In the past couple weeks the likes of Chance The Rapper and Complex have ranked all of Kanye West’s albums from worst to best. Each and every one of these albums are absolutely banging albums and could all be in discussion for being the best album of their respective years. It’s a near impossible task to rank these albums but after much deliberation and chopping and changing I have finally got my rankings down. While Chance ranked ‘Late Registration’ as number one and ‘808s’ as number 8, Complex went with ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ as number one and ‘Late Registration’ at number 8, this just shows how difficult it is to rank them and how much people will disagree.
8. Watch The Throne (Album Rating 8/10)
One of the biggest dream collab albums ever produced big, Kanye teamed up with Jay- Z to make a very solid album, a low 8 out of 10 for me. The fact that Kanye’s worst album is a low 8 just shows how talented Yeezy really is. The album featured some amazingly popular tracks, ‘N****s In Paris’ became a hip hop anthem that will never be forgotten, while ‘No Church In The Wild’ and ‘Otis’ added to a fantastic album along with one of my favourites ‘Who Gon Stop Me’. Personally I feel if Kanye and Jay- Z put a bit more time into this album it could have been truly great but there’s a couple filler tracks in here for me. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get ‘Watch The Throne 2’
7. The College Dropout (Album Rating 8.5/10)
This was Yeezy’s debut album and it showed everyone only a glimpse of what he could accomplish. I hate skits, but that aside this album achieved everything it needed to, it showed off Kanye’s talents and is not only one of the best albums of 2004, but I’d go to say it’s one of the best debut albums ever. ‘Jesus Walks’ is one of favourite Kanye tracks of all time and I love the style of rap on this album along with other projects in his early days, it’s got a funky and soulful vibe to it and if you were a teenager in the early 2000’s chances are you love this project and rate it a lot higher than this in the list.
6. Yeezus (Album Rating 8.5/10)
Widely considered Kanye’s strangest album to date, ‘Yeezus’ provided fans with a new sound and incredibly strange production, almost a love it or hate it kind of album and for me personally I loved it. It may be near the bottom of my list but every Yeezy album was an individual masterpiece for different reasons, the reason this one was a masterpiece of was the new sound we were all introduced to. At one point in time Kanye teetered on a fine line between confidence and complete arrogance, this album showed Kanye smash across that line and I genuinely feel he has a right to do so. The reason this is down the list is for every brilliant piece of production from the likes of ‘Blood On The Leaves’ and ‘New Slaves’ there was often some production that I felt was a little bit too much for me that could’ve perhaps been toned down.
5. The Life Of Pablo (Album Rating 9/10)
His most recent project to date ‘TLOP’ was one his most eagerly anticipated albums after a 3 year wait from ‘Yeezus’ and the constant delays of the album once known as ‘Swish’. The album features an abundance of rapping stars such as Kendrick Lamar and Chance The Rapper, the latter of which had helped produce a large chunk of the album. This album showed moments of absolute brilliance but the major problem that held this project back is these moments of brilliance came from featured artists. Not to take away from a fantastic album which had some of the best tracks of 2016. Not many people would put this album as high as it is on my list but there’s an insane track listing on there and I still bump it hard.
4. Graduation (Album Rating 9/10)
This is in many peoples eyes higher up the list, to old school rap fans probably the highest ranked album. Graduation is probably the album that made Kanye the key figure in the rap game, sales wise this smashed 50- Cent out of the park. ‘Stronger’ might be seen as Kanye’s biggest mainstream song and there is no real weak spot on this album, from start to finish we have consistent brilliance from such a genius. I don’t think Kanye gets credit for his masterful production, each and every album has a different sound and that’s down to his own creation, this was his first album of his that veered away from a soul kind of rap and entered a completely different sound.
3. 808’s And Heartbreak (Album Rating 9.5/10)
This is the best breakup album of all time for me, ‘808s & Heartbreak’ was Kanye’s furthest thing from a full on rap album, almost edging on a sysnthpop album with the obvious prominent use of the 808 drums. The two major releases off this album ‘Heartless’ and ‘Love Lockdown’ were exceptional along with the rest of the album. This is Kanye’s deepest album to date with themes of heartbreak and loss, referring to the death of his mother and breakup from his long time partner both only a year before the album was released. This album also showed that Kanye is a whiz with autotune as he shows it can be used effectively, something he has always been able to do and his since used it even more.
2. Late Registration (Album Rating 9.5/10)
Kanye’s second studio album ‘Late Registration’ was a thing of beauty. Annoying skits aside, this album was pure fire and gave the world a few anthems that are etched in hip hops history. ‘Touch The Sky’, ‘Gold Digger’ and ‘Diamonds From Sierra Leone’ are all certified bangers, I’ve always considered this album as ‘The College Dropout’s’ brother and I feel that the evolution of Yeezy came through to show this was a better album. In fact I would go as far to say as this was the album that sent Mr. West to super stardom. The simply fantastic production with brilliant samples mean it shouldn’t just be known as a superb album, it should be known as a revolutionary album for all of hip hop.
1. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Album Rating 11/10)
This was the easiest choice of the lot. Giving it a 10 out of 10 does not do it justice so it deserves an 11 out of 10. By far and away the best album Kanye West has came out with, personally for me there’s only a few rap albums that can go toe to toe with it, maybe even a few albums in all of music. The critically acclaimed MBDTF from start to finish is a masterpiece that hasn’t aged at all in the last 6 years or so and will without a doubt stand the test of time and will still be discussed as one of the best albums ever in 20 years. The progression in this album is simply outstanding. From the sick flow to the star studded features, from the fire jams to the slow jams, this album has everything. The production is second to none in the rap game particularly from the use of the piano, tracks like ‘Runaway’ and ‘Blame Game’ are fantastic tracks that have a deeper meaning along with ‘Lost In The World’ all three of which are three of my personal favourites on the album. There is literally no weaknesses on this album, I’m not a huge fan of outro’s and skits but I can’t even find negatives in that on this album, the interlude to ‘All Of The Lights’ is a masterful intro which builds perfectly into a huge banger, the outros on some tracks are either cool with comedy or passionate and meaningful. This is probably the closest to perfection you can get in a rap album.