When it comes to an artist as critically and commercially praised as Kanye West, there’s constant argument over the correct order in which to rank his albums. While many a music publication has attempted to do so, there really is no perfect order, as it all comes down to personal taste and emotion affiliated with the albums. No matter how practical or straightforward, every list trying to rank them has been met with criticism and sometimes downright animosity from fans who loft heavy praise to an album that didn’t even make the top 5. On the flip side, some seem appalled that one of which they consider a bottomfeeder somehow finessed its way to the top. Needless to say, it’s a debate that will seemingly live on as long as there’s music to rhyme over (which very well may end during Trump’s presidency).
In saying all of this, I’ve found it’s extremely rare to find someone who agrees, album by album, on the correct ranking. Be it through Twitter or your own dwindling social circle, the challenge of finding that Yeezy Life Partner is a daunting one. Maybe you’ve found somebody who also has Late Registration, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and The College Dropout in their coveted Top 3, but they just can’t seem to agree with The Life of Pablo coming in a close fourth. Maybe that guy you used to work with who you still follow on social media also thinks Watch the Throne was horribly underrated, but 808s and Heartbreak at Number One? Who does he think he is, Drake?!
Yes, finding that one special Yeezy Life Partner is a quest that continues on, maybe for you, but not for me. See, I was once so unlucky that I hadn’t yet found that special somebody. I had scoured the Twittersphere, trekking my way through the replies of blog after blog, hoping to see that Holy Grail of Connection. Never was I more discouraged.
Despite this, one day, I was sitting in Starbucks wearing my “Vote Yeezy 2020” sweatshirt when a boy, a few years younger than I, approached me.
“I like your sweatshirt, fam! I love Kanye!”
I scoffed, thinking to myself that this naive youngster must’ve only just jumped onto the Yeezy Train after Young Thug named a song after him.
“The orchestral production on MBDTF was such a sonic leap from the heartbroken synths of 808s“, he continued. “College Dropout is definitely a classic album, but Graduation just had a little bit more for me”. It now occured to me that he was well versed in Kanye’s discography, so I asked what he thought of The Life of Pablo.
“It’s got a lot of great high points, and it’s definitely an accurate depiction of his current disjointed state of mind resulting in his recent move into family life and fatherhood, but it doesn’t quite live up to his older work despite it returning to a more soulful sound”.
Ok, so this kid had a lot of the same views as me. I had to take one final bite and ask: How would you rank his albums?
And just like that, he spit them out, one after another in the exact same order as I would have. After so many debates, after so many Twitter replies, after so long, I’d found him: my Yeezy Life Partner. My mind was immediately filled with wonder and amazement as it sprinted through all the new possibilities of fulfillment with this new friend. And then…
I woke up…
As if finding a real life Yeezy Life Partner could be so simple. I should’ve known it was a dream. I’ve never even been inside a Starbucks. For now it seems I’m destined to a life of continued frustration and deliberation. It’s not a simple road, but one that need be traveled to find true happiness. I can only imagine the joy that comes with finding one’s Yeezy Life Partner. You should only be so lucky to have it be someone of the opposite sex, and if so, I implore you to marry them as soon as possible.
Though everyone has their own unique thoughts, much like Lloyd‘s “she’s five two” vs. “she’s fine too”, the correct ranking of Kanye’s albums will be an argument that will forever permeate the discussions of hip-hop heads. As long as you have a reasoning behind it, your own list is true to you, even if it’s just because one makes you want to dance more than another. Such a debate is meaningful fo the culture, and in that spirit, nobody can tell you you’re wrong.
But just so you know, the correct order is:
- The College Dropout
- Watch the Throne
- 808s and Heartbreak
- Late Registration
- The Life of Pablo
- Cruel Summer
Don’t @ me, unless we’re Yeezus Life Partners.