Jan 25, 2012
Does any rapper – nay, musician – nay, person – in the world garner as many opinions as Kanye West?
The answer: Only the President, Kim Kardashian and, of course, Tim Tebow.
The reason: He's put together a string of this millennium's most beloved (and best-selling) albums, he has a penchant for drinking one too many on nationally televised award shows and, at the end of the day, god-dammit he's killin' this shit.
So when One Week One Band tried its hand at ranking West's top 10 songs, we naturally had to respond with rankings of our own.
A few details, then straight into the list: Only songs from Kanye's five studio albums were eligible – so no non-album remixes, freestyles, Watch the Throne cuts or G.O.O.D. Friday freebies. Four of us participated (Big O, Crystal, mrbucky and Trey), each submitting a top 10, with #1 being worth 10 points, #2 worth nine, etc. To prevent outliers from making too big a dent in out aggregate list, songs that made two lists got an extra point, and songs that made three lists got two extra points.
Amazingly, not a single song made all four lists. And our top 10 actually has 11 songs, since there was a tie for number 10.
1. Diamonds from Sierra Leone Remix (27 points, made 3 lists): Though the original version seems to be a missed opportunity to shine light on the issue of blood diamonds, the remix certainly makes up for it. Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds Are Forever” swirls into a pulse-quickening beat, resulting in a majestically haunting sound that captures the very essence of Ye’s lyrics: I thought my Jesus piece was so harmless til I seen a picture of shorty armless. -Crystal
2. Gold Digger (24, 3): I realize that the over-played-ness of this infectious track diminishes its cool in some folks' eyes, but if you aren't smirking when this track plays... then your soul is as dark as Old Scratch himself. -mrbucky
3. Power (21, 3): It's like Snap looked into the future and knew the most important musician of 2010 would catapult its concept to a whole other level. -Trey
4. Lost in the World (18, 2): Auto-tuned Bon Iver + an urgent techno track + a Kanye flow that includes Michael Jackson scat should by all means be a mess. Instead we get an insanely emotional and powerful cut that represents living in our oft-confusing modern times. -mrbucky
5. Touch the Sky (17, 2): The moment that uplifting brass hits, a big smile creeps across my face. No one can resist a Curtis Mayfield sample. Produced by Just Blaze, Ye compliments the cheerful beat with equally cheerful lyrics. “Touch the Sky” is a fitting title for this feel-good song. -Crystal
6. Flashing Lights (14, 2): The rise of symphonic strings with hypnotic bass and synth claps results in a head-bobbing favorite that begs to be played over and over. Combine that with lyrics about a fame-hungry lady and a music video featuring the curvaceous Rita G murking Ye in the trunk with a shovel?! Perfect. -Crystal
7. All Falls Down (11, 3): What rapper hasn't lamented female materialism on wax? But how many are willing to look in the mirror without stepping off the soapbox? Also: I bet Lauryn Hill wishes she had cleared that sample. -Trey
(tie) 7. Jesus Walks (11, 2): While most modern name-checkin'-the-big-JC songs fall into the Stryper category, KW manages to make this militant confessional-esque song, well... incredibly cool. We should also note just how much balls it took to release such a non-secular hip-hop track when this came out. -mrbucky
(tie) 7. Spaceship (11, 2): Straight flipping the slavery angle on some robotic George Jetson shit. Haunting use of some dixieland shit. -Big O
10. Good Life (10, 1): Relax your mind and let your conscious be free. Erick Sermon said it, but Yeezy and T-Pain epitomized it on this baller anthem. Kinda makes you wonder if the people complaining about Watch the Throne's occasional excess had ever listened to Kanye before. -Trey
(tie) 10. Get 'Em High (10, 1): Ye invited Common and Talib Kweli on this track and still shined brightest. This is where he arrives lyrically IMHO. -Big O
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