Everyone wants to be a rapper, even your favorite producers. Hip-hop is full beatmakers trying to make the transition from behind the boards to in front the mic, and while some artists like Pharrell Williams or Diddy have enjoyed success, others not so much. Kanye West is one artist that got it right.
After helming hits for the likes Jay Z and Alicia Keys, Kanye had a shaky start proving himself as a rapper in the early 2000s. He was passed over by several record labels for not resembling a quintessential MC and had to earn his keep at Roc-A-Fella Records. Still, Kanye transitioned from every rapper’s favorite producer to a superstar in his own right.
Over the past decade, his discography speaks for itself. His seminal debut, ‘The College Dropout,’ was a triumph for backpackers and nerds everywhere while ‘Gold Digger’ and ‘Good Life’ gave him massive radio spins. ‘808s & Heartbreak’ proved the kid from Chi-town could go left while everyone else went right, while ‘Yeezus’ was both thought-provoking and provocative.
The outspoken rapper has showcased his sonic prowess and ability to take creative risks, ten challenging himself as well as hip-hop norms over time. Whatever he does (or says or wears), he stands by it with conviction and that’s what makes him one hip-hop’s most compelling rappers to watch. “It’s like this, by not giving my album a classic rating, you diminish your magazine’s credibility. And that’s real,” he once said in an interview.
We can’t say that every album he created has been a classic but some definitely are. Check out Worst to Best: Every Kanye West Album Ranked.