Before I continue in my series, I just want to say how difficult it is compiling this list. It could easily be well over 100 tracks long, but I’d be here all year deciding them, and then listing them. There’s a lot of notable omissions from the list that I’m afraid have been left out, either way, here is part 2 of Kanye West Greatest Songs- number 19-11. If you haven’t already, have a look at part 1 here.
19. Heartless, 808s & Heartbreak (2008)
The follow up single to Love Lockdown was even better, with it’s instantly likeable beat and colourful Hype Williams-directed video, it convinced the sceptics of 808s even more and it brought a lot of them round. The auto tune was stripped back significantly than on Love Lockdown, allowing ‘Ye to rap with conviction, as well as sing the hook.
18. The Glory, Graduation (2007)
The Glory is yet another massively slept on track from Kanye West. Having been sandwiched between the two mega-hits in the form of Homecoming and Flashing Lights on Graduation it’s often looked upon, but the beat is one of ‘Ye’s strongest, and in the same way Celebration cemented Late Registration, The Glory showed what a complete piece of rap music Graduation was.
17. Good Morning, Graduation (2007)
As the opening track to Graduation, it had to be a big one, and I remember first listening to the track thinking ‘what is he doing?’ But much like the opening track on Fantasy- Dark Fantasy, it featured broad choruses of vocals in which only ‘Ye could tame it, making it the most measured tracks in his catalogue.
16. Slow Jamz (featuring Jamie Foxx & Twista) The College Dropout (2004)
Slow Jamz was arguably the track which showed the remaining of people begin to take Mr West seriously, if they bizarrely hadn’t following Through The Wire. The song was beautifully symphonic with a Foxx hook, soulful production with Vandross sampling, and the show-stealing Twista verse; ‘Damn baby I can’t do it that fast, but I know someone who can’.
15. Jesus Walks, The College Dropout (2004)
If my memory isn’t failing me, I think this was the first Kanye West song I’d ever heard, I was nine years old at the time, and I remember even back then how good I thought it was. Years later, with a better understanding of rap music, you see it was home to a lot of things including ‘Ye’s first use of auto tune, as well as his first (in my opinion) ‘powerful’ track.
14. Flashing Lights (ft Dwele) Graduation (2007)
The intro to this song is instantly euphoric, there’s no way you can turn it off, the melodic strings are incredibly compatible against the drum claps. Dwele’s guest spot on the hook cements the song, giving it wider appeal as something more than a rap song, people were singing along to it. Then it’s all evicted, the instrumental is there to stay and for well over half a minute the song carries on without any vocals from ‘Ye or Dwele – the beat didn’t even need them, but it couldn’t have hurt to have them there in the first place.
13. New Day (with JAY Z) Watch The Throne (2011)
The second best track on WTT is yet ANOTHER underrated Kanye West track, people give No Church In The Wild and N***as In Paris all the credit as some of the best tracks on the collaborative album, but New Day is as intelligent and incredible as they come. Nina Simone’s Feeling Good is one of those tracks that will never stop being recycled and once in a while someone does it as much justice as on ‘Ye and Jay did on New Day.
12. Can’t Tell Me Nothing, Graduation (2007)
‘I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven, when I woke up I spent it on a necklace’, is the best way to understand the lyrical content on Graduation’s lead single. The material desires that come with the fame, fortune and the riches are all abundantly clear on Can’t Tell Me Nothing, however, it’s not just his lyrics, the song’s hooks, Jeezy ad-libs and haunting bells all collaborate making it an unforgettable Yeezy classic.
11. Lost In The World (featuring Bon Iver) My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kanye stated that Lost In The World had some of the best lyrics he’d ever written on it, with the numerous polar opposites including heaven and hell, it showed the ‘Beautiful’ and the ‘Dark’ elements draped across his fifth studio album. The genius Bon Iver sample/feature is beautiful utilised against the violent drums and it is certainly one of his most impacting tracks.