Kanye West is arguably one of the most talented musicians the world has seen today with a career that started in music production and then making a seamless transition into becoming an artist, we have decided to compile a list of the Best Kanye west songs.
With music accomplishments and achievements ranging from 21 Grammy awards, over 20 million records sold and production credits for major label artists, by no means is compiling the Best Kanye West songs an easy assignment, however, we have done our best to do so with valid reasons on our choices.
Whether you love or hate Kanye one thing you can’t deny is the impeccable body of work he has contributed to music and hip hop culture. The list below will include music from all his studio albums, singles and collaboration album with Jay-Z. Feel free to use this list as inspiration to add to your own playlists. Let’s get into it!
These are the Best Kanye West Songs
30) Follow God
Follow God marks an interesting point in the musical journey of Kanye West. Though Ye has always been open about his relationship with God we have seen much more of a tunnel vision focus to further spread that message.
The track is the first single from his latest album Jesus is King and is very self explanatory in terms of music direction.
The track allows Kanye to discuss his religious life and how he got to this point while also sharing a religious disagreement with his father.
Oh and its a dope track! That’s a good strategy to garner the attention of kids with low attention spans especially when the message is about God!
29) Good Morning
Good morning is told from the perspective of a student waking up on his day of graduation going on to receive his rapping degree.
The school/college theme stayed prevalent within his first 3 albums, College dropout, late registration and graduation which the song was featured on.
Aside from the school theme, Good Morning is also a metaphor for overcoming life’s adversity and coming out stronger. The track can be played each morning to help start your day.
28) Devil in a New Dress
Considered one of the highlight moments from the MBDTF album due to its soulful production and guest feature from Rick Ross, Kanye does a great job exploring the nature of lust all the while keeping in mind its religious implications as sinful.
What makes Kanye such a great artist is his ability to share his deepest thoughts and fantasies which is why devil in a new dress stands out as one of his best works.
One of the best things about the track is the featured guitar solo, composed by producer Bink who would set the stage for Rick Ross to finish off the song.
A term I like to call soulful rap which Rick Ross embodies effortlessly when placed on a soulful beat, take the Maybach Music Group songs for instance, these type of instrumentals fit his voice so well.
Ross also stated in an interview with MTV Kanye had to turn the album in on the day they recorded, and as they say, the rest is history.
The soulful feel-good anthem is enough to lift your spirits whatever your mood.
Champion is the sort of track you wish was longer; 2 minutes 47 seconds just don’t feel enough which is why it gets played over and over and over again!
A best Kanye West songs list typically is going to cover his biggest pop records, hip hop bangers and most impressive samples, however we can’t forget his soulful tracks and champion is the answer!
Stronger is a reminder to us all just how versatile Kanye West is as an artist. The type of musician that can’t be placed into a box because he creates tracks like this!
Confident enough to pull off the daft punk sample with the assistance of timberland on the drums, not to mention the 75 times it was mixed down, further showing his desire to produce quality music.
The recording of stronger set the tone for the entire graduation album and became one of his biggest singles to date.
Daft punk loved the track and said “our song had a good sound, but when the radio DJ put Kanye’s record on, the sound was really fat”
25) All of the Lights
The track all of the lights is a metaphor for the fame and celebrity life Kanye is a part of, all the while dealing with personal issues from family to relationship issues.
Though we may not all be able to relate to the fame and fortune side of things we all know what it’s like dealing with the pressures of life.
Kanye reminds us though he’s a celebrity he still faces everyday issues while maneuvering through the music industry.
What’s even more impressive is that the song features background vocals from 14 different artists such as Alicia Keys, John Legend, The-Dream, Drake and Elton John with each artist adding their own element to the track.
24) Diamonds from Sierra Leone
One of the most impressive things about the record is the sample for the track was taken from the James bond movie theme Diamonds are forever released in 1971.
Good music with a message, medicine in candy, head-bopping while provoking emotion! This is what the diamonds in Sierra Leone video piece is all about.
Kanye used the song’s video to showcase our desire for material wealth and the effects it has on western Africa and the illegal diamond trade. One thing we all know about Ye is that he will continuously speak his mind and this is a prime example.
23) Ni**as in Paris
Jay and Ye played the track 12 times in an attempt to break the world record for the most amount of times an artist has performed a particular song in a row
Want to know why?
This was due to the crowd’s thunderous reaction and applause each time it was performed, oh and because the songs that great!
22 ) Father Stretch my Hands Pt. 1
This Kanye piece is simply exciting.
What stands out most is the smooth intro build up which contains the Pastor T.L.Barrett sample. The sample first sets the tone off with a Gospel soulful feel which swiftly changes to more anticipation towards the drop.
The infamous metro boomin tag sets it off and its straight fire!
Another great thing about the track is that Kanye first played it during the Yezzy season 3 which allowed 18,000 supporters to listen to the album for the first time.
By far it was father stretch my hand which stood out most. This track is a moment! Play it and watch the crowd go crazy!
21) Slow Jamz
Slow Jamz hands down is definitely one of the best Kanye west songs as it’s
- Contains timeless quotables
- Jamie provides a dope hook
- Twista out raps himself!
As I’ve mentioned many times in this article once Kanye is joined by multiple heavy hitters on a song it only brings out the best in him as it did on monster and mercy.
Jamie Foxx provides the smooth hook, fellow Chicago rapper Twista fast paced verse is classic and you can’t forget the Kanye quotable “she gotta light skin friend look like Michael Jackson, gotta dark skinned friend look like Michael Jackson”
20) New Slaves
As the name suggests Kanye touches on issues facing black America such as racism while stating we are new slaves in modern times. As an artist Kanye has always used his platform to speak on social issues and new slaves is an extension of that.
Prior to the song’s release it was played in 66 locations projected on various buildings in the country and worldwide which is typical Kanye fashion to garner the attention of people worldwide.
He also believes the second verse from the track is the best hip hop verse ever, do you agree or disagree? Have a listen and let us know.
You can’t help but think something is about to happen as you listen to the track due to its suspenseful nature and war chants throughout the track garnering your attention immediately. The video is short yet impactful with the message clear and concise.
Kanye stated that he spent thousands of hours putting this song together
“A song like ‘Power’ took 5,000 hours, like literally 5,000 man-hours to do this one record. That’s the amount of time I was putting into every song on the album”
Similar to the track monster when Kanye is joined by multiple hip hop heavyweights on one track it only brings out the best in him and makes for a greater song.
Pusha T, Kanye, Big Sean and 2 chainz all appear on the track which contains the cleverly used sample from reggae artist Super Beagle throughout.
Simply put this is G.O.O.D. Music at their best.
17) I Wonder
The beauty of this track is the emotionally driven sounds and theme of finding your dreams.
Kanye uses this track as an opportunity to ask people what their dreams are while also implying that people tend to go through life without considering their God given gifts and dreams.
Aside from making us sing and dance the power of music also lies in the ability to make the consumer think and reflect on his or her own life which I wonder makes you do.
16) Real Friends
Back in 2010 Kanye started a free music release promotion called Good Fridays in which he released new music to fans every Friday in order to promote My Beautiful Dark twisted Fantasy. This was then reintroduced in 2016 with real friends as the first release.
The track offers more chilled hip hop vibes which gets you thinking about life especially when the subject matter is about friendships and life. West rapped about his frustration with certain family members and questioned those he once felt were friends.
One of our favorite efforts from 808s and heartbreaks, Kanye does a great job capturing his emotions using low tone auto tune with a feature from Young Jezzy.
The musical style is set with the piano, drums and bass as Kanye raps about his career and how it’s amazing.
The album 808s and heartbreak was created in response to Kanye breaking up with his long term fiancée which is why the overall mood of the album was more emotionally driven with west singing. In an album filled of emotion and heartbreaks amazing is one of the more happy options from the album.
We get to see Kanye express his feelings for his hometown Chicago, though he had referenced chi town in many tracks prior to this, homecoming was the first time he dedicated a track to his hometown.
Metaphorically Kanye compares Chicago to a long lost girlfriend in which he still thinks about, no matter what’s happening in his life. The chorus sang by Chris Martin of Coldplay fits the tracks direction very well.
Kanye, Jay-z and Rick Ross all feature on the track, however, it’s Nicki Minaj who goes on to steal the show.
Arguably one of Nicki’s best verses today, she stands out for many reasons such as her flow and cadence switch up from sweet to aggressive playing with her alter ego, ultimate confidence, accent changes and attitude to fit her rhyming style instantly placed her as a Hip Hop Heavy weight.
This verse alone would rank the entire monster track as one of the best on My Beautiful Dark twisted Fantasy and one of the best hip hop verses in that year.
One of the best moments at the start of the last decade was the announcement that both Jay z and Kanye were in the studio recording an album together which would go on to become watch the thrown.
The Kanye produced track which contains the Otis Redding sample from the song Try a little tenderness sees both rappers take the back and forth approach with each verse.
Just 2 artists rapping and bragging about the luxurious life they live while destroying a Maybach in the process for fun! You gota love it!
11) Gold Digger
Gold Digger has to make the Best Kanye west songs list as its one of his first mainstream hits which sees Kanye showcase his creative side by collaborating with Jamie Fox to vocal over the Ray Charles I got a woman sample. Plus we all remember the infamous lines we want pre-nup, Yeah!
Gold Digger won Kanye a Grammy, sold over 3 million records, peaked at number 1 on the charts and has been one of his most successful hits to date. I know the song, you know the song, need I say more?
10) All falls Down
One of the great things about the track is that Kanye shares his inner battles with consumerism which is something that many people face in the western world.
Our love for materialism in order to fit in is the theme throughout the track and something that’s relatable.
Syleena Johnson does a fantastic job by adding her vocals over the lauryn Hill sample which adds the timeless R&B element to the track and has gone on to be a classic. Though it was released in 2004 this track can stand amongst his latest work today.
9) Touch the Sky
Just Blaze does an incredible job sampling Curtis Mayfield’s move on up track, adding different elements to the track such as the slowed down horns and drums giving it an upbeat hip hop vibe.
The track also features Lupe fiasco which would go on record as one of his biggest guest appearances to date. A creative video concept with many guest appearances, dope Lupe verse and great production,this definitely makes the best Kanye West songs list.
8) Good Life
Cast your mind back to 2007 for a second, its 50 vs. Kanye, Graduation vs. Curtis, and Hip hop is in a frenzy with the conversation centered around who will have the bigger first week numbers. Though it hurts me to say as 50 cent is my favorite artist, Kanye wins the week and that’s thanks to singles such as Good Life.
The feel-good track samples Michael Jacksons P.Y.T and features vocals from T-pain, still played to this day. When you want to brighten the day throw this track on.
7) Hey Mama
The track dedicated to his mother Donda West was a beautiful tribute in which Kanye was able to express his love and appreciation for his mother. From his early upbringing in Chicago Kanye remembers how she worked hard to support the family.
The chorus has a built-in sing-along vibe and you can’t help to think of your own mother in the process.
Rest in Peace Donda West
6) Through the Wire
Probably one of the most important tracks of his life, Kanye shares his life-threatening experience after being involved in a car crash. What’s even more impressive is that Kanye recorded himself rapping the lyrics with his jaw still wired shut which you can hear if you listen carefully.
No matter the adversity thrown at Kanye he was determined to live his dream and through the wire captures this moment perfectly.
Though the topic matter of the track is a near-death experience the soulful funk beat has a unique way of celebrating the artist that is yet to come.
5) Flashing Lights
We get to see Kanye West express what it’s like to deal with the fame, lights, being a star all the while dealing with everyday life and in this scenario reminiscing on times with an ex-girlfriend.
The smooth style production encourages listeners not only to listen to the music but take in the lyrics.
4) Can’t tell me Nothing
When this comes on in the club, what we do? Act more stupidly!!!
Kanye himself has continually mentioned the song being one of his favorite songs and for good reason.
Can’t tell me nothing today is an anthem and this is because we relate to the lyrics. The contradiction of wanting to do the right things yet the influence of money having us feed our desires for instant gratification is a pattern we can all relate to at different points of our lives.
3) Jesus Walks
For many people including myself, Jesus walks was the first introduction to the artist Kanye West. Prior to the release of Jesus walks Kanye had released multiple singles and produced for many artists, however, it was Jesus walks which really caught the attention of the world.
Back in 2005 Hip Hop predominantly focused on all the cliché things such as money, cars and women yet a young Kanye West at the time chose to challenge the status quo and shift the public attention in order to get his message across and have it played on the radio.
So what was that message?
Kanye wanted to remind people Jesus walked with us all. He also criticized the radio for not supporting the record at first with the lyrics
“They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus/That means guns, sex, lies, videotapes/But if I talk about God my record won’t get played, huh?”
West had explained he had been turned down by many record label executives while playing the record for them.
Lastly, it should also be mentioned that Kanye shot the music video for the song 3 times before he was happy with the final product. If he was going to portray his message about Jesus he wanted to do it right.
I have previously spoken about Hip Hop’s relationship with God and Faith
What makes the creation of runaway stand out as a classic Kanye record is the time it was produced as there was so much controversy surrounding him at the time from the Taylor Swift incident.
Prior to the release of the record, Kanye had undergone massive scrutiny from the media which in turn resulted in pressure, anticipation and most importantly a make or break moment. This was such a critical time with the whole world watching his next move.
If diamonds are formed under pressure then runaway is a product of that. Kanye took the pressure from the music industry and media, flew to Hawaii and constructed this masterpiece.
Kanye does 2 things here
1. Allow himself to be completely vulnerable while covering past relationships and insecurities
2. Use the terms asshole and douche bag which he was labeled for months following the Taylor Swift incident, incorporating that into the music to fit the theme.
Both of which create the ability for the artist to acknowledge the world he is living in and creating music from it.
Today, when performed the simple touch of a key on the piano, gets the crowd into a frenzy, literally.
Not many artists have the ability to touch a key in its most simple form while creating an atmosphere live.
This is pure magic
1) Heard ’em Say
Heard em say stands out for many reasons such as having one of the best album intro transitions into a song, elements of soulful undertones and lastly the artistic visuals which supported the song.
Kanye focused on society, religion and law enforcement issues from the perspective of a Black man living in America. What makes a song a classic is the ability to stand the test of time and the record which was released in 2005 can still be related to today’s times.
One of the best things about this song is how it came together, both Kanye and Adam Levine were boarding the same flight in which Kanye took the opportunity by asking Adam if he wanted to listen to the record and add vocals to it, the rest is history!
Kanye also told MTV
“Levine added something to it, it was just like the magic, the frosting on top. And that’s one of those times that God is working in the studio with you”
What’s even more interesting about the song is that Kanye shot 2 music videos for the single. The first being shot in Macy’s department store which west played a homeless man with his kids touring the entire store and the second video being cartoon animation emphasizing the song’s lyrics.
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