The Lampin' Blog presents Top 10 Tuesday. On certain Tuesdays we bring you our favorite 10 tracks from one of our favorite music artists. Enjoy.
(Intro from Nev)
We decided to do this Top 10 in light of recent events involving our beloved Mr. West. We at Lampin’ choose to look not upon the convoluted political rants and societal critiques, not the Twitter beefs or the ridiculously delayed, and may I add, underwhelming (fight me) Life of Pablo.
But rather, we remember the pre-Kim Ye that showed the utmost care in honing his craft and putting out some of the best albums ever made. This isn’t to say that Kanye is no longer capable of top-shelf output, but it kind of is. The problem that has developed the past three or four years is that Kanye is so passionate about whatever his passions may be, and he has such trouble encoding his message in a way that we can understand (see 2015 VMAs).
This chasm has caused frustration for both Kanye and his fan base, and we long-time fans just have to put our heads down, keep trudging through the storm, and await another classic. But until then, enjoy this list of Büsh's most cherished Kanye tracks.
10. "Good Friday" - Good Fridays
Kanye's Good Friday series was one of the best things to happen to me my junior year of high school. I remember checking 2dopeboyz for the new update religiously every Friday after school. While all the tracks were memorable, two stood out from the rest (that weren't included in MBDTF). Trying to pick between "Good Friday" and "Christian Dior Denim Flow" was extremely difficult, but what ultimately made the title track superior to CDDF was its feel-good vibe, along with Pusha T's verse.
Most of the tracks Kanye was releasing at the time, including CDDF, were very dark, and while that isn't a bad thing, "Good Friday" was a nice change of pace and was reminiscent of College Dropout 'Ye. I mean, just try not "WOOOOOO" with Kanye during the opening lyrics. It's physically impossible.
9. "Get 'Em High" - College Dropout
In case you haven't seen our About page, "Get 'Em High" provided some inspiration for us here at Lampin'. The opening line itself is good enough to land this track on 'Ye's all time list (shoutout to those who can rap along).
A hypnotic beat mixed with booming drums along with solid verses from Talib Kweli and Common make this one of many memorable tracks off of Kanye's debut album.
8. "So Appalled" - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Another song with multiple features highlights just how Yeezy brings out the best out of other artists when they work with him. An artist as passionate about his work as Kanye will demand nothing less than excellence when collaborating with him. For example, sending back Pusha T's verse on "Runaway" multiple times because he didn't sound enough like a dick.
Speaking of King Push, Terrence delivers incredible bars and outshines even the Jigga Man on this posse cut. However, all four rappers spitters (yes, even CyHi the Prince) provide quality verses and effectively make us forget about Swizz Beats and RZA's shouting.
7. "Through the Wire" - College Dropout
Kanye's first ever single made people take him seriously as a rapper. Dubbed just a producer after creating hits on Jay-Z's The Blueprint, "Through the Wire" made everyone realize that Kanye is more than just a backstage act.
With a beat that screams "classic Kanye" (shouts Chaka Khan), West does his thing on the mic despite his jaw being shut after a serious car accident. Sure the bars aren't anything groundbreaking, but they are enough to prove to people that Kanye can make it as a frontman.
While Kanye certainly has better songs than "Through the Wire," few are more important.
6. "Drive Slow" - Late Registration
Mr. West avoided a sophomore slump with Late Registration, which included a gem in "Drive Slow" and featured Paul Wall and GLC. Iceman Paul Wall's verse is probably my favorite on the song, but it's Kanye's production that truly stands out.
Featuring a sample from Hank Crawford over a classic drum break from Clarence Reid, "Drive Slow' is extremely smooth and is perfect listening for a long drive.
5. "All Falls Down" - College Dropout
While "Through the Wire" made people believe 'Ye could be an adequate rapper, "All Falls Down" proved he could be a superstar. Kanye spits thought-provoking lyrics over a Syleena Johnson cover of Lauryn Hill's "Mystery of Inequity."
The song was West's first top-10 single, and it continues to be relevant over a decade later.
4. "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" - Graduation
This song has a special place in my heart, as I used it as one of my walkup songs for my senior season. "Can't Tell Me Nothin'" puts Kanye's swagger into song form, and it works perfectly. The Jeezy ad-libs only add to the songs greatness. He could make a song only saying "HAAHAAA," "YEEEEAH," "THAAATS RIIIIGHT," and "LET'S GET IT" and I'd still listen to it.
Jokes aside, this serves as one of Kanye's best because it truly captures his raw personality. That's incredibly hard to do, especially in a song. It also made The Hangover 10 times better (maybe an exaggeration).
3. "Devil In a New Dress" - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
The best song off of Kanye's best album. Yeezy hands the production duties to Bink!, a somewhat rare occurrence on a Kanye Album, but Bink! absolutely murders it. The Lionel Richie sample mixed with the guitar and piano is fucking majestic. I originally didn't feel this song that much when it released as a part of Good Fridays, but the album version with Rick Ross switched my opinion 180 degrees.
The piano-guitar solo in between West and Ross' verses is pure bliss, and Rozay spits one of the best verses of his career. "Gettin' 2pac money twice over/Still a real nigga red Coogi sweater dice rolla" and "I'm making love to the angel of death/Catchin' feelings never stumble retracing my steps" are two absolute bangers of lines. Kudos to Officer Ricky.
2. "Diamonds From Sierra Leone" - Late Registration
Not the remix. Before you organize an angry mob, hear me out. Jay-Z drops a career verse in the remix, but Kanye's first verse in the original is his best verse ever. And after all, this is a best Kanye song list, not Jay-Z.
"Close your eyes and imagine/Feel the magic/Vegas on acid/Seen through Yves Saint-Laurent glasses" is one of the dopest opening lines to any song ever. The only time I get more hyped at the beginning of a song is Nas' "NY State of Mind." And any song mentioned in the same breath as "NYSOM" deserves to be in any artist's top two.
1. "Flashing Lights" - Graduation
We have arrived at the top. The pinnacle of a legend's portfolio. If Kanye's opening verse on "Diamonds" is his best, his second verse on "Flashing Lights" is No. 2. "First class with the seat back I still see ya/On the other side of the glass of my memory's musueum/I'm just saying, hey Mona Lisa, come home you know you can't roam without Caesar" is absolutely poetic. Kanye isn't really known for his lyricism, but that shit is beautiful.
The mix of the synths and strings is sublime, and represents some of 'Ye's finest production. While Kids These Days and badbadnotgood provide great covers of "Flashing Lights," I would love to see an orchestra take on West's best track. I'm sure Yeezy wouldn't mind either.
For what it's worth, here are Nev's picks:
10. "The Glory" - Graduation
9. "Gorgeous" - MBDTF
8. "Everything I Am" - Graduation
7. "Jesus Walks" - College Droupout
6. "Can't Tell Me Nothing" - Graduation
5. "Blood on the Leaves" - Yeezus
4. "Touch the Sky" - Late Registration
3. "Diamonds" - Late Registration
2. "Homecoming" - Graduation
1. "All Falls Down" - College Dropout
And there you have it. Our best songs from Kanye Omari West. If you couldn't tell, we are both partial to the chop up the soul Kanye, but if there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that he gets well soon.