Making Kanye’s Greatest Hits

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Kanye West: Louis Vuitton Don, Yeezus, and now the proud leader of the Jesus Gang. Now, there’s no reason to beat around the bush and be redundant but instead, torch it. I’m not the first nor the last person to say he is one of the most influential and talented artists in the music of the last 20 years. That statement alone is an understatement that doesn’t even do justice to Kanye’s career. A discography that, along with OutKast and the Beastie Boys, is diverse in quality and nor album is the same as one another while also being critically beloved. Whom some consider being some of the best albums of all time in popular music, that change the face and expectation of what hip hop can be or should be. Reinvention is essentially Kanye’s middle name, paving the way for many artists to bring forth individuality and highlighting that’s no handbook on how to make the art you want. Setting the stepping stones of future artists to come such as Tyler, the Creator, Drake, Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi, the list goes on. But again why repeats what’s been said countless times at this point….even though I just technically did. I digress, what all that being said, it’s safe to Kanye has had a reverting, transcending, and controversial career, and with his debut album “The College Dropout” being 17 years old and now that’s done with secular music. Kanye’s has gotten to the milestone of any artist career, the “Greatest Hits” or “Best Of”.

While yes anyone could make a best-of album after 2 albums…hell there are people that have them, even though, they had only one big single (for courtesy I won’t name any names), but a best-of album is something that should be a bit more of an appreciated in some cases. It’s the album of your finest career moments, your time in the studio putting blood, sweat, tears, and hand cramps from writing and recording, wasn’t for nothing as your legacy is extended for die-hard fans of your albums and newcomers not sure where to start with your catalog (e.g. The Beatles “1” and Bob Marey and the Wailers “Legend”). However, with Kanye, it’s a different territory. With a dedicated (and often toxic) fanbase, it won’t be easy to a make solid best-of album that’ll be unanimously accepted without some critique. Which, hey it’s understandable, with a catalog like Kanye and the subjectivity of music, it may feel like you will miss a song or a song was snubbed from being on it. It’s to the point, where you might as well re-release his discography in a box-set labeled as “Kanye’s Greatest Hits”. I say that because I’ve seen some “Best of Kanye West” compilations that were his full albums minus the skits. So what would a Kanye compilation be, how long would it be? It’s a challenge, I’m willing to take a crack at it. After looking at several playlist and being a fan myself, I tried to make a definitive “Best of Kanye West” album.

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-Discs 1 & 2

1.Through the Wire

2.Slow Jamz

3. All Falls Down

4. Jesus Walks

5. Diamonds from Sierra Leone

6. Gold Digger

7. “Heard ’Em Say

8. “Touch the Sky

9. “Can’t Tell Me Nothing

10. “Stronger

11. “Good Life

12. “Flashing Lights

13. “Homecoming

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1. Love Lockdown

2. “Heartless

3.” Amazing

4. “Paranoid

5. Power

6. “Runaway

7.” Monster

8.” All of the Lights

9. Niggas in Paris

10. “Mercy

11. “Bound 2

12. “Famous

13. Ghost Town

14. Reborn

Now when I came to figuring out the layout for this, I came to one conclusion: a single disc or album wouldn’t do justice. It would undersell him overall. 4 disc set would be the most appropriate. Disc 1 and 2 are primarily his commercial singles with some exemptions of New Workout Plan, Drive Slow, and a few others. Being more straight forward and gets right to his commercial hits in more chronological to highlight his musical evolution. From his first single “Through the Wire” the track that started it all, building up to his final secular work with Kid Cudi with Kids See Ghosts track “Reborn”. I feel these first two-disc help paint the picture of his musical evolution while also giving people re-introducing them to Kanye songs that might have heard in passing or couldn’t escape during the time of their release.

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-Disc 3

1. Good Morning

2. Gorgeous

3. Hey Mama

4. Spaceship

5. Roses

6. Street Lights

7. Devil In A New Dress

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8. We Major

9. Everything I Am

10. Ghost Town

11. I Wonder

12. Blood On the Leaves

13. Dark Fantasy

14. Gone

15. Family Business

16. Saint Pablo

17. Last Call

Disc 3 was more challenging, it‘s the B-Sides disc. I feel a “best of” Kanye consisting of just the singles will cause a stir among fans. So, a disc filled with album cuts and B-Sides would be fitting, since Kanye is an album artist than the singles artist. The deep-cuts of Kanye are the true essence of Kanye’s music and personality (if that’s possible). I couldn’t go overboard with the tracklist and put every damn song, limited to at most songs per album and after weeding out some songs, I came to the conclusion of songs for the B-Sides. Each song helps showcase his songwriting skill while harnessing his lyrical abilities. Searching each album, was a task, however: The College Dropout felt easier to pick, while overall a great album, it was far easier to pick the shining moments compared to the rest of his discography that was stronger songwriting wise and for Kanye as a rapper. Tracks that were Up for consideration by album:

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-Late Registration

1.Addiction

2. Celebration

3. Late

-Graduation

1. The Glory

2. Big Brother

-808s & Heartbreaks

1. Robocop

-My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

1. So Appalled

2. Blame Game

-Yeezus

1. Hold My Liquor

-The Life Of Pablo

1. No More Parties in L.A.

2. Real Friends

-Ye

1. Yikes

-Kids See Ghosts

1. Kids See Ghost (Title Track)

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Disc 4

1. Izzo (Hova)

2. The Truth by Beanie Sigel

3. Stand Up By Ludacris

4. Overnight Celebrity by Twista

5. You Don’t Know My Name By Alicia Keys

6. Comfortable by Lil Wayne

7. Encore by Jay-z

8. GO! By Common

9. Get By by Talib Kweli

10. Heart of the City by Jay-Z

11. Down And Out by Cam’Ron

12. Make Her Say by Kid Cudi

13. Jukebox Joints by ASAP Rocky

14. Swagga Like Us by T.I.

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The final disc in his compilation consists of tracks he produced throughout his career. While yes, of course, there will have to be negotiated with the accompanying labels involved to have them on the compilation. If it were to ever happen, I believe these tracks help show Kanye’s production growth from chopping up samples to make the signature sound of Roc-A-Fella, “Chipmunk Soul” to him flipping the same beat twice for two different songs for two different artists (Comfortable and You Don’t Know My Name), we witness the essence of Kanye’s production with this disc. Being the final ride of the journey that is Kanye West’s music career, full of twists and turns and autotune.

While we’re not sure when or if we’ll ever get a compilation from Kanye. Knowing how Kanye is with his album release dates, a compilation of what can be considered his best, and what should essentially be the starter pack to introduce newcomers to his music, it may be a while before we get the announcement. Adding to the fact, he doesn’t involve himself with secular music anymore so there’s a chance he could just re-record his singles and make them a Christian rap version of his greatest hits. One thing for certain, not too many people will put Lift Yourself on there (or I wonder….pun intended).

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