15 Best Kanye West Tracks

Kanye West 600x3001 Kanye West. Just say the name in a group of people and you will get a bevy of responses: an idiot, a genius, a narcissist, or (according to President Obama) a jackass. Arguably the most controversial pop artist making music today, Yeezy is certainly a lightning rod. He's said that George Bush doesn't like black people, Single Ladies is one of the greatest videos of all-time, and that he is a god (so hurry up with his damn croissants). With a persona that often overshadows his music, Kanye has expertly spun his publicity into his music; courting controversy and marrying his excessive lifestyle with musical grandiosity. Whatever direction Kanye goes, popular music seems to follow him. So even if you don't like him, there is no arguing that he is influential. And with near unanimous critical acclaim for his musical output (particularly his most recent solo albums 2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and this year's Yeezus), you don't have to like the person to appreciate the music. And there is a lot to appreciate. Putting out six original solo albums since 2004 along with his collaboration with Jay Z called Watch The Throne and the Cruel Summer compilation that was released last year, you can add prolific to the list of adjectives used to describe West. Because of the massive output along with the questionable nature of authorship in such a collaborative medium (one could argue that Heart of the City is a Kanye track) this list is dedicated solely to songs that were released on West's solo albums. So no N***** in Paris, No Church in the Wild, nor Mercy. Even so, limiting this list to fifteen songs was difficult. Most of the songs on the list are hits (in true Kanye fashion), but there are a few here that weren't released as singles but still stood out on their respective albums. I'll start off with some honorable mentions, which really deserve to be on the list but were just edged out: Power (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), Touch the Sky, Drive Slow (Late Registration), Can't Tell Me Nothing (Graduation), We Don't Care (The College Dropout). Now on to the list proper...

15. Slow Jamz (The College Dropout)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrMrqBcv6Mk Best Line: "Got a light skinned friend look like Michael Jackson, got a dark skinned friend look like Michael Jackson" Kanye has said that the moment he thought of that line is when he knew he was going to be famous, which would be ridiculously narcissistic if it weren't true. It may still be pretty narcissistic. But Slow Jamz featuring Jamie Foxx and Twista features vintage Kanye production as well as a damn clever verse. With the "chipmunk soul" (the process of speeding up a soul sample to give it a faster tempo and higher pitch) that Kanye made his own in the early 2000s, Slow Jamz is an early standout track. Still a little raw as an MC, Kanye goes through his well-worded bars with caution, but he displays the humility in his music he rarely exudes in real life by allowing his guests to hog the track and even upstage him a little. Slow Jamz won't be the last collaboration Kanye has with Jamie Foxx on this list, but it displays the talent of a young producer making his way into the game.
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Bryan Hickman is a WhatCulture contributor residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Bryan's passions include film, television, basketball, and writing about himself in the third person.