Kanye West is a controversial figure. However, there can be no doubt about his musical talent. So far, Kanye West has released more than ten albums, which include some very well-known songs that have more than managed to earn their fame.
10. Gold Digger
There were a lot of people who guessed that West came up with “Gold Digger” after watching Jamie Foxx in Ray. After all, it boasts guest vocals from Foxx. Moreover, it is built on a sample of Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman.” Regardless, “Gold Digger” was a huge success, with the result that it is still considered one of the best songs to come out of the 2000s.
As the story goes, “Stronger” is a product of West venting about his past mistakes. However, the overwhelming majority of such examples won’t sound this good. For that matter, it is interesting to note that “Stronger” also references one of Friedrich Nietzsche’s most famous sayings, which would be the one about emerging stronger than ever out of challenging circumstances. This song is by no means alone in this regard. After all, the sentiment of rising up against that which batters at us is something that all of us can sympathize with at one point or another.
8. Hold My Liquor
“Hold My Liquor” might be one of the more contested choices for this list. It was well-received by the critics. Unfortunately, “Hold My Liquor” didn’t do so well in a commercial success, which was particularly striking because it was released on Yeezus. An album that wasn’t exactly short on smash hits to say the least. In any case, the song isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of West’s music, which enables it to stand out that much more.
One can make the argument that “Monster” is more a team effort than anything else. After all, it features not just West but also Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and even Bon Iver, meaning that there were a lot of cooks for this particular broth. Regardless, “Monster” is a memorable song, though its video was banned from MTV because of its gory and otherwise disturbing imagery.
West’s music isn’t great in spite of his ego. Often-times, it is great because of his ego. For proof, consider “Power,” which is packed full of iconic themes such as his ego, his criticism of American culture, and his commentary upon his personal issues. One can examine each one of those things in detail. However, “Power” is also exactly what West described it to be, which is to say, “superhero theme music.” Thanks to that, it has seen use by many organizations in many contexts because of its incredible impact.
“Runaway” was always going to attract attention. For those who are unfamiliar, West seized the microphone from Taylor Swift when she was giving her acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards to say that Beyonce was more deserving. Something that resulted in enormous controversy at the time. As such, “Runaway” got a lot of attention when it debuted at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, serving as an act of self-reflection upon West’s part. It was a massive success, so much so that it was considered one of the best songs released in that year. Moreover, it has since managed to gain a reputation for being one of West’s best works.
4. Black Skinhead
“Black Skinhead” was never meant to become a single but winded up becoming a single anyways. To an extent, it is focused on the crumbling state of mind that belongs to the character featured in it. However, it also serves as a swipe against racism as well as against authority. After all, skinhead is a term packed full of meaning. It might have started out as a working class subculture in the United Kingdom, but ever since the split in the early 1980s, it has become associated with racist, far-right politics to a lot of people, which is rather unfair to the skinheads with other politics but is nonetheless what it is.
3. New Slaves
“New Slaves” isn’t one of the two singles released from Yeezus. However, it has nonetheless managed to make a formidable reputation for itself. Given the name, it should come as no surprise to learn that “New Slaves” comments upon sociopolitical issues. Supposedly, it is West’s reaction to finding out that there were still doors closed to him in the fashion industry in spite of his enormous success, which is interesting because it serves as a excellent reminder of the very real issues that it is commenting on.
2. Jesus Walks
“Jesus Walks” is one of the singles off of The College Dropout. As such, it came out in 2004, which was almost two decades ago. Despite this, “Jesus Walks” remains popular, so much so that it is one of West’s most-performed songs ever. Subject-wise, the song is pretty much exactly what one would expect based on its title, which is to say, an exultation in sung form. However, it is interesting to note that it also expresses West’s dissatisfaction at the treatment of songs about faith. Something that is connected to his struggles to get a record contract because such material wasn’t seen as marketable.
1. I Am a God
West has explained the meaning of “I Am a God” on more than one occasion. One excellent example would be the time that he claimed that it was meant for people who lacked confidence in themselves. Whatever the truth of those explanations, “I Am a God” receives the number one position for a couple of reasons. One, the sheer ego behind it makes it stand out from its counterparts. Two, “I Am a God,” is almost good enough to live up to its boast, which is no mean achievement.