I’ve listened to all of these songs hundreds of times, each one being used to reference a certain point in my life. Unlike some of the newer artists Drake, Cudi, Big Sean, as fans we’ve been able to all grow up listening to Ye so the amount of songs we have to choose from is much larger than some of these newer artists, making my job to compile a list of the top 25, that much harder.
With Kanye still dropping new music frequently this list is sure to change, but for now I’ve compiled a list from various sources through the internet to make one Kanye playlist that is sure to satisfy most Kanye fans and a list you can share with people who’ve just began listening to Kanye.
25) Last Call (Extended)
This track that starts out list is from Kanye West’s The College Dropout and was the final track on the album, where Kanye tells his story from being just a producer to transitioning into becoming a rapper and being part of Jay-Z’s Rocafella Records.
24) Niggas in Paris
NIP is one of the newer tracks I’ve put on the list, mainly because it’s been able to stay fresh after being out for more than a year. It’s still being played on the radio daily, being used for NBA intros, and played in clubs regularly a year later. This song (and other that didn’t make our list) has made Watch The Throne a success and made the word “Cray” a viral sensation and a word used regularly by my sisters who don’t listen to rap.
This was the top track to come off of Kanye’s Graduation, and was one of the top tracks in 2007 when it was released. Some may argue it’s not one of Kanye’s best rap songs, however this song did damage on the charts and still is in most people’s workout playlists.
22) Two Words
Arguably one of Kanye’s best ‘rap’ songs of all time which is off of his debut album The College Dropout. This track features Mos Def and Freeway and is well respected by most hip-hop heads. As an emcee, this is probably Kanye at his best, and not only Kanye at his best but Mos Def as well, the amount of times I listened to this song is probably higher than any other song on The College Dropout.
Obviously the 808s era was a love/hate thing for a lot of Kanye fans, myself I loved it, my friends, not so much. This was the second single off the album and took the radio by storm. The track is one of the best selling singles of all-time and sold 5.5 million digital copies in 2009.
To me, this track is perfect. If this list were compiled completely from how I felt about Kanye, this would be top 10. The track has beautiful production and speaks about the problems with America and how that makes the country “Gorgeous”. Kid Cudi on the hook doesn’t hurt either.
19) Street Lights
My personal favorite off of 808s & Heartbreak. A very emotion-based track off of a very emotional album. From RapGenius “Kanye iterates the repetitiveness of life and its petty affairs, and even the monotony of time and destiny itself.”
Most Kanye fans agree this track deserves a spot in the top 25. Kanye teams up with GLC and Consequence to rap about the problems with being a young black man working in the ghettos of Chicago.
17) No Church in the Wild
Another track that made our list off Watch The Throne. Besides NIP this track is probably the most memorable for most from the album, the track features Frank Ocean on the vocals and really helped put him on the map. This song managed to give me chills on first listen, video was well done, and the this track and the video to me really emphasized Kanye’s growth over the years. Thinking he went from songs/videos like The New Workout Plan to something like this is just crazy to think about.
16) Can’t Tell Me Nothing
The Hangover. Well, that’s most peoples first thoughts when they hear this track. Although Stronger managed to sell more, this song was a ‘hidden’ gem per say (even thought it was a single, just overshadowed a bit) on Kanye’s Graduation album and lands a spot at 16.
15) Drive Slow
Classic Kanye, listening to this again reminds me of the first time I listened to Late Registration. GLC and Paul Wall are featured on this track, this song is probably one of Kanye’s more underrated songs and deserves a spot in our top 25.
14) Heard Em’ say
Adam Levine and Kanye teamed up for this track when they were both getting off the ground. This track really helped put Kanye on the map and gave him mainstream appeal/value and definitely deserves a top 15 spot.
13) Family Business
Another song that gave me chills on first listen, and still does. It’s funny, a lot of the fans that caught on to Kanye late would hear this and think, damn I missed this? Yeah, you did. This is one of my favorite tracks ever and makes a lot of the people that hate Kanye, open up their minds and think, well maybe he’s not too bad. Great track!
12) Power / Power (Remix)
The first single off of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and quite possibly the most memorable. Used in various movies and video games including Saints Row, and most notably the Social Network. After being called a jackass by the president and having his various TV interview go wrong Kanye comes back with lines like “I don’t need yo pussy, bitch, I’m on my own dick/ I ain’t gotta power trip, who you goin’ home with?” and tells his critics, well, fuck em.
11) Gold Digger
Let the Kim jokes begin. But seriously, this is one of Kanye’s most famous tracks rightfully so. Kanye is able to talk about relationships in a funmy/quirky and surprising way. Track was a huge hit and was super catchy, and was loved by both women and men and killed it on the charts.
10) Touch the Sky
Now that were in the top ten, we can start here. This song was the fourth single off his second album, Late Registration, and featured Lupe Fiasco who just has a ridiculous verse that put him on the map.
9) Through the Wire
October 23, 2002 Kanye crashed his car and fractured his jaw. He recorded “Through the Wire” while recovering with his jaw wired shut.
8) Flashing Lights
Kanye raps about an ex girlfriend he can’t stop thinking obsessing about. Flashing Lights received positive reviews and was widely regarded as the best song on Graduation.
7) Diamonds from the Sierra Leone / Diamonds Remix
Both this remix and the original were singles from Kanye’s Late Registration album. Never forget the summer these tracks dropped. Classic Ye.
6) All of the Lights
An epic track with excellent production quality. The beat is excellent, the orchestral instruments are perfect and the use of the keyboards puts the listener in an anticipatory mood ready to hear whats next.
Gone? Gone (in my opinion) is Kanye West’s most underrated track. This was the closing track off 2005’s Late Registration and the final verse in this (arguably his best ever) is perfect. I’ll never forget first hearing this and wondering why it wasn’t more popular.
4) Jesus Walks
Within the music community, this track changed the game. I usually dub it myself as the song that actually went there, it may even be that song that began to make people view Kanye as controversial. Christianity? Police beating people up? It’s all mentioned in this Kanye West classic, Jesus Walks is without question a top 5 Kanye track.
3) Hey Mama
Kanye made this track for his mother Donda West who died due to complications from cosmetic surgery on November 10, 2007. This track is off his second studio album Late Registration. I’ll never forget Kanye breaking down into tears while attempting to perform the song at the Grammys.
2) All Falls Down
Still one of the best songs Kanye has made. A lot of nostalgia when people hear this track, it’s crazy to think this track was released in 2003, looking back it doesn’t even feel that long ago. Watching this video while making this list has made me realize just how much Kanye has evolved.
From Pitchfork: Kanye finally shows some of the self-awareness that comes with time: “I just blame everything on you/ At least that’s what I’m good at.” That endlessly requoteable chorus (alas, edited on the official stream) has legs, and Kanye’s arrangement locates a warmth he’s been missing lately. Lonely piano plinks gradually find company amid string whooshes and beautifully melodic puddles of bass. And after new buddy Pusha T gets done his gentle snarl of a guest verse, Kanye returns with the sort of heartbroken, resigned singsong, finally ripping away from the bravado he shows so well.”