I am a huge Kanye fan and have wanted to do this for quite a while. I finally found some time to listen to every album the lyrical genius named Yeezy has made from first to last and create a ranking of all the works. I’ve been a fan for a long time and remember when I was younger and my brother stumbled upon the list of Kanye’s albums and saw Graduation followed by College Dropout on a list and asked if that was my life plan…Below you will see my rankings along with some commentary on each album including my favorite song and the most underappreciate (according to me) song on the album.
Honorable Mention: Late Orchestration
Kanye went to Abbey Road and recorded a live album with an orchestra remaking his album Late Registration and it was nothing short of incredible. Throw in all the big name artists he got to come and perform with him and this was a work of art. The live orchestra completely changes the game, if you don’t believe me, listen for yourself.
8. 808s and Heartbreak
This goes under the category of what the hell was he thinking? Autotune is painful to listen to. While it isn’t as hard on the ears as dubstep, it is still not pleasant and this album was filled with it. Yeezy slowed it down and went with a much more somber and emotional feel to the album. And I think that there was a legitimate fear that this would be all we’d hear from Kanye from then on. Thankfully it wasn’t. Even with this coming in at #8, it still had some hits with “Amazing”, “Heartless” and “Love Lockdown” all of which I called good songs. That, I think is the most important thing to take note of, his worst album still had a bunch of solid songs. Impressive is an understatement. The features of Kid Cudi and Jeezy on the album really helped keep it from getting stale and really catapulted Cudi into the spotlight.
- Favorite Song: Amazing
- Most Underappreciated: Welcome To Heartbreak
Well, this album is another head-scratcher. Again, there are some good songs on the album, but 10 total songs is a joke and there is just some weird shit he made on this. The most popular song off the album was “Bound 2” especially after the music video, which helped create internet gold with a multitude of remakes. This album just had a very strange vibe and no real flow from song to song.
- Favorite Song: Blood on The Leaves
- Most Underappreciated: Black Skinhead
6. The Life of Pablo
This is where it gets tough — the remaining 6 after Yeezus and 808s are all quality music. TLOP had so much hype and just didn’t deliver hits or that immediate love of the album. It took me many, many listens through to really appreciate and enjoy some of the songs. With that said, there are some hits, “Father Stretch My Hands Part 1” and “Part 2” received a mammoth amount of radio coverage. “Famous” was another with a lot of coverage due to the ‘feud’ between West and Swift until it was uncovered that Taylor is just a liar.
- Favorite Song: No More Parties in LA
- Most Underappreciated: Real Friends
5. Watch The Throne
This album is really damn good and it combines two of the most influential in rap. With that being said, I absolutely hate the song “Ni**as in Paris”. It is so overhyped and overplayed. There are so many better songs on the album. The songs that are good, though, are some of the best West has ever made. The problem is that there just aren’t enough to overcome some of the meh ones and the aforementioned Parisians.
- Favorite Song: Otis
- Most Underappreciated: Gotta Have It
4. College Dropout
It pains me to put College Dropout at #4, but one of them had to take the spot. This album is littered with hits like “We Don’t Care”, “All Falls Down”, “Jesus Walks”, “Through the Wire” and “Family Business”. The flow of the album is one of my favorite parts, each song has a connection to the next and there is a clear storyline being told. Not to mention the production quality is second to none. Slow Jamz could be the most underrated Kanye song ever. The callbacks and verses dropped, especially Twista’s is insane. Still a life goal of mine to completely memorize that part.
- Favorite Song: Slow Jamz
- Most Underappreciated: Slow Jamz
3. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
This is where people might disagree and that is what I expected. I am in the very small group that believes this album is the most underrated rap album in history. That’s right, history. It was that good. There wasn’t a single song that I didn’t like and I thought the music video/short film created about “Runaway” was incredible. Not only was the video great, but I love the song. Songs like “POWER”, “All of the Lights” and “Monster” are some of the more popular songs off the album.
- Favorite Song: All of the Lights
- Most Underappreciated: Hell of A Life
2. Late Registration
Has anyone ever had a better first three albums in any genre of music than Kanye? I highly, highly doubt it. They certainly haven’t had any with the number of hits he has. Late Registration is filled with bangers as the kids would say. There are features from Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (who has never made a bad song), Paul Wall, The Game, Jamie Foxx and the man himself, Nas. Star-studded album and it delivered. Some of the more well-known songs include: “Gold Digger”, “Heard ‘Em Say”, and “Touch The Sky”.
- Favorite Song: Diamonds From Sierra Leone Remix/We Major
- Most Underappreciated: Gone
I have every single song from this album saved on my Spotify and I regularly listen to this album. While yes, it is a mere 13 songs, they are all incredibly good. This album reminds me of Chicago every time I listen to it. Whenever I feel a little lost or homesick I will turn this on and return to a certain level of comfort. Music has crazy capabilities and if you haven’t found that song/album for you, I suggest you try and identify it because it is very powerful. But back to the album. Mega-hits like “Stronger”, “Good Life” and “Homecoming” (a song I listen to on every flight back to Chicago) helped launch this album and West to stardom.
- Favorite Song: I Wonder
- Most Underappreciated: The Glory
I welcome any and all criticisms, comments and inevitable praise that you may have for my list. The comment section is below.