I Miss The Old Kanye...
There is no question that Kanye West is one of the greatest musicians of our time. His musicality is unparalleled and he has taken the art form of sampling to a new level. He's a monolith, an icon, and if you say Mr. West isn’t one of the best to ever do it. Then you’d simply be lying.
With that being said...I must say I miss the old Kanye. I'll take Kanye West over Kanye Kardashian any day, and I find his recent work null and void of the very thing we know and love him for— soul. The Life of Pablo was cute but no cigar. Every time I start to get into it I'm distracted by his lackluster lyrics or allusions to his "member", and it should be a crime the way he ruined Farther Stretch My Hands with the mention of bleached ass h*les. It lacks replay value, a cohesive sound, and in my opinion sounds like the really good throw-away tracks from every Kanye project ever.
Reflecting on TLOP, and how it didn’t stick for me got me thinking about Kanye's greatest moments. I thought long and hard about this and came up with my list of Kanye's most defining albums: his highest evolution lyrically, sonically, and artistically.
Don't be offended this is all my opinion.
The College Dropout- Kanye the Lyricist
The College Dropout was Kanye's introduction to the world and arguably one of the most important albums in hip-hop history. Though he went on to create many bodies of excellent work ain't nothing like the first time. He let you know out the gate you were in for a ride, "If this is your first time hearing this, you are about to experience something so cold..." He was rapping like he was hungry, rapping like he was in cyphers with Talib Kweli and Mos Def, rapping like he was locked in a room doing five beats a day for three summers. The content was relatable, the features were memorable (even that Common verse) and the skits were hilarious. It is the blueprint for the Kanye sound and his most soulful work to date.
"I blow past low class niggas with no cash, In the fo dot six bitch you can go ask. So when I go fast popo just laugh, right until I run of gas until I go crash"
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy- Kanye The Artist
This album is my favorite Kanye moment ever. This project was HIGHLY inspired and you can feel it. The creative direction is clear and the sounds are heavy. You feel like you're transported to another reality when this album is on. It takes you on a journey with highs, lows and the ultimate ascension with Lost In The World. He not only dug deeps into his talents he pulled great performances out of the featured artists and orchestrated masterful production. The choir voices on Dark Fantasy were theatrical, Selita E. Banks fully stepped into character as a mute bird and I'm convinced Rick Ross wrote his verse for Devil In a New Dress with a feather dipped in gold. What makes MBDTF Kanye's greatest moment artistically is the supreme vision behind it all. He made a film set to his album that was beautiful, engrossing, and thought-provoking. Despite his underdeveloped acting skills he made #YeezyTaughtMe a worldwide phenomenon, gave Nicki Minaj the verse of her career, and like it or not he immortalized Amber Rose FOREVAH!
Yeezus- Kanye The Producer
Initially, this album was hard for me to like and once it grew on me it became even harder to admit that I liked it. Undoubtedly it was the end of Kanye West and the beginning of Kanye Kardashian, but in my opinion, this is Kanye's best sonic work. He did things with sounds I’d never heard before. My soul almost jumped out of my body when I heard I'm In It, and tears came to me eyes when Blood On The Leaves began to play right after. Yeezus feels almost like a Broadway production. The sounds are massive, theatrical, and energizing. Like TLOP it lacks replay value, but more so because the experience of listening to this album is exhausting. This is not a rapper's album this is a musician's album and Black Skinhead will likely be played in stadiums for years to come.
So there you have it, my most honest opinion on Kanye's greatest moments as an artist, lyricist, and musician. Despite my feels on his personal choices, I gotta give credit where credit is due. His wit, grandiose, talent and skill combine to create a true artist. He's still the motherfvck*r I love to hate, but can't because I love what he makes...now ain't that about a bitch.
Still miss the old Kanye.