“You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.” — Kanye West, April 25, 2018
The College Dropout
A soulful, warm, ambitious announcement from the outstanding young producer from Chicago, aching with heart and wisdom, and made even more impressive by the fact that he did not mean a single word he wrote or rapped for this album’s 73 minute and 13-second runtime. Pay special attention to stand out tracks “I Don’t Care” and “I’ll Let Them All Down,” clever expressions of joyful braggadocio and coy cynicism that herald great things to come from the Louis Vuitton Don.
An expansive, unwieldy, cinematic tour de force that cements Mr. West as the first hip-hop-genius-polymath to later claim to be flustered by the complimentary water bottle offered to him on an airplane. Adding countless new wrinkles to his customary chopped-chipmunk churl, Late Registration is both a definitive statement and a preview of just how multi-talented a megalomaniac rich man can be.
A glorious, buoyant collection of future classics, Graduation is a furiously brisk trip through the mind of a super producer deeply in touch with the sounds and moods of global pop, and extraordinarily out of touch with literally everything and everyone else. Highlighted by centerpieces “Barry Bonds” and “Drunk and Hot Girls,” two song names sure to age exceptionally well when you think about them even for a second, Graduation is the most immediate and accessible work by Mr. West and this is definitely probably for the best.
808’s & Heartbreaks
This remarkable detour into icy, auto-tuned introspection, 808’s is an influential outlier that marks the absolute saddest Mr. West has ever sounded, except, of course, for right now. A naked, drowning compilation of futuristic compositions exploring the depths of his tragedy-filled year, the listener is comforted only by the fact that they can look forward to the frank, rich degree of self-awareness and analysis from the increasingly world-weary MC for his entire career.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Still perfect, damn it.
A livid, chaotic, brutal, confrontation of the corrupt and racist institutions he will later long to be photographed with, YEEZUS is the album Mr. West is most likely to forget he ever made roughly ten minutes after recording it. His past criticisms of political and socioeconomic conventions, usually expressed as witticisms and heart-felt admonishments to his audience, are honed to a razor’s edge across a rough soundscape of hard-edged synths, and spare, moaning bass, composed with the urgency of a man who is trying to sell you as many sneakers as possible.
The Life of Pablo
A polymorphous, spry, ever-evolving narrative spun by a man too wealthy for ideas, this album can best be described as having a phone call with a televangelist shouting from the bathroom on the third floor of his home in Pasadena, California. As this album is technically unfinished, it is hard to properly assess the sprawling, spiritual work, but suffice to say, it is likely to remain the album most referential to men named Paul in Mr. West’s catalog.
Untitled 2018 Album
Please, Wake Up, Mr. West.