You don’t have to like Yeezy, I’d understand if you didn’t and I’d understand if you did, but I don’t think you can deny his place in the greats of music.
Kanye West, he’s one of the most polarizing figures in the history of music. Whether he’s interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMA’s or releasing one of the best albums ever, you remember him. He’s built a long lasting legacy, he could retire right now and be known as one of the best to ever do it, but is he the best? Is he top five? Ten?
I suppose before we can answer that question we’ve got to ask, what makes an artist the best? These days it cannot be purely based on the music, although that is the biggest part of it. To me to be the best you have to appeal to a mass audience, make great music, and be marketable. The perfect balance of this is Kendrick Lamar, a man who makes amazing music and holds records for how much people have listened to it. Drake sells well but isn’t nearly as good musically, and Danny Brown doesn’t break records but he makes bangers. So where does Kanye fall into that list?
It’s very, very high.
Of his seven solo studio albums, six topped the US charts and all seven have went platinum. Tracks like Gold Digger and Stronger have had insane chart success, and he’s one of the most streamed rappers ever. Just because those songs are commercially massive doesn’t mean he sold out, his artistry is the same as always. So I suppose the marketability and commercial success is one massive tick, it’s not up for debate, but what is debatable is just how good his music is.
It’s very, very good.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy currently sits at the top of Viberant’s best albums ever, and I can only think of a maximum of four albums that might one day top it. There is much debate when it comes to ranking his albums because it’s so hard to say one of them is the worst, because they are all that good. His compilation albums are better than most peoples solo work, he has continuously evolved which apparent on 808’s And Heartbreak and of course the bat shit crazy Yeezus. I keep saying it’s all good, but it’s much more than that, some would say it’s sublime.
I wouldn’t say that Kanye is the best pure rapper ever, he’s far from it, but when you combine his mic skills with his production and his genius, he puts himself into debate for top 5 easily. Biggie, Tupac, Nas and Andre 3000 are some names that spring to mind. I wouldn’t say it’s open and shut that those guys are all better. I could easily spout out another 10 names and it’d all be debatable, at the end of the day it’s all an opinion.
Personally for me he’s not the GOAT, but he is top five. I won’t say who’s above him, I’ll save it for another day. I will say that Kanye still has the chance to be the best ever, he’s winding down in his career but he might have another three albums left, and who’s to say they aren’t all going to be great. Would ten critically acclaimed albums not be enough?
You don’t have to like Yeezy, I’d understand if you didn’t and I’d understand if you did, but I don’t think you can deny his place in the greats of music. If you do then it’s nothing more than closed mindedness, you’re a hater of rap or a hater of the individual, to look at it objectively, he’s inspired millions and sold millions, can we argue with such solid numbers?