With the release of “Yeezus” the Chocolate Puma has been thinking as an unabashed Kanye fan who has loved every album, what is my favorite Kanye song? So I began to sit and ponder. And what I have come up with is my completely original top ten list of all songs from the College Dropout to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Enjoy and let me know your list.
10. Hey Mama: Late Registration
As a man who was raised by a single mother this sentimental piece from the Louis Vuitton Don always struck a chord with me. Honest and surprisingly affectionate, Kanye puts his love for his mother on front street and made a hip hop anthem for the mothers.
“Can't you see, you're like a book of poetry/ Maya Angelou, Nicky Giovanni, turn one page and there's my mommy.”
9. Homecoming: Graduation
The original version with John Legend on the hook may be my favorite variation but I won’t nit pick. If you have a connection with a place this song will particularly resonate with you. Done in the same vein as “I Used to Love H.E.R” by Common Kanye humanizes the city and writes a beautiful ode to the city of wind,
“And when I grew up, she showed me how to go downtown/ And at nighttime my face lit up, so astoundin' /And I told her in my heart is where she always be”
8. Lost in The World: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Sampling Bon Iver’s “Woods” this track is lush and grand in every way from the tribal drums in the background to the very long sample of my favorite Gil Scot Heron piece “Comment No. 1”this song is just a smorgasbord of all thing the Chocolate Puma loves.
“You're my devil, you're my angel/You're my heaven, you're my hell/You're my now, you're my forever
You're my freedom, you're my jail/You're my lies, you're my truth/You're my war, you're my truce
You're my questions, you're my proof/You're my stress and you're my masseuse”
7. Last Call: College Dropout
As someone who loves to say I told you so this is an anthem of sorts. Yeezy goes into painstaking detail of his rise from ghost producing to one of the biggest acts in the world.
“Some say he arrogant. Can y'all blame him?/ It was straight embarrassing how y'all played him”
“I went to the malls and I balled too hard/ 'Oh my god, is that a Black Card?'/I turned around and replied, why yes but I prefer the term African American Express”
6. Runaway: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
West waxes poetic about failed relationships and his part in causing the break up. He also seemingly comes to term with being as the President referred to him, as a jackass. The repetitive piano riff is a nice touch and a great verse from Pusha T puts it over the top for me.
“Let's have a toast for the douchebags/Let's have a toast for the assholes,/ Let's have a toast for the scumbags, / Every one of them that I know /Let's have a toast for the jerkoffs /That'll never take work off/ Baby, I got a plan/ Run away fast as you can”
5. Heartless: 808s and Heartbreak
808s gets a lot of grief because it was a departure from his signature style, I however loved it as it was a risk but I think that this album led to the end of auto tune as this is in my opinion the best auto tune song of all time. That’s right all-time. Telling a tale of heartbreak, this is the soundtrack to a time that I am sure everyone can relate to.
In the night I hear 'em talk, the coldest story ever told/
Somewhere far along this road he lost his soul
To a woman so heartless.
4. Roses: Late Registration
Telling the tale of the impending death of his grandmother while dealing with newfound fame and an adoring public that does not respect boundaries at all times over a sample of “Rosie” by Bill Withers you can feel the pain.
“To get there we run, we fly, we drive/Coz with my family we know where home is/ So instead of sending flowers./ We the roses...”
3. Diamonds from Sierra Leone: Late Registration
With a sample from Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are Forever” West and composer Jon Brion concoct a instrumental strong enough to hang with the very heavy topic of blood diamonds, A refreshing bit of social consciousness from a an admittedly materialistic artist.
“Good morning, this ain't Vietnam/still People lose hands, legs, arms for real/ Little was known of Sierra Leone/And how it connect to the diamonds we own”
2. Get Em High: College Dropout
Simple math formula for the Chocolate Puma: Kanye + Talib Kweli+ Common= A happy Puma. High energy beat, dyslexic flow from Common and gems of lines from Kanye that still to this day makes me chuckle is why this is definitely one of my favorite.
“You see I'm so Chi that you thought it was bashful/But this bastard's flow will bash a skull”
1. All Falls Down: College Dropout
Starting with the lovely voice of Syleena Johnson he weaves tales of self consciousness and materialism seamlessly from a fictional woman to himself. And bonus this video featured the greatest cameo in a video ever, Stacey Dash! Ask any guy aged 16-21 when that video was released, they’ll agree.
“We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us/ We trying to buy back our 40 acres
And for that paper, look how low we’ll stoop/ Even if you in a Benz, you still a nigga in a coupe”
Well there you go folks, my top ten. Let me know yours. And if you don’t like this I don’t know what to say to you.