Today, Kanye Omari West is most notorious for his flawed personal life as well as the myriad of controversial statements and actions that he feeds the media every day. Throughout his failed 2020 presidential campaign, he publicly claimed that slavery was “a choice” as well as falsely claiming that Harriet Tubman never actually freed any slaves. However, I am not here to discuss the political failures and wild statements he has made.
Completely disregarding the tainted political and social reputation West has accumulated over the years, he is, in my opinion, the greatest hip hop artist ever. I may even stretch to say that he is the greatest and most misunderstood artist of all time as well.
West did not begin his musical career as a rapper but instead a producer for well-renowned artists such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and more. However, after dropping out of college to pursue his musical career, West realized he wanted to strive for more than just being a producer, he wanted to push his growing career to the next level, by becoming a rapper. He drew his influence predominantly from rock ‘n’ roll, The Stones, Led Zeppelin, and the Killers, which all transformed and helped create the unique sound West has associated with himself.
West then proceeded to drop his first studio album, “The College Dropout,” laying the foundation for his mass success in years to come. With the hit single, “All Falls Down,” that peaked at #7 on the US top billboard charts, West etched his name in the history of music. He went on to release another three albums, all of which he assisted in producing, by 2008. Then in 2009, disaster struck.
During the 2009 VMA awards, West infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s victory, causing public outcry. He later attributed this fiasco to him overworking himself. However, that is irrelevant. After this controversy, West traveled to Hawaii to engage in his self-imposed exile, which allowed him to create the best hip hop album of all time.
“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” which was released in 2010, is simply a beautifully constructed piece of music. It stars features from artists such as Elton John to Nicki Manaj, which illuminates the diverse aspects of the album as well as versatility of West to work with different artists and sounds.
Since 2010, West has released six albums, all of which have lived up to the high precedent West has set for himself musically, each album more unique than the last, cementing West’s name in the hall of fame.
Throughout West’s lengthy career, he has won a total of 22 Grammys, released ten albums, collaborated with dozens of artists, and more importantly, paved the path for many new artists willing to experiment with his famous soul-based songs that carried him to the elite status he currently is at.
Hate him or love him, Kanye West is the greatest hip-hop artist of all time, if not the greatest artist of all time.