The epitome of “wildin’ out,” Kanye West surely hasn’t released the spotlight since the drop of “Yeezus,” his sixth studio album. Whether it’s asserting his place on an altar in “I Am God” or ranting on Twitter over a Jimmy Kimmel parody, West has challenged his fans’ loyalty. Some are put off by the bizarre Chicago-trap filled “Yeezus,” others by his tirade during a BBC Radio interview. The evidence mounts against West, but the following five songs prove you cannot question the extent of his mastery. If you are one of the lucky few to be witnessing the “Lebron of rhyme” perform this weekend at the Staples Center, don’t expect to hear any of the songs below. There are plenty of great lost Ye beats, but hopefully these will expel any distaste for the Chicago-born musical genius.
These are the greatest songs lost in between radio hits and stadium anthems.
“Two Words” - The College Dropout
Why people aren’t more familiar with this song is mind boggling to me. “Two Words” is a smooth aggressor. Beating listeners with short and quick bar lengths, Mos Def, Ye, and Freeway make it impossible not to bob your head. The Boys Choir of Harlem masks dirty, brisk lines. West beats his chest in “Most imitated, Grammy nominated/Hotel accommodated, cheerleader prom-dated/Barbershop playa-hated, mom-and-pop bootlegged-ed.” The hostile verses, combined with violins and harmonious crooning, reveal West’s brilliance in front of the mic and behind the producer console.
“Gone” - Late Registration
Once the track starts, you know West got it right. Nothing solidifies a great song like the perfect use of an Otis Redding sample. West’s opening verse is intentionally silly, and is overshadowed by a fluid Consequence verse. However, West doesn’t throw in the towel that quickly. The beat’s evolution throughout the song is remarkable. An entire orchestra huddles around a rampant closing verse that builds and falls with every drop of Ye’s lyrical hammer. The crescendo is unforgettable.
“Gorgeous” - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
West captures the black man’s plight in between Kid Cudi’s dreary hook. Focused, he spits “Is hip hop just a euphemism for a new religion?/The soul music for the slaves that the youth is missing.” This is by far the most lyrically sound Kanye track ever. Ye’s wordplay only sharpens his rich social commentary.
“The Joy” - Watch the Throne
Besides Watch the Throne being one of the greatest hip-hop albums in history, West also delivers his greatest verse of all time on this track. Melted in with a Curtis Mayfield hook, which deserves its own applause, West calmly comments, as if he doesn’t realize the gold which left his mouth, “This beat deserves Hennessey, a bad bitch/And a bag of weed; the Holy Trinity.” This last track is a soulful step back from a loud and stirring album.
“New God Flow.1″ - Good Music Cruel Summer
Nothing can possibly go wrong when you recruit Pusha T and Ghostface Killah on a track that samples Ghost’s own work, especially when West is the composer. Piano chords and a steady drum beat elusively connect most of the verses and hooks. But for a few seconds, when the snare hits turn into bass booms and the piano keys retreat, West delivers one of my favorite lines. He preaches, “Did Moses not part the water with the cane?/Did strippers not make an ark when I made it rain?” Woah.