I am honored to present Blocland’s first Kanye West Content (I’m not spelling content with a “K” heathens).
Below is a playlist of 12 Kanye songs assembled by Raptor Jesus and Doris (ME) in album track order. I hope that makes sense. Drop a line in the comments if you can think of better phrasing.
Also included as a bonus is correspondence between me and RJ. We alternated songs. Your admin kicks it off.
01. Dark Fantasy
I considered “Ultralight Beam” for about a minute. It’s a great song and that Chance verse is out of this world but Dark Fantasy is Kanye’s greatest opener on his best album. Nicki remixing a Roald Dahl poem, “Can We Get Much Higher” choral arrangement and Kanye’s first line:
“I fantasized ’bout this back in Chicago”
This song checks all the boxes on a “hype” opener.
Also should we change the last 2 not to be tracks “11 or 12” but penultimate and closer track?
02. Black Skinhead
My impulse was “We Don’t Care” because it truly is the first Kanye West song. However, since that song does depend ever so slightly on the intro the precedes it, I’m choosing a true standalone single.
Like most people, Ben Affleck introduced me to “Black Skinhead” on SNL. It was Kanye’s first bit of new music post-MBDTF and he came out of the gates snarling with this Garry Glitter/Marilyn Manson mashup of a single.
Reading that my boy Jack Donoghue from SALEM was in the liner notes for this Yeezus stand out, I’m all in for “Black Skinhead” being the best single slot Kanye West song to date.
Kanye has been around and good for so long that his music has lined up with countless life milestones. He has pretty much been my soundtrack since high school. All of my choices will be based on personal attachment.
Released on July 31st 2007. This is the song that soundtracked my first apartment and soundtracked everyone else’s that lived in the complex. This song was everywhere.
One of Kanye’s best singles and samples. A young Doris had not heard of those Daft Punk boys before this song.
Almost went with “Power” here but the sample on “Stronger” is…stronger.
Also I don’t see how you could ever make “POWER” without already making “Stronger” first.
04. Gold Digger
This is a tough spot, as even “Famous” and “New Slaves” are well worth considering. My instincts pointed me to pick “All Falls Down” until I remembered the very end of that song has a little skit attached to the actual track (I SEE YOU LEARNING KENDRICK) that sets up “Spaceship” so THAT WON’T FLY for a sequencing nerd like myself.
Though “I Wonder” is probably my personal favorite, since “Stronger” comes right before, I feel it’s only right to give credit where it’s due and acknowledge what is arguably Kanye’s most known hit: his collaboration with the actor that played the lead role in a movie about Ray Charles.
Say what you will about this track, but no single person on the planet has ever forgotten Kanye’s prenuptial words of wisdom. Or did Kanye forget? Does he and Kim have a prenup? ‘Cuz it’s something that you need to have…
It has to be “Gold Digger.” Is “Jesus Walks” Kanye’s second most popular song?
05. All Of the Lights
Fergie couldn’t even bring down this beat. This is up there with Lord Knows on my list of favorite beats (I’m white).
I was tempted to pick Love Lockdown to give 808s some love but All of the Lights and MBDTF are too strong.
At this point I actually think “All of the Lights” has become his second most popular. That or “Slow Jamz”
I got the 808s love for track 6. “Love Lockdown” would definitely be the Track 5 runner-up, but for Track 6 I’m going to go over “Monster” AND “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” to give credit to my favorite 808s track and easily one of my favorite Kanye beats. I mean KANYE IS GENUINELY LAUGHING at the beginning of a song on an album that deals with his mother dying. How is any other song in his discography more successful at forcing a smile on the listener in the midst of a very serious album?
Overall, it’s in the same destined-to-be-singles boat as “Flashing Lights” by forcing itself into the collective conscious through sheer greatness.
You blew it here RJ. I would have accepted “Drive Slow” or “Spaceship” over the obvious best “Monster.” I guess we shouldn’t go to heavy with MBDTF tracks though.
“I’ve been working this grave shift and I ain’t made shit” is one of my favorite Kanye sing-a-longs.
“Drive Slow” showed Kanye had some verse power.
You shook me a bit with this one.
07. Barry Bonds
JK! I’m predicting a MBDTF run here so I’ll go with Blood on the Leaves.
07. Blood on the Leaves
No. I’m going with “So Appalled.”
07. So Appalled
Is this the track everyone thinks is boring? Obviously I don’t agree.
One of my favorite winter rap songs.
I love both “Spaceship” and “Drive Slow” so much, the latter actually being a Top 3 song I return to Late Registration to hear. Paul Wall represent!
But honestly, shade thrown right back at you for not even mentioning “Jesus Walks” in the Track 7 GOD slot. (If the Devil is 6 then God is 7). How dare you, especially considering what is LITERALLY THE ONLY TRACK 8 CHOICE:
08. Devil In A New Dress
Also just one of my favorite Kanye songs ever. Worth mentioning it’s THE ONLY beat on MBDTF that Kanye is not credited as being one of the main producers. That beat is simply heaven.
“I ordered the jerk, she said you are what you eat. You see I always loved that sense of humor but tonight you should’ve seen how quiet the room was.”
Also the fact this song was initially released as a G.O.O.D. Friday freebie blows my mind.
I felt kinda bad but “Jesus Walks” has suffered from being over played.
Any song could be in the 8th slot and it would lose to “Devil.”
Track 9’s aren’t Kanye’s best but this song is a classic and would have beat any song not from MBDTF.
I’m still not sure anything will ever sound like this again. Do I really have to do much to justify this pick?
For me “Flashing Lights” was the first Track 9 fire Kanye ever laid to tape. It’s a bonafide classic, but “Runaway” is “Runaway” so there you go.
As tempted as I am to stay on the MBDTF train… especially considering “Hell of a Life” is one of my most personal favorites in Ye’s discography…
However it ended up landing in the Track 10 slot on TLOP will forever confound me, but there it is and here we go.
To think it was Chance that even got this song on the album in the first place. The fact Kanye thought he could release his new album WITHOUT it causes my head to hurt. How we managed to feel SO GOOD listening to Chris Brown in 2016 may be the biggest enigma. Nevertheless, “Waves” made waves and is an instant Kanye legendary track.
I won’t admit to liking Chris Brown. You are brave.
I wanted to go with a track 11 (The Glory) but I’m basic.
11. Lost in the World
Kanye’s best penultimate track. Is Kanye low key below average on penultimate?
Lost in the World (the strongest Bon Iver feature in Kanye’s discography) is Kanye’s love song to app developer Kim Kardashian. Wether or not you love Kanye you respect Kim. A love song that gets me “hyped.”
MBDTF is really this good.
Kanye West is incredibly below average on penultimate slots. That’s why I’ve been so salty since “Real Friends” came SO CLOSE to being HIS BEST PENULTIMATE song by a landslide.
“Family Business” is the only other penultimate that comes close, but “Lost in the World” is textbook “the penultimate is the official last song because the last song is an outro.”
So for the best Kanye West album finisher?
The answer is “Gone” every time.
No words needed to explain, so I’ll tell a fun Oklahoma story in honor of the, “move to Oklahoma and just live at my aunt’s house,” line.
Had an older gentlemen I worked with at my first news station in Oklahoma City. It was right after “Yeezus” came out and he was asking me what I thought. I said I liked it well enough and him, being slightly older, more bloc’s demographic, said he thought Kanye lost his damn mind. The conversation shifted to how HE KNEW Donda West when she was growing up in OKC. He said EVERYBODY wanted to get with Donda. She was the hottest gal in the city. According to my friend, she only had eyes for Kanye’s daddy. Six years earlier at the same station, a friend of mine and I had to convince our news director that covering Donda’s funeral was in fact local news. I bet she felt like an idiot when she saw everyone that came in town for the funeral. Probably why she quit. Definitely why she quit.
BONUS: Fun thing about “Gone” is that the template of the primary artist having the opening verse, then two rappers you have deep respect for go second and third, then the main artist jumps back in to close the song is a great rap template. Remember when Killer Mike did it on “Big Beast” with Bun B & T.I. to open “R.A.P. Music” ? It’s a potent combo.
Either way, the answer is still “Gone” and nothing, I mean NOTHING, comes close in the final song slot for Kanye albums.