Why Kanye West is Dope

Max Gruber, Photo Editor

Kanye West is easily the most controversial artist in music today. From his award show antics to his outspoken twitter account, it’s tough to be apathetic about Kanye. Outside of his public persona, however, Kanye West is a musician with an increasingly large body of work. With the recent controversies and the release of his eighth album, The Life of Pablo, many who are unfamiliar with Mr. West’s music will ask: “Is Kanye a musical genius?”.

Kanye West’s musical talent initially manifested itself in the form of production. In fact, most of Kanye’s early success was spent working on Jay Z’s hit record, The Blueprint. Later, Kanye began his solo career with his critically acclaimed debut album, The College Dropout. His early music was characterized by the use of soulful samples which became the skeleton of many of his hits over the years. What Kanye lacks technically as an MC he often makes up in his comedic lyrics and a variety of socially important songs with topics ranging from religion’s place in music to the conflict diamonds. While Kanye has seen a lot of success with this sound (as evidenced by his ten grammy wins in just three albums), he did a 180 with his sound on the 2008 album, 808s and Heartbreak. While not his most critically acclaimed album, 808s and Heartbreak was wildly influential, especially in the development of the popular, introspective Hip Hop developing during the late 2000s with artists such as Drake and the Weeknd. 808s saw a moody, heartbroken Kanye harmonizing beneath autotune and the titular Roland TR-808 drum machine. In both sound and tone, Kanye forever changed Hip Hop. In many ways 808s serves as a spiritual guide for hit albums such as Drake’s Take Care or the entirety of the Weeknd’s discography. Even trap artists such as Future would not have the same artistic image (moody and narcotic) if not for Kanye West.

With 21 Grammy wins (the sixth most of any male artist) and several platinum albums, Kanye West has become a household name among music listeners of all backgrounds. A diverse range of sounds define Kanye’s repertoire and have pushed the genre of Hip Hop forward. Is Kanye West a musical genius? Yes, yes he is.

note: while the videos below have been edited to be school appropriate, for the full Kanye West experience I encourage you to experience his uncensored music