Our biggest project yet. Between the three co founders of Viberant, we voted for the top 100 Kanye West songs together, making a definitive list you can read below.
The last track on his critically acclaimed second album ‘Late Registration’, Kanye speaks on his ego and superstar perspectives as he transitions from college dropout to king of the rap game. The beat is fly and full of soul it is enough to make your fingers snap over for the duration.
99. Two Words
An early example of Kanye getting the best out of his collaborators on this gritty banger from The College Dropout, The Boys Choir of Harlem perfectly complements the attitude that West, Mos Def and Freeway each bring on this one.
98. We Can Make It Better
I love this song for it’s features, some of the best conscious rappers to ever do it, Q Tip in particular puts on a stellar performance as he, Kanye, Common and Talib Kweli all detail their struggles in their lives.
97. Welcome To The Jungle
Jay Z and Kanye really mix well on this banger from their collaborative Watch The Throne album as they rap about the suburban jungle which is a metaphoric way of describing the gang warfare in black culture. The song has a solid amount of meaning but it is the hard beat on this one which gives it a place on our list.
96. Guilt Trip
Probably the closest thing to a ballad that can be found on Yeezy’s foray in to experimental rap Yeezus, Kanye’s autotune laden voice combined with absolutely mental production provides an entertaining listen.
95. Coldest Winter
One of the deepest songs Kanye has ever written. The song begins with a farewell to his mother who had recently passed away, he then goes on to give a farewell to a former girlfriend who he could no longer be with. It’s an emotional track, which is something I think Kanye does best.
94. Breathe In Breathe Out
The Ludacris featured track from debut album ‘The College Dropout’ is a big hit which, although wasn’t released as a single, does more than enough to fit into the sound of a commercial rap record. Yeezy raps some realness on this one and having Ludacris involved makes it even more of a joyride.
93. The Glory
Coming at the back end of Graduation, this soulful tune displays a recurring feature in Ye’s lyrical repertoire: his use of faith in his songs. In The Glory, he draws parallels between his high class, fast paced lifestyle with religion, which pairs brilliantly with the sample of Laura Nyro’s Save The Country also heard on this track.
Some of Kanye’s earliest work as an artist here, he talks about his work as a ghostwriter and not getting the respect he deserves for his lyrics and his production, well he gets the respect that he deserves now that’s for sure.
This song has a real 90’s vibe to it with some added synthesisers to the beat and the way it combines with Kanye’s melody and cadence is gorgeous as he mixes it up between hippity-hop bars and slick vocal harmonies. Certainly one of the more understated anthems from ‘Late Registration’.
90. I Love Kanye
Don’t we all. This little acapella skit from The Life Of Pablo winds back the years to a side of Kanye we haven’t seen for a while. Like a funny uncle you haven’t seen in years, Ye comes back with all of the charm and comedy that could be found on the likes of The College Dropout. It’s short, sweet and fun enough to go back and listen to again and again.
Kanye’s talking up his accomplishments here, his 21 Grammy’s in particular. He references Ray J of all people. There was once rumours that the original track in the studio featured Young Thug and Madonna, imagine what it could’ve been.
88. Crack Music
Any song with The Game on it is guaranteed to go hard and this one certainly doesn’t disappoint. What I love most about this song is that Kanye gives us a hood rich rap song while also putting his own flavour on it, doing things by his own terms even at this early period of his career. He spits flames too.
87. Send It Up
Perhaps the wildest instrumental you can hear on Yeezus, or any Kanye West song for that matter. We have the likes of electronic wizzes Daft Punk and Arca to thank for this, as this track seriously goes off.
86. Lift Off
One of the big releases of Watch The Throne here, it’s not one of the best musically but it was one of the best commercially, I guess that’s what happens when you put Kanye, Jay-Z and Beyoncé on a track, the latter of which, stole the show by the way.
85. Everything I Am
The piano keys on this are heavenly and the Kanye hook is quirky and adorable. His lyrics were meaningful as he accepts the life he has been given and looks at it as a blessing. Feel good music for the youth to enjoy and idolise, Kanye made songs like this and became the ideal role model, how times change.
84. Bad News
Lyrically this one is very simplistic, as Kanye relies on production to blow the minds of the listeners. The strings that come in just after the 2 minute mark give this song a grandiose melancholy, as Ye comes to terms with the end of his relationship with Alexis Phifer.
83. Last Call
The final song on The College Dropout, hence it’s name, is really just a big celebration of Yeezy and Roc-A-Feller. Kanye details how he was nothing more than an unknown producer and he’d risen to become the biggest name in the rap game, if Kanye’s ego wasn’t so big it could’ve been inspirational.
82. Barry Bonds
This track combined two of the game’s biggest names as Kanye called upon Lil Wayne to make a hit and that’s exactly what they did. Kanye oozes swagger and attitude as he spits about money and lavish lifestyles while Wayne uses witty wordplays and satirical bars to show his talents off. Massively underrated track and particularly the verse from Wayne, which is ace.
81. Heard ‘Em Say
Kanye West certainly has a knack for getting great performances from any artist, regardless of who they are, and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine is no exception to this. His voice works well with the twinkly piano keys and it certainly makes for a solid start to Late Registration.
80. Made In America
You put Frank Ocean on any track and it’s a good track as a bare minimum, you put Kanye, Jay- Z and Frank Ocean on a track and it’s not going to fail. I suppose the biggest problem with having Frank on your track on the hook is that he will most likely outshine you, which he really did here.
79. We Don’t Care
Songs like this made everyone love Kanye West back in the day, it was funny as he talks about a “song for the kids to play” in a little skit before rapping about drug dealing and pill popping. It is also a great example of story-telling as Kanye looks to anecdotes and tells his tale how he saw it. The hook is infectious and the beat is hot.
78. School Spirit
Tracks like this are what The College Dropout is all about. A slapping beat, soulful vocal harmonies and some fantastic flows courtesy of the man himself. Where could you possibly go wrong?
77. New God Flow
This was a real bop back in the day, one of the best songs off of Cruel Summer. It’s more of a showcase of Pusha T more than anything, the song contains a feature from Ghostface Killah as well, much like the rest of that album, it’s just a very good listen.
76. Bring Me Down
Another example of Kanye mixing retro sounds with the modern day is this hit from ‘Late Registration’ and he does it here in a few ways. Firstly by including 90s sensation Brandy as she sings the hook with soul and flavour, setting Ye up for some fire verses. Secondly, the strings and horns on the instrumental which are just beautiful when mixed with the synths and drum beats.
75. Good Morning
Throughout Kanye’s discography, most of his albums have started very strong. This Graduation opener is a fine example of this reputation he’s developed. Good Morning is a wake up call to the world, as this record saw Yeezy develop from a super talented MC to a fully fledged megastar.
Probably the smuggest that Kanye got on The Life Of Pablo as he basically raps about how he’s back, and still the best. He talks up how much money he has and he talks down to his opposition, one of the better songs on the album that doesn’t include a feature.
73. The New Workout Plan
This is the pinnacle of Kanye’s comedy in music, he uses some hilarious wordplay and scenario setting and manages to make a hit out of a workout/flirting song. He goes from rapping about doing sit-ups to picking up girls to killing rappers with his superior mic skills. He literally had it all and it paved the way for his career, making every listener love him.
72. Get Em High
In an interview with Complex, Talib Kweli, who featured on the track, claimed that West came up with the beat on this track in 15 minutes. Even on his debut album, Kanye proved to be a naturally gifted producer. Stellar performances from Ye, Kweli and Common prove that this track should not be overlooked.
71. On Sight
Imagine being a long time fan of Ye, you’ve listened to everything he’s ever made, and then this was the first track you hear on Yeezus, it was a crazy experience. The production was like nothing he’s ever done, and it really was when you knew you were in for a utterly bonkers time.
70. Pt. 2
The follow on from Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1 (a song you will no doubt see later in the list), Kanye does a remixed version of Desiigner’s 2016 breakout hit ‘Panda’ to rap his own verse and do some slight changes to the beat. Of course Desiigner’s bit is fire, there’s a reason it went to the top of the charts; and Kanye’s bit is great even if he did say he cried while writing the verse (not really sure why). Just a big hit all round really.
69. Never Let Me Down
There’s a lot of old school 90’s R&B vibes on this one, as West dedicates his verse to his grandparents, thanking them for raising his mother well. This song was actually intended for Jay-Z’s album The Blueprint²: The Gift & the Curse, but the fact that Ye managed to grab this for The College Dropout showed that he meant business from a very early point.
Kanye and Young Jeezy haven’t worked a lot together but whenever they have it’s been golden. This song was simplistic, minimal and dark, it all just clicked into place really well.
One of the most floor-filling Kanye songs you’re ever likely to hear, he collaborates with professional scumbag but decent singer Chris Brown for a big track which doesn’t sound out of place in your headphones or a nightclub. It has a slick electronic beat and the hook is great along with Kanye’s autotuned melodies. It epitomised what ‘The Life Of Pablo’ was all about, Kanye releasing commercial hits with creative changes.
66. Street Lights
Perhaps one of, if not the most lyrically dark songs Kanye West has ever written. In the midst of all of the emotional turmoil he experienced prior to the release of 808’s & Heartbreak, Ye takes to some soul searching on this number, questioning the monotony of everyday life and if he is where he needs to be.
65. Big Brother
Lyrically, this song was superb. The big brother is in fact Jay- Z, who found the song deeply emotional as it cites the pairs strange relationship. Oh how I wish Jay and Ye would be friends again.
64. I Am A God
Easily the biggest ego-fest of Kanye West’s career, which you could probably guess from the title in fairness, but I let him off because not only is the song good but it also came in his transisitonal ‘Yeezus’ phase where he seemed to be having a bit of a personality complex. Will.I.am’s involvement is great but Kanye steals the show as he talks about his greatness, as well as asking whoever it may concern to “hurry up with my damn croissants”. Genius.
63. So Appalled
With the likes of Jay-Z, Pusha T and The Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA featured on this track, this star studded line up proved that there was no such thing as a weak song when it came to MBDTF‘s tracklist.
I really enjoy the flow of this track, the production is same old Ye, but it really is about the lyricism here. Kanye talks about his addictions to money, fame and weed. It’s mad to think that so far back that Kanye was detailing his problems.
61. Who Gon Stop Me
Dubstep mixed with hip-hop, how on earth could I possibly enjoy this? Well, you put a Flux Pavilion track on as a killer sample and have Kanye West and Jay Z bounce back and forth with ice cold flow and decent bars. Certainly one of the more leftfield choices on the list but it was a floor filler and I enjoy it massively.
60. 30 Hours
This TLOP track sees Kanye reflecting on a past relationship, 30 Hours referring to the length of time it took to drive from LA to Chicago. This track also features a cameo appearance from Andre 3000, making a brief appearance to apply some backing vocals.
59. Hell Of A life
Kanye went in here as he aggressively raps about real life events with his ex Amber Rose along with graphic details of loving a porn star, The production matches Kanye’s in your face style of the song.
58. Family Business
One of Kanye’s truly great personal moments from the debut album ‘The College Dropout’, he uses his slick flow and charm to speak on his family and the way society portrays the family demographic. Ye oozes pride as he looks at how successful he has become and how happy he is that he can finally repay those who supported him along the way.
Prior to the release of Late Registration, Kanye’s grandmother suffered a near-death experience, with this track being about visiting her in hospital. It’s an early glimpse into a side of Kanye West we would eventually see develop later in his rapping career.
Champions was the first single of the yet to be released Cruel Winter, and boy is it star studded. Pretty much anything G.O.O.D Music do as a collab won’t be perfect, it’ll just be a banger.
55. Don’t Like
Made famous by the then 16 year old Chicago starlet Chief Keef, Kanye loved what he heard and made a star-studded remix with himself, Pusha T, Big Sean and Jadakiss; needless to say it goes very very hard. Kanye’s verse is great and it was a massive chart hit, dominating the American airwaves throughout 2012 along with other hits from the G.O.O.D. Music collective project ‘Cruel Summer’. It is safe to say that Kanye loved Sosa back then.
54. See You In My Nightmares
See You In My Nightmares sees Yeezy take a vengeful stance towards his failing relationship with his then fiancé. Both Kanye and Lil Wayne deliver some serious emotion on this one, cementing 808’s & Heartbreak as Ye’s most vulnerable and revealing record to date.
53. I Wonder
When you look back at all these old tracks from a decade ago you really see how masterful Ye’s production is in any rap genre, he’s probably the best at sampling tracks ever, apparent with the amazing sample of Labi Siffre.
Heavy production, plenty of synthesisers and strong uses of autotune, Robocop is an archetypical sound of Kanye’s vision for his 2008 misunderstood masterpiece ‘808s & Heartbreak’. The strings are great and the hook is, in my eyes, one of the coolest and catchiest ones Kanye has ever done. The album came at a difficult time for Ye but songs like this proved there was still positivity inside his soul despite adversity.
51. Good Life
There is an air of triumph that courses through the entirety of Graduation, and this track is probably the finest example of this. T-Pain comes in with an insanely fun hook as the good vibes are well and truly flowing, it’s a fitting celebration for a defining moment in Kanye West’s career.
50. Murder To Excellence
One of my favourites from Watch The Throne, while I found the album generally disappointing this was definitely one of the high points, intense by Ye and Jay over a solid beat.
What do you get when you mix two of the 21st centuries biggest music stars and a rock and roll legend? Well it’s FourFiveSeconds of course. In all seriousness where the hell did this song come from? An acoustic ballad in which Kanye sang with passion and complimented Sir Paul McCartney and Rihanna with flawless efficiency. I loved this song when it came out, still love it now and will continue to in future, no matter how bizarre it may sound.
48. Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1
I’ll always remember hearing this one for the first time and going crazy when I heard Metro Boomin’s trademark stamp. Kanye comes through with a few lyrical gems that are guaranteed to get a few laughs (including a very questionable line involving a non-specific model and some bleach).
47. Dark Fantasy
The opening track of MBDTF really set the tone of the album, it’s not the best track on there but it was a really hot start, Minaj is an eerie opener and Kanye has some witty wordplay to go along with it.
This song is so dark and moody from the get-go it has more attitude than just about any Kanye song to date. The song is good enough without the feature but my word once The Weeknd starts singing it is absolute heaven on earth, He sends an earth-shattering performance onto us all and takes the song up another few levels. The autotuned craziness at the end is classic Yeezy too and I’m fully here for it.
45. All Day
During a long, unorthodox writing session with Paul McCartney, the Beatle played Kanye a few chords on the guitar and whistled a simple tune. This tune would eventually become the driving hook for All Day. Premiered at the 2015 Brit Awards (with the help of a massive crew and some flamethrowers) this song is jam-packed with energy and guaranteed to get you going.
Mercy was one of the best songs from Cruel Summer, it really ticked all the boxes. It’s star studded, has a fantastic hook, and it’s generally just great fun to listen to, not every track in the world has to have a deep message.
43. Only One
This stand alone 2015 single was just as bizarre as FourFiveSeconds but the sheer beauty of it shines through. It is a song written from the perspective of Kanye’s late mother Donda, as she sings her son Ye to sleep. “Tell Nori about me” is in reference to Donda reminding Kanye to tell his daughter North all about her grandma who she would never go on to meet. Paul McCartney really brought the best out of Kanye’s emotional side around this time and I am so grateful for it.
Much like the rest of the tracks from Cruel Summer, Clique is a no nonsense, floor filling club anthem. Nothing particularly deep or thought-provoking about it- it is pretty much the epitome of a banger.
Not to be confused with Champions, Champion is a jazz inspired track featuring vocals from Kid Charlemagne, it’s funky as they come, and by far one of the best tracks from Graduation.
I want to know what was going through Kanye’s mind when he was writing ‘Graduation’ and he decided to do a rap-piano ballad with Coldplay’s frontman Chris Martin. Either way, it is an absolute masterclass and it still sounds fresh and cool to this day, which is some going given how chronically uncool Chris Martin is. Either way he plays the keys and sings the hook well here and Kanye delivers some top class verses.
39. No Church In The Wild
One of the stand out tracks of West and Jay-Z’s Watch The Throne, mostly due to the hook: a Grammy award-winning performance from a certain Frank Ocean. The guitar sample and steady drum beat create a great deal of tension, as Ye and Hov discuss the corruption of organised religions.
Fade became somewhat of a banger with the rise in popularity of featured artist, Post Malone. The song features four different samples all perfectly merged to make this track, showing Kanye’s musical brain off brilliantly.
37. Pinocchio Story
The incredible thing about this song, or particularly the version I want to talk about, is that it was freestyled in a live show in Singapore and the beauty of his vocals and lyrical wordplay is enough to send shivers down your spine. It shows a real fragility in Kanye and the theme of sacrifice is gorgeous, suggesting what he would give up for things to go back to the way they used to be, namely keeping his mother alive.
36. Diamonds From Sierra Leone
The lead single from Late Registration, and one of the most gravely serious songs West has ever recorded. Hip-hop has always been associated with an inherently materialistic culture. Where most people would probably associate diamonds with materialistic commodities, Kanye wanted to spread awareness to the darker side to the diamond trade.
35. Can’t Tell Me Nothing
It’s 34 on our list but it’s number one on Kanye’s, who has repeatedly said this is his favourite track in his portfolio. It’d go on to be one of the biggest tracks on Graduation and it’s somewhat the birth of Ye we know now, as in his lyrics he admits that he’s “under more scrutiny / And what do I do? Act more stupidly.”
34. Bound 2
The music video for this song is one of the most ludicrous things I have ever seen, but the song itself is magnificent. Probably the only song on ‘Yeezus’ which isn’t absolutely batshit crazy, simply just a little derailed. The beat is stunning and the use of sampling is a prime example of Kanye’s keen musical ear and forward thinking to put it into a modern song.
808s & Heartbreak saw Kanye take a departure from his hip-hop origins, and Paranoid is probably the furthest West has ever pushed the boat out. You could liken this track more to an 80’s electro pop record as opposed to a rap joint. This experimentation could have easily went south, but in reality, he couldn’t have pulled it off better.
West’s magnum opus My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy truly has it all, even a splash of horrorcore in the form of this gem. This track produced one of the most celebrated and talked about guest appearances of recent times, in the form of Nicki Minaj’s fire-breathing closing verse. Minaj appeared on the track partially due to her excitement to work with idol Jay-Z, which is all the more amusing, considering how painfully average she makes the seasoned Brooklyn rapper look on this track.
31. Hold My Liquor
Kanye’s verse on this track is something special, there’s layers to it without the listeners knowing. References to old flames, drugs and alcohol, really phenomenal work. Anyone who can get a Chief Keef feature and make him sound like this proves they have a musical brain like no other.
I love this song for so many reasons. Rihanna’s feature is class, Swizz Beats does a remarkable job on the beat, the breakdown in the bridge is magical and, above all of that, Kanye fires that infamous shot at the still shook to this day Taylor Swift. That beef became legendary and Ye came out of it smelling of roses while Taylor became public enemy number one, lovely stuff.
Kanye West has always had a keen ear for sampling, but it doesn’t get much better than on Otis, where West borrows from the classic soul track Try A Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. The chemistry between Ye and Hov is insane on this one, as they both deliver every bar with an astronomical level of swagger and confidence.
28. Saint Pablo
A late addition to The Life Of Pablo, and one of the best pieces on the entire album. The lyrics are some of the albums deepest as Kanye discusses his deepest insecurities including some of his biggest controversies, as well as his 50 million dollar debt, it’s beyond genuine and the Sampha feature takes me to another place all together.
27. Hey Mama
If you have any sort of relationship with your mum, you will feel this song so deep inside your soul it hurts. It came at a time when Kanye was such a sweetheart and still had his mother right by his side, supporting his every move. The song is dedicated solely to her and proclaims how proud he is of her, trust me it really is the cutest thing. Little did Kanye know about the tragedy that was on the horizon, but the sentiment of this will last forever.
26. No More Parties In LA
Kendrick Lamar has developed a reputation for showing up on other peoples songs and performing on a level that is streets ahead of anyone else on the track. Fortunately for Yeezy, it isn’t quite the case in this situation. This isn’t a slight on Kendrick, by the way, both of them brought their A-game which is exactly why this song finds itself so high up on the list.
25. All Falls Down
Man when Kanye dropped this he was so far ahead of everyone in the rap game it was actually ridiculous, the hook is catchy, the production is slick and lyrics mean something. It was tracks like this that made Kanye the most important rapper of the 2000’s.
24. Say You Will
In 2016 Kanye brought out a digital remaster of this song in which Kacy Hill would provide vocal melody and the beat sounded royal and heavenly, the original version is still just as magnificent to me, though and that will be the one on this list. It set the tone for the attitude and mood of ‘808s & Heartbreak’ perfectly and has become a staple amongst Kanye’s fandom as one of his truly great album tracks, rightfully so, too.
23. Flashing Lights
There aren’t many more tracks from Graduation that show off the kind of step up Kanye made from Late Registration to this record quite like this one. It is widely recognised among critics as one the best songs Ye has ever released, and it’s not difficult to see why. The clash of hip-hop, R&B and electronic music found on here and plenty of other songs on Graduation provided a foundation for new rappers, and has to go down as one of the most influential records in contemporary hip-hop.
22. Ultralight Beam
The opener to TLOP reminded us that Kanye can make just about anything. He went from a crazy experimental album like Yeezus to dropping a gospel track on us with beautiful production and vocals, and one of the best Chance the Rapper verses ever. The big problem was it’s so good largely down to Chance, maybe if the roles were reversed this track would be a lot higher on a list like this?
21. Through the Wire
The fact this song was even released in the first place is a miracle, he had his jaw wired shut for god sake. After nearly dying in a car crash, Kanye was blessed to survive and decided he had to pursue his dream. This song was the result and was used basically as a flex to record labels that he could make it as a rapper; and that once he had fully recovered he would be even better. One of his truly iconic moments and it happens to be his first ever single.
20. Touch the Sky
Easily one of the best tracks from Late Registration, and one of the finest examples of sample usage in Kanye’s discography. Unfortunately for Ye, it’s Just Blaze who can take the production credits for the phenomenal flip of Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up. While West might not have contributed to the production on this one, he certainly brings some of his best bars, as well as a tight feature from Lupe Fiasco.
Kanye featuring Kid Cudi and Raekwon, does it get much better? Ye’s verse was the best on the track which is very important, nobody wants to get bodied on their own song. I love the production here, MBDTF was insane in terms of it’s rock based production, and it was no different here.
18. Gold Digger
Kanye West’s most instantly recognisable song makes it at just number 18 on our list, but that doesn’t mean we love it any less than everyone else. It signals a time in which Ye changed the face of hip-hop for good and made the genre an attractive commodity for up-and-comers on a commercial scale. Jamie Foxx is as cool behind the mic as he is in front of the camera in a Hollywood flick and his take on the Ray Charles hit ‘I’ve Got A Woman’ is fantastic for the chorus on this. Wobbler in every sense.
17. New Slaves
One of the more militant, politically charged tracks from Yeezus, Yeezy scythes through topics ranging from racism, being discriminated in the fashion industry and conspiracy theories. At the time of its release, Kanye took to Twitter to declare that the second verse is “the best rap verse of all time….meaning … OF ALL TIME IN THE HISTORY OF RAP MUSIC, PERIOD.” Modest as always, Ye.
16. Devil in a New Dress
This is so high large in part to an amazing feature from Rick Ross, which is arguably the best feature on the entirety of MBDTF. The tracks production is soulful, something Ye doesn’t always do but he always does it well, blended with the guitar solos a rather heavy rap style from Ye to match Ross made this a masterpiece of sorts.
This is the song that Kanye himself believes to be the turning point in modern mainstream radio play, it has introduced us all to a generation of synthesisers and low-fi 808s keys. It is the debut single from the 808s & Heartbreak album and is without doubt one of the best songs on the tracklist, it mixes Caribbean drums with electronic keys to create a pop-rap clinic.
14. Blame Game
A very understated moment towards the back end of the dizzyingly grand MBDTF, but Blame Game shouldn’t be overlooked; how high it is in this list should tell you all you need to know about the song. The soft piano keys and warm strings provide the perfect platform from an amazing feature from a person who West has collaborated with as early as his debut album, John Legend.
On it’s initial release, Wolves wasn’t an amazing track, it was decent enough but not a top 15 Kanye track, then Ye himself tweeted ‘Imma fix Wolves’ and boy did he. The introduction of Sia and Vic Mensa added massively to the song which already had the best production on TLOP, and if you listen through to Frank’s Track, you get some of Kanye’s best work in his two decades in music.
12. Welcome to Heartbreak
Without a shadow of a doubt, this song is the best on the 808s & Heartbreak tracklisting and it was the first of many tastes we got of a Kanye x Cudi collaboration. Kid Cudi does a phenomenal job on the hook as he adds a new attitude and soul with his voice and it compliments Kanye’s autotuned verses with effortless precision. The song can almost be chanted in the chorus and it has a really royal atmosphere. I can’t speak highly enough of this track.
If there was ever a Eureka moment in Kanye West’s discography, this is certainly it. In my honest opinion, there hasn’t been a song in the last decade of hip-hop that has changed the game up quite like this one. This is mostly down to the fact that Stronger was the catalyst to reviving disco and electro music into the mainstream, courtesy of the brilliant sample of Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by French house legends Daft Punk.
10. Love Lockdown
Top 10 time! At the time of it’s release, 808’s And Heartbreak was Kanye’s most experimental album, drawing massive inspiration from the death of his mother, that inspiration lead to one of his best albums by some way, and this track was the centerpiece of the album. By no means is this a traditional rap song, it’s R&B and it’s beautiful.
9. Black Skinhead
Yeezus was mental, start to finish it blows your mind and there are certain moments that will last long in the memory. Black Skinhead is, for me, one of those truly magical moments on the album but in a way only Kanye can do. Experimental hip-hop was a brace move from Ye for this album but songs like this made you realise how worth it the risk really was. It is a timeless classic of his discography already and for many years to come I feel like this song will be hailed as some of his best ever work.
8. All of the Lights
You will find no finer example of West getting his collaborators to shine than on All of the Lights. There are guest vocals on here from everyone between Drake and Elton John, and the instrumental is even more spectacular. The strings and horns provide an formidably dramatic soundscape, and the bombastic drum beat cranks the energy up to 11. A true hip-hop masterpiece.
7. Blood on the Leaves
This is the highest ranked track off Ye’s album Yeezus, and that’s large in part to the experimental sampling. It samples Strange Fruit, a song by Nina Simone in the 1960’s, which seems to make the perfect backing music to a heavy beat and meaningful lyrics of racism and personal struggle. It’s reminiscent of 808’s and I think in 20 years we’ll look back on this as a true classic.
6. N***as in Paris
This song slapped when it first came out, and by god it still does in 2017. It is the pinnacle of Jay Z and Kanye West collaborations and stands tall to this day as one of the best rap songs of the decade, with memorable lyrics, chop-change flows and an incredible beat. From the very first moment this song goes in and it’s lyrics carry it along the way to stardom. Sampling the Will Ferrell and Jon Heder movie Blades Of Glory is hilarious, but not quite as funny as Kanye’s whole verse, where he raps about Fish Fillet and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.
5. Real Friends
One of our first glimpses of The Life of Pablo, the release of Real Friends marked the short-lived return of West’s G.O.O.D. Fridays, a series where Ye would release standalone tracks every Friday. And what a return it was. The dark, cavernous production gels perfectly with Kanye’s lyrical content on this one; reflecting on the struggles he’s experienced with close friends and family. It’s a side of Yeezy we seldom see, which is what makes this track so special.
This was the lead single from Kanye’s greatest masterpiece, like everything on this album it delivered in a big way. It was the first single since his controversy with Taylor Swift, but it made everyone recognise him again for the right reasons. Rumour has it that this was actually the first ever songs Kanye spent time writing, in fact he’s been quoted saying he’d spent 5000 hours on it, which is probably why it’s so damn good.
3. Lost In The World
The dream collab we never realised just how much we needed, the penultimate track on MBDTF sees Kanye West work with Bon Iver and the work of Justin Vernon turns this song into an absolute masterpiece. It is a true standout from an iconic album and the sampling of Bon Iver’s own track Woods is a masterstroke. Kanye wrote his verse in email form to his now wife Kim Kardashian, something which I find very cute indeed.
2. Jesus Walks
Before the release of his debut album, The College Dropout, Kanye was struggling to get a record deal. A lot of this was down to executives claiming that his lyrics centred around faith and religion were too left-field for mainstream rap. But of course in typical Kanye West fashion, this didn’t stop him from releasing Jesus Walks, one of the most lyrically faith-centred tracks in his entire discography, as a single on his debut album. Right from the get-go Yeezy was showing the kind of defiance and audacity that we all know and love him for, and what he will most likely always be remembered for.
Here we have it, the number one Kanye West song of all time. It was voted number one by everyone who had a say on the matter, making it number one by quite some way. It’s clear why it’s so highly ranked. The song is lyrically sound with beyond masterful production. The simplicity of the eerie piano keys blends with the monster drum beat to create a near perfect piece. This song (and album) helped sky rocket collaborator Pusha T to stardom so it’s one extra reason to love it. This is the greatest song on Kanye’s greatest album so it makes sense that it’s his best. This might be something more than his best song ever, it might just be THE best song ever.