By Zach Felder
For those who are just reading this and missed my first part of a three-part series on the career of Kanye West here is the link to my last article.
808s & Heartbreak 2008
Kanye’s first album since breaking up from a long term engagement with Alexis Phifer. 808s & Heartbreak reflects the pain that Kanye West went through. I wasn’t a fan of this album when it first released, I felt that it was too odd and weird for me. The whole autotune was gimmicky to me and still is. But, I was wrong (about the album, not autotune that sucks), it is a great album that was way before its time. To myself, I felt that having rappers sing their lyrics is just out of place, and most of the time it is. Drake has a lot of songs that are like that, and they are songs I try to avoid. I avoided this album for years, I was a traditionalist in the sense that rappers should reframe from singing their tracks rather than using their flow. 808s & Heartbreak exemplifies how talented Kanye West is as an artist. As everyone knows of Love Lockdown and Heartless, and these will not make the list, but it does reflect Kanye’s angst from his failure to “keep” his lover. Songs that did not make the list, but are certainly worthwhile to listen are Street Lights and Robocop.
Welcome To Heartbreak:
“Dad cracked a joke all the kids laugh
But I couldn't hear em all the way in first class
Chased the good life my whole life long
Look back on my life and my life gone
Where did I go wrong?”
In this song, Kanye is self-reflecting on if he made the right decision to pursue his music career, maybe he could’ve been happier, perhaps he could have been with his mother more before her passing in 2007. Kanye’s angst is hidden among a great instrumental beat.
Paranoid featuring Mr. Hudson:
“All of the time
You wanna complain about the nights alone
So now you're here with me
Show some gratitude leave the attitude way back at home
Yea you see em look
Baby let em look give us cold looks cause we look cold
Yea you heard about all the word of mouth
Don't worry about what we can't control
All the talk in the world lost in the world
Till you finally let that thing go
You wanna check in to the heartbreak hotel
But sorry we're closed
Baby don't worry about it
Lady we'll go out to the floor.”
A song that uses Autotune in an artist matter that Justin Bieber wishes he could do. Kanye is telling his lover to not worry about what other people think. If they are happy as a couple, it should not matter what anyone else thinks. But, Kanye’s breakup with Alexis Phifer really affected him, and he is saying he is not going to let this affect him.
“On lonely nights I start to fade
(On lonely nights I start to fade)
Her love is a thousand miles away
(Her love is a thousand miles away)
Memories made in the coldest winter
Goodbye my friend will I ever love again
Memories made in the coldest winter
It's 4am and I can't sleep
(It's 4am and I can't sleep)
Her love is all that I can see
(Her love is all that I can see)
Memories made in the coldest winter
Goodbye my friend will I ever love again“
Coldest Winter is probably the most Nietzsche that Kanye West gets in any of his songs throughout his entire career. It is a beautiful song, filled with Kanye’s Angst and a light amount of autotune that should have been the biggest hit of the album, sadly, to the average Kanye Fan 808s & Heartbreak is associated with Love Lockdown or Heartless.
I could say that Coldest Winter is one of my favorite songs by Kanye West.
My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy 2010
This has to be the best album I have ever listened to. From the weird album cover art made by Kanye himself, to every track and I am not saying this because I am a diehard Kanye West fan, I have listened to this album countless times. I was in 11th grade when this album came out, and I can remember listening to it for nearly three years on a daily basis. For an album, that is relatively short with fourteen tracks. Every Track is different, but yet brilliant. There is even a short film directed by Kanye West called Runaway. I’ve been intentionally staying away from the most popular songs of Kanye West, but his most famous track Runaway has to make my list.
“I fantasized about this back in Chicago
mercy, mercy me, that Murcielago
that’s me, the first year that I blow
how you say broke in Spanish? Me no hablo
me drown sorrow in that Diablo
me found bravery in my bravado
DJ’s need to listen to the model’s
You ain’t got no fuckin’ Yeezy in your Serrato?
(You ain’t got no Yeezy, nigga?)
stupid, but what the fuck do I know?
I’m just a Chi-town nigga with a nice flow
and my bitch in that new Phoebe Philo
so much head, I woke up to Sleepy Hollow”
A Kanye West that no longer is filled with the angst that he once had in 808s & Heartbreak. Kanye reflects on the successes that he has had as an artist.Kanye is now on the warpath to becoming the world's best artist. Dark Fantasy is a statement from Kanye West that is at the top of his game, and this album proves it.
Monster: Nicki Manaji:
”Pull up in the monster
with a bad bitch that came from Sri Lanka
yeah I’m in that Tonka, colour of Willy Wonka
you could be the King but watch the Queen conquer
OK first things first I’ll eat your brains
then I’mma start rocking gold teeth and fangs
cause that’s what a motherfucking monster do
hairdresser from Milan, that's the monster do
monster Giuseppe heel that’s the monster shoe
Young Money is the roster and the monster crew
and I’m all up all up all up in the bank with the funny face
and if I’m fake I ain't notice cause my money ain’t"
Nicki Manaji shows her real talent as a supporting artist in Monster and has a fly verse that showcases her talent. Just don't count Anaconda. Monster is a song that embodies the villainous role that Kanye West will soon become. a track that has Jay-Z, Rick Ross, and Nicki Manaji. Monster is the one of the best quality Kanye West songs.
“Never was much of a romantic,
I could never take the intimacy.
And I know I did damage,
'Cause the look in your eyes is killing me,
I guess you've got another advantage
'Cause you could blame me for everything.
And I don't know how I'm a manage,
If one day you just up and leave
Yeah, I always find somethin' wrong
You been puttin' up with my shit just way too long
I'm so gifted at findin' what I don't like the most
So I think it's time for us to have a toast
Let's have a toast for the douchebags,
Let's have a toast for the assholes,
Let's have a toast for the scumbags,
Every one of them that I know
Let's have a toast to the jerkoffs
That'll never take work off
Baby, I got a plan
Run away fast as you can”
Runaway is a love song, a song that is directed to Model Amber Rose, who just broke up with Kanye West just when the album was being released. Runaway is a long song that runs for over nine minutes. That starts out with a brilliant piano beat. A beat that defines Kanye West’s career.The instrumental of this song is generationally defining, but to some, the song is ruined by Kanye West’s rapping on the soundtrack. I understand their opinion, but I respectfully disagree. Runaway is a song that will always be etched into my mind. Runaway’s beat was even used for Bud Light’s 2012 Super Bowl commerrical. Even though we all know that Bud Light is an atrocious beer, but it was used to show over 50 million people why they need to drink Bud Light, and that’s a big number. (Do not drink Bud Light)
Lost In the World:
“You're my devil, you're my angel
You're my heaven, you're my hell
You're my now, you're my forever
You're my freedom, you're my jail
You're my lies, you're my truth
You're my war, you're my truce
You're my questions, you're my proof
You're my stress and you're my masseuse”
Lost In the World reflects on the dilemma that all people go through with their loved ones. There may be constant issues with each other. But in the end, they are always together. Lost In the World has a great beat and is a must listen. It has glimmers of 808s & Heartbreak in it.
The next part of Kanye West: A Career Review Pt. 3 will focus on the artistic downfall of Kanye West. From having five albums go platinum, Kanye West started to encounter a downfall in his artistic ability. Stay tuned.