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Best Songs by Kanye West

By Edited Sep 2, 2016 1 0

Love him or hate him, Kanye West is America’s favorite asshole. His mannerisms and opinions have landed him in trouble many times and probably will again. Starting off as a relatively unknown producer in the late 90’s and early 2000s, Kanye West has since evolved into a musical and cultural rap icon.

Originally most famous for his distinctive pitched-up vocal samples from soul songs, subsequent productions have seen him broadening his musical palette and expressing influences encompassing arena rock, alternative, electronica, synthpop, and even classical music. Kanye is pushing the creative artistic envelope and constantly raising the bar for all the other hip-hop artists lagging behind.

Kanye West Best Songs: Big Head(92332)

Although it’s a difficult job to rate his best songs, here are some of our favorite tracks (from earliest to most recent).

Through the Wire

The College Dropout

'Through the Wire' borrows a chorus from Chaka Khan and a plotline from real life: in October 2002 West came close to dying in a car accident. With his jaw still wired shut he recorded the mush-mouthed lyrics, "My dogs couldn't tell if I / Would look like Tom Cruise in Vanilla Sky" he slurs, slipping into character as a wounded hero beating the odds. For about a year this song circulated on West's mixtapes and other unofficial releases before being released as the lead single from his debut album 'College Dropout' in 2003.

Never Let Me Down

The College Dropout

Featuring Jay-z and J-Ivy, this song is blended to perfection with ‘Jesus Walks’ on the album. His near-death car crash also supplied the motivation for this song and includes the following line "but, I can’t complain what the accident did to my left eye / cuz look what a accident did to Left Eye / first Aaliyah now Romeo must die? / I know I got angels watchin me from the other side". The music and chorus is all perfected with timely breaks and break-downs, and just when the song sounds like its ending, it drops another verse. 

Coming Home

Freshmen Adjustment

Not to be confused with 'Homecoming', the version with Chris Martin that eventually wound up on ‘Graduation’. This songs soulfulness and rawness puts it in a league of its own, definitely making it one of his best songs to date. First appearing on the mixtape ‘Freshmen Adjustment’, 'Coming Home' sports a different beat and a soulful vocal contribution from John Legend.

Diamonds from Sierra Leone

Late Registration

This Grammy-award winning song contains a sample of the theme song for the 1971 James Bond film, 'Diamonds Are Forever' as performed by Shirley Bassey. The music video features visuals of young African children toiling away in mines under the careful watch of their wardens. The images are juxtaposed with scenes of wealthy Westerners shopping in boutiques and trying on jewelry. 'Diamonds from Sierra Leone' remains a crowd favorite and is one of West's most performed songs. 

Can't Tell Me Nothing


Though 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' didn't impact pop radio as significantly as the subsequent singles on ‘Graduation’, it was still a massive, certified street anthem. The wonderful metaphor in the chorus can be chanted by pretty much anybody as it has such a universal meaning to all of its listeners…everybody's had that feeling of being told they can't do something. Fittingly, the clanging percussion on the song gives off a hardworking, hammering mood.



Kanye has always been known for pushing limits and boundaries in his genre of music. This song couples thought-provoking lyrics with a hypnotic beat containing a vocal sample of 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger' by French house duo Daft Punk. It was voted by fitness enthusiasts at the Golds Gym's competition as the best fitness workout song of all time and can still be heard frequently being played in health clubs all over the country.

Flashing Lights


Flashing Lights is a beautiful piece of music with a glitzy, graceful sound and a futuristic feel that grows more intriguing with every listen. It was created in collaboration with Dwele, whose beautiful and enchanting voice along with Kanye’s hard-hitting lyrics certainly make this song one of his best.


My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Runaway' kicks off with a single tap of a piano key, kicking off what we think is one of the most epic, jaw-dropping, honest and thrilling pieces of pop music in recent years.

The music video is an excerpt of a 35-minute short art-film of the same name directed by West. It shows him performing the song at a dinner party with a piano while ballerinas perform an interpretive dance. The project was inspired by other music-related films such as Purple Rain and painters such as Picasso and Matisse. Its interesting imagery and heavily saturated color palate produces something that you can’t help thinking about long after you’ve seen it.

Hell of a Life

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Powered by a sinister guitar, this pornstar-love tale finds Kanye mimicking the lead melody and guitar riff from Sabbath’s Iron Man. Inspired by his two-year relationship with salacious model Amber Rose, it’s an impressive reminder of just how much of an artistic leap he’s taken since his ‘College Dropout’ days. 

Don't agree with our list? Missed out your favorite song? Let us know your thoughts.



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