremely awkward and violently compressed failure with a confusing interlude that loses the momentum of the record almost immediately following the aforementioned monumental 'Power'. And 'Blame Game', a song that has been called out to lose it's focus near the end from the horrendous Chris Rock bit, doesn't even have a strong core track; John Legend's feature should sound heavenly to my ears, yet in lieu of that, I find his lyrics on the bridge idiotic, and his delivery immensely irritating. On top of all that, I just have little elements about this project that I'm not too keen on, things that hold this back from being this high-point in Kanye’s career. For example, I feel like I would have enjoyed this record a hell of a lot more if the tracks' fat were trimmed two/three minutes, at the very least!

I wouldn't personally dub 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' as a classic, but could understand the reasoning behind someone else giving it said title.

Best: Dark Fantasy, POWER, Monster, Devil In A New Dress, Runaway, Hell Of A Life
Worst: All Of The Lights

8/10
1
Comments
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1d
is typing badly a recurring joke for you @Andrei
1d
kill you're wife
1d
All of the lights is a good song and idk why you said it was the worst IMO the interlude if that is worse also blame game and myabe JUST MAHBE Hail of a life
6d
@JustSomeGuy
It’s because i popped into kanye’s get-right-for-the-summer workout tape, and i followed his instructions exactly, so i was able to pull me a rapper, an NBA player, and even a car!
1w
We Don't Care being the worst track while New Workout Plan being in best tracks has got to be the weirdest Kanye take I have ever seen
1w
@Andrei 100000%
1w
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm i have to listen to Late Registration
1w
listen to graduation with the two scrapped songs (bittersweet poetry/good night)
1w
@Andrei we don't care
1w
Why is it not a 100
1w
I remember when tou gave college dropout a 100 and then removed it after like an hour
1w
@Andrei it’s still amazing don’t get me wrong, but every song on that album is just so goddamn good
1w
I like we don't care though
1w
@IEnjoyMusic YES
1w
FINALLY SOMEONE ELSE AGREES ON WE DONT CARE AS LEAST FAVORITE
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