Kanye re-ignited his on-again-off-again feud with Taylor Swift when he released “Famous” from “The Life of Pablo”. The line "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous,” prompted Swift to release a scathing attack on the rapper, in which she denied agreeing to being called “that b***h”. “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that b***h’” in his song?” It doesn’t exist because it never happened.” Swift's denial
The video for the single also drew controversy for featuring 12 naked look-a-likes — including George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Winter, Rihanna, Chris Brown, West’s wife Kim Kardashian, and Swift — lying in bed together.
Though "Only One" may not quite make it to your next party playlist, Kanye’s 2015 tribute to his daughter North will make your heart melt like butter. Combined with the sweet piano keys of Paul McCartney and a video cameo by North herself, it’s as tender-hearted as Kanye will ever get.
Another hit from the “Life of Pablo” album makes the list. "Fade"'s house beat backing certifies it as a killer Kanye jam, but it's Teyana Taylor’s appearance in the single’s music video that drew tremendous buzz and sent jaws dropping to the floor.
With Taylor dancing in nothing more than a cropped tank top, thong and kneepads — while showing off her perfectly chiselled and curvaceous body — the “Flashdance”-inspired choreography and the infectious song delivered a viral hit.
'N****s In Paris'
Kanye West and Jay-Z’s 2011 collaboration album “Watch the Throne” produced the undeniable rap masterpiece “N****s in Paris”. Kanye and Jay’s love of fashion shows through with the name-dropping of their favourite brand, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Margiela, and the synth-driven hit propelled the phrase “that sh*t cray” into the universe.
This will NOT be a popular choice. And including this song is not, by any means, an endorsement of the video because I still literally can>t even with that. But Bound 2, from his 2013 album, "Yeezus", is as close to a lovesong as we're ever gonna get from Yeezy. And while some of the lyrics aren't exactly the stuff of great poetry (see: I wanna f**k you hard on the sink and after that give you something to drink) dare I say "Bound 2" shows a maturing Kanye? In "Runaway" he admits, 'I could have me a good girl and still be addicted to them hood rats' while in this song he declares, 'one good girl is worth a thousand bitches.' Progress! One of my favourite things about Kanye West songs is the number of pop culture references he drops in them, they're everywhere and "Bound 2" is no different. I had no idea who Jerome was or why I had to watch my mouth because he was in the house but a quick Google search revealed it was a reference to the '90s sitcom, Martin. I don't know why but Ye's love of 'Martin' pleases me. If you're still not convinced that "Bound 2" deserves to be on this list, consider this: Without "Bound 2" we wouldn't have Bound 3 with Seth Rogen and James Franco. And I don't want to live in a world where a shirtless Seth Rogen straddling James Franco on a motorcycle isn't a thing. Choice Lyric: Step back, can't get spunk on the mink, I mean damn, what would Jeromey Romey Romey Rome think?
Ye's ode to Chicago. A lot of rappers profess their love for their hometowns in song (see: Jay Z's Empire State of Mind, Jermaine Dupri's Welcome to Atlanta, Nelly's St. Louie, every song by Drake) and Kanye is no different, paying tribute to the Windy City with this song, featuring Chris Martin from 2007's Graduation. Kanye sings of Chicago as if it were a woman, his first love, "I met this girl when I was three years old and what I loved most she had so much soul."
Ye bragging about the city or about being a hometown hero, rather the song is an earnest declaration of love for a city he clearly is conflicted about leaving, "If you really cared for her then you never would have hit the airport to follow your dream."
Choice Lyric: "Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud. Jump in the crowd, spark your lighters, wave 'em around. And if you don't know by now, I'm talking 'bout Chi -town"
'Through The Wire'
Proof that not even a jaw wired shut can keep Kanye West quiet. In October of 2002, Kanye crashed his car after leaving an LA recording studio resulting in serious injuries that could have put the release of his debut album, "The College Dropout", in jeopardy . But Ye turned adversity into art, rapping about the experience while his mouth was still wired, proving nothing could stop him, "I'm a champion, so I turned tragedy to triumph. Make music that's fire, spit my soul through the wire."
Choice Lyric: "What if somebody from the Chi that was ill got a deal on the hottest rap label aroundBut he wasn't talking 'bout coke and birds it was more like spoken word."
'All Falls Down'
Ah, back when Kanye rocked that pink polo with the popped collar. Those were the days. Off his debut album, The College Dropout, "All Falls Down" features Kanye at his introspective best. Bragging about jewellery, clothes and cars isn't exactly uncharted territory in rap, but examining why these things matter and what they sometimes mask, definitely is. With lyrics like "Things we buy to cover up what's inside" and "I got a problem with spending before I get it. We all self-conscious I'm just the first to admit it" Kanye shines a light on materialism while admitting he's one of the worst offenders.
Choice Lyric: "We living the American dream. But the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem. The prettiest people do the ugliest things for the road to riches and diamond ring."
'Heard ‘Em Say'
Ahh, back before Adam Levine's singing voice reached levels only dogs could hear and caused me to coil in horror. Heard 'Em Say features the Maroon 5 singer dueting with Ye on this track from "Late Registration". Levine later appropriated the refrain for the Maroon 5 song, "Nothing Lasts Forever", on their 2007 album It Won't Be Soon Before Long. In "Heard 'Em Say", Kanye laments the socio-economical issues facing the African-American community while also reminding us to be grateful for right now, "Nothing's ever promised tomorrow, today."
Choice Lyric: "Where I'm from, the dope boys is the rock stars, but they can't cop cars without seein' cop cars. I guess they want us all behind bars."
I'll be honest, 808s and Heartbreak didn't resonate with me immediately but the passage of time has me appreciating the album a lot more, including the track "Coldest Winter". The song, which borrows heavily from the Tears for Fears, Memories Fade, has Kanye struggling with both the death of his beloved mother Donda and the end of his six-year relationship with his former fiancee;, 'Goodbye my friend will I ever love again?' Anyone who thinks Kanye West is only an egomaniacal, angry, ranting blowhard should revisit this song. Not saying Ye isn't an egomaniacal angry, ranting, blowhard but there's more to him.
Choice Lyric: "If spring can take the snow away, can it melt away all of our mistakes?"
Yeezy's thumping anthem telling the haters to step off, son! which is appropriate since his sampling of Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" didn't sit well with everyone (Daft Punk robots not included since they not only allowed the use, they appear in the video). The second single off his third album, Graduation, features a cocky Kanye commanding us to, 'bow in the presence of greatness.' "Stronger" holds a special place in my heart if only for the nostalgia of seeing the Louis Vuitton don rock those venetian blind sunglasses. The song hit #1 on Billboard (take this, haters!). Special credit to Ye for reminding us of the Prince and Appolonia days of yore and OJ Simpson's winter wear.
Choice Lyric: "Do anybody make real sh*t anymore? Bow in the presence of greatness 'cause right now thou hast forsaken us. You should be honoured by my lateness, that I would even show up to this fake sh*t."
The first track off Kanye's 2010 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy begins with story time courtesy of Nicki Minaj. This sweeping song is built around a sample, the "Can we get much higher" borrows from a song called "In High Places" by Mike Oldfield and works perfectly in this song. "Dark Fantasy" is the perfect introduction to what ended up being a masterpiece of an album that tackles themes of hedonism, consumerism, decadence, and romantic failures -- just to name a few. Plus, some of the lyrics are genuinely funny, "too many Urkels on your team that's why you're wins low," referring of course to the '90s sitcom, 'Family Matters'.
Choice Lyric: "Look like a fat booty Celine Dion. Sex is on fire and I'm the king of Leona Lewis."
An anthem in which Kanye West acknowledges everything we've ever said or thought about him and in which he confirms he is not a good romantic partner and struggles with intimacy (good luck with that, Kim) saying "I don't know what it is with females, but I'm not too good at that sh*t." When Ye commands us to raise a glass and toast all of the douchebags, scumbags and jerkoffs, it's obvious he's talking about himself. It's classic Kanye as he struggles to deal with himself, and it yields a beautiful song. "Runaway" shouldn't work (it rambles on for more than nine minutes, at one point into an auto-tuned mess) but it just does. Kanye knows best. But he already knew that. "Runaway" is definitely one of Ye's finest and the video is stunning. You can't deny Kanye West is an artist at heart. He admits we've been putting up with his sh*t for way too long but "Runaway" leaves us wanting more.
Choice Lyric: "I guess you've got another advantage cause you could blame me for everything. And I don't know how Imma manage if one day you just up and leave"
'Can't Tell Me Nothing'
As with "All Falls Down", Ye struggles again with his materialism, "I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven. When I awoke I spent that on a necklace" and "bought more jewelry, more Louis V my mama couldn't get through to me." By the time his third album, 'Graduation', dropped, Kanye was well-known as one of rap's most outspoken figures and "Can't Tell Me Nothing" is an underrated gem that has him struggling with how he's perceived in the media whether he cares what critics have to say, "the drama, people suing me, I'm on TV talkin' like it's just you and me."
Choice Lyric: "So if the devil wear Prada, Adam Eve wear nada, I'm in between but way more fresher. With less effort. Cause when you try hard, that's when you die hard."
Kanye West became persona non grata after hopping on stage at the 2009 MTV VMAs and pretty much snatching the award for Best Female Video right out of Taylor Swift's tiny hands proclaiming Beyonce to have deserved the honour instead. Ye may have been right, but it didn't make him come off any less douchey. Eveyone piled on him after that (even President Obama called him a jacka$$) and Saturday Night Live had a field day with him. In Power, off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Ye addresses the haters in his trademark cocky Kanye way, "screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it, I guess every superhero needs his theme music. He also has some choice words for SNL, directing the cast to the part of his body they can kiss.
Choice Lyric: "They say I was the abomination of Obama's nation. Well that's a pretty bad way to start the conversation. At the end of the day, God damn, I 'm killing this sh*t. Y'all know damn well y'all feelin' this sh*t."
'All Of The Lights'
This song is just a sweeping, pulsating, triumphant musical gem. Listening to it with the piano intro is the way to go, making when the horns kick in that much more powerful. From My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, "All Of The Lights" is definitely one of, if not the best song on an album full of them.Featuring vocals from Rihanna, Kid Cudi, and Fergie, "All Of The Lights" is an event-of-a-song, with an ending that feels like the end credits of a movie. Fun fact: Drake recorded a verse for this song but it it didn't make the final version. Let's just hope the lyric, "restraining order, can't see my daughter. Her mother, brother, grandmother hate me in that order" wasn't any kind of foreshadowing. Methinks Kris Jenner is not someone whose bad side you want to be on.
Choice Lyric: "I made mistakes. I bump my head. Courts suck me dryI spent that bread. She need a daddy. Baby please, can't let her grow up in that ghetto university"
From his debut, The College Dropout, "Jesus Walks" has Kanye addressing racism, religion, faith and what he can and can't address as a rapper, while still getting mainstream airplay, "They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus. That means guns, sex, lies, videotape but if I rap about God my record won't get played?" His record did get played, though, reaching #11 on Billboard's Hot 100. Kanye released three videos for this song.
Choice Lyric: "The way Kathie Lee needed Regis, that's the way I need Jesus."
Despite all his success and money, Kanye still doesn't feel like he's respected and despite his reveling in shade thrown by haters, he very much wants to be accepted. Kanye is not pleased the elite designers don't want to work with him as he very much wants to be taken seriously in the fashion industry. In "New Slaves" he laments being the victim of racism, classism and probably several other -isms. "Doin' clothes you would have thought I had help, but they wasn't 'satisfied unless I picked the cotton myself."
Choice Lyric: "Uhm, not much we can pick here that isn't obscene or using the N word. "New Slaves" is Kanye angry. And unlike the Hulk, I like Kanye when he's angry."