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Kanye West

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Chicago-bred, soul sampling, producer wunderkind, Kanye West's music is inarguably the most exciting thing going on in hip-hop right now. He is the man that helped make Jay-Z's The Blueprint the soul-drenched nostalgic masterpiece that it was. He has produced a consistent array of chart-topping inspirational beats for artists as diverse as Ludacris ("Stand Up"), Scarface ("In Cold Blood"), and Talib Kweli ("Get By"); and, did I mention that the man raps like there's no tomorrow? Given the fact that he has a resume this dazzling, and is seemingly overflowing with potential, when word came that he had decided to put out a solo record, The College Dropout, it evoked little surprise, and a whole lot of anticipation. It also served as an incredibly unorthodox, and taboo-stricken move for a "heralded" producer of his stature, that only seemed to highlight his incredible ambitions and fans' adoration. The only thing is, The College Dropout was supposed to come out months ago; first, in August, then October, then January, and now, the fine folks at Roc-A-Fella are saying February (let's keep our fingers crossed). So, as the collective patience of avid hip-hop aficionados across the globe grows thinner and thinner, anticipation for Kanye's alleged-masterpiece debut is reaching a fever pitch.

 

In a typically savvy marketing move (like only those folks in hip-hop know how) serving to add only more fuel to the collective fire, a couple of Kanye West mix-tapes have been circulating around that not only showcase a collection of his finest chart-topping production moments from his previous work, but also preview a number of new selections from off of The College Dropout. Now, while in the surprisingly stringent circles of music criticism reviewing a mix-tape greets about the same level of enthusiasm as the release of a Backstreet Boy solo record, the two mix-tapes in question, Get Well Soon (released shortly after Kanye's much-publicized, near-fatal car accident), and I'm Good, prove to be among the best new hip-hop music released in 2003. However, in a level of irony seemingly only reserved for this delightful mess called the music business, since these releases are mix-tapes and not traditional albums (whatever that means these days), don't expect them to be making an appearance on many "best of" lists this year. In light of this fiasco, your trusty review has taken it upon himself to shine some much-deserved light on these enigmatic jewels, because given Roc-A-Fella's inconsistencies these tapes might be the closest we ever get to witnessing Kanye's abundant solo genius.

 

While both mixes serve as a well-represented document featuring a mish-mash of snippets from Kanye's earlier work, on both Get Well Soon and I'm Good Kanye's new material undoubtedly steals the show. The best of these new tracks is the unrelentingly rousing modern-day hip-hop epic, "2 Words", which features guest appearances from Mos Def, Freeway, and the Harlem Boys' Choir. Over the rolling thump of a thunderous drum kit, harpsichord lines tumble into butter-smooth electric guitar licks, while frenetic soulful wails provide the perfect canvas for Mos', Kanye's, and Freeway's relentless rhymes. However, this is all before Kanye breaks the song down for a stirring a cappela section from the Harlem Boys' Choir, which gives way to a frenzied stutter-step hip-hop hoe-down featuring a turbulent violin solo to close (that's right, I did say violin solo!).

 

The most amazing aspect of the track, though, is that it marks Kanye's characteristic mastery of balancing an "underground" hip-hop aesthetic, with elements from the mainstream. Kanye has infamously labeled himself the "self-proclaimed first nigga with Benz and a backpack", but it is rightly the consistent merging of these two diametric worlds in Kanye's music, which makes his sound so unabashedly unique. Tracks like "Heavy Hitters", which imparts a bouncing electro-funk bass riff straight out of the Timbaland handbook and joins it with a debonair classical piano motif, and the soulful ode to girl-trouble "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", which cloaks Consequence's and Kanye's playerific verses in a dusty sample-heavy instrumental, perfectly reconcile Kanye's aesthetic contradictions.

 

However, while there may be little doubt left in anybody's mind if Kanye's beats are inspired, the real question that these two mix-tapes come to resolve is that if Kanye can handle himself on the mic. Thankfully, the answer is unresoundingly yes. Kanye has always attested to the fact that he was an emcee before he got into producing, and it was only his startling success as a beat-maker that took him away from first love of rhyming. This fact is abundantly clear on these mixes, as Kanye imparts a charmingly laconic vocal delivery, equal parts Mos Def and Snoop Dogg that is brimming with radiant wit, and agile word play. On The College Dropout's alleged first single, "Through the Wire" (an earnest recounting of the emotional toll of his horrific car accident), over a rolling motivational Chaka Kahn sample, Kanye cleverly attests, "In the same hospital where BIG and Tupac died, the Doctor said I had a blood clot, but I ain't Jamaican man, story on MTV, but I ain't trying to make a band." While over the old-school soul of "Home", Kanye personifies his relationship with his hometown of Chicago in the vain of Common's ode to hip-hop "I Used to Love Her", and through a wildly sincere monologue recounts their lengthy turbulent history; Kanye's cleverly rhymes, "I guess that's why last winter she got so cold on me, she said 'Ye keep making that platinum and gold for me."

 

On the closing track off Get Well Soon, the bitter-sweetly nostalgic, "My Way", a speed up vocal sample reflects, "I've lived a life that's full, I've traveled each and every highway, and what's more than this, I did it my way." The track serves as the perfect summation of every aspect that makes Kanye West such a rarity amongst the excess-laden caricatures that seem to dominate the hip-hop world; over a lush instrumental of sweeping syrupy string melodies, West earnestly recounts his hip-hop typical ambitions of making a dollar. However, when he states, "I'm not a Kennedy, but I'm good rich," it feels like a miracle. Finally a rapper who is equal parts ambitious and humble, aggressive and empathetic, and witty while still being genuine. He's Kanye West, and he's just put out the best hip-hop album of next year... his own way.. 

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January 07, 2010

Kanye West VH1 Storytellers CD/DVD In Stores Now!

Kanye West VH1 Storytellers CD/DVD In Stores Now!



Get your copy of Kanye West's VH1 Storytellers CD & DVD today! Including over 70 minutes of audio and performance footage from his VH1 Storytellers special.


Click here to purchase from Best Buy.
Click here to purchase from Amazon.


Text ROC to 66937 for Kanye West updates to your mobile.

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December 29, 2009

Kanye West Surprise Guest At Kid Cudi Show

Video: Kanye West Surprise Guest At Kid Cudi Show.

Check out Kanye West as the special guest at last night's Kid Cudi show.

Freestyle:


"I'm So Appalled"



Pre-order VH1 Storytellers on Amazon.com Now!

VH1 STORYTELLERS IN STORES JAN. 5TH! Make sure you get your copy.

Text KANYE to 66937 for Kanye West updates on your mobile

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September 19, 2007

West out Sell 50!!!!!

Kanye West Sells more than 50 Cent.."We all knew..that was gonna happen."
With Kanye West's "Graduation" (Def Jam) having trumped 50 Cent's "Curtis" (G-Unit/Interscope) in debut week sales, Def Jam honchos Antonio "L.A." Reid and Jay-Z are celebrating. But they acknowledge West's numbers (957,000) were bolstered by the competition, and that another sales war is not in their plans.

"We all know that the battle was a one-off," Jay-Z tells Billboard. "That's not a template on how to do business. We know that we have challenges ahead of us [in regards to the industry's downturn] but we also know that the consumption of music is at an all-time high as well."

For his part, Reid is "really optimistic about the state of the industry. When you look at these numbers, if I add in [West's] catalog sales, he's sold 1 million records in one week. That seemed to be a thing of the past and everyone had written it off, saying that people no longer bought albums in these numbers."

50 Cent was gracious in deafeat. "I am very excited to have participated in one of the biggest album release weeks in the last two years," he said in a statement released to the Associated Press. "Collectively, we have sold hundreds of thousands of units in our debut week. This marks a great moment for hip-hop music, one that will go down in history."

Both executives maintain Def Jam didn't do anything out of the ordinary to promote "Graduation." And both agree that West's music was the catalyst for the album's meteoric sales.
"The No. 1 reason for the success was Kanye's genius [and] No. 2 was the music and the videos," says Reid. "The one thing I know for a fact is that when I listen to the record, it's amazing."

West's camp is currently choosing the album's next single, which Jay-Z says is between his favorites "I Wonder," "Champion" and "Flashing Lights." West's Glow in the Dark tour will most likely begin in early spring, and Jay-Z is considering appearing on spot dates.

As for what Def Jam's artist roster can learn from West's success, Jay-Z suggests it's all about creativity. "Artistry wins," says Jay-Z. "If you're going to emulate something, then emulate art. Because you can emulate a record or a trend, but that doesn't win at the end of the day."

Jay-Z went on to say that 50 Cent hit a misstep when he focused too narrowly on his previous sales and not on his current songs.

"50, in his arguments, focused on his numbers and sales," says Jay-Z. "Kanye focused on making the best art that he could make at that time. He wanted to go with 'Can't Tell Me Nothing' and 'Stronger,' and those records worked in two different markets to perfection -- 10 out of 10."

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September 18, 2007

Kanye West First DIBS Artist!

 

 

Check out the latest ringtones from the new album Graduation, including hot exclusive cuts from the hit singles "Stronger" and "Can't Tell Me Nothing", as well as never before available live ringtones of some of your favorite Kanye songs! You can also enter to win a chance to see Kanye in style: 2 VIP passes to see Kanye live in concert , and a limo ride to the show

FIRST DIBS RINGTONES

Purchase Kanye West ringtones for use on your Real Music Ringtone-capable Virgin Mobile phone ($2.50 ea.) Simply send a text message to 868 with any of the keywords below as the subject line to get started. Standard text messaging rates apply. (Short codes not applicable on Virgin Mobile Slice handset).

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September 15, 2007

Clash of the titans: Kanye vs. 50 Cent

Clash of the titans: Kanye vs. 50 Cent

Kanye West and 50 Cent release new CDs today. Which star will come out on top?

Rolling Stone Mag: Kanye Vs. 50 Cent

Today marks a rarity in the music industry: Kanye West and 50 Cent go head to head to win the title of Rapper Supreme; and it⿿s also the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, that artists are dropping their goods on a date synonymous with tragedy.

 

Of course, this doesn⿿t mean these two high-profile rap artists are being low-key about their new discs ⿿ West has stopped just short of telling the world his album will end all wars, while ⿿Fiddy⿝ infamously declared he will stop releasing solo albums if West outsells him.

 

For the music industry, the war of words couldn⿿t come at a better time. Album sales are down 14 percent overall compared with this time last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan. On paper, it seems the music industry is due for a major shot in the arm with the arrival of a shelf-load of discs from Mariah Carey, Bruce Springsteen and Jennifer Lopez, just to name a few.

 

Erik Parker, content director for hip-hop Web site SOHH.com, feels the increased attention is a good thing: ⿿It⿿s like the Super Bowl of rap ⿿ it⿿s like a prizefight. It⿿s a main event that you don⿿t see come around that often.⿝

 

With all the pre-release drama (leaked albums, slumping sales and fickle audiences), can the two titans of hip-hop make an impact?

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Bird1TX
Bird1TX

Male, 48, Plano, TX

Posted November 27, 2012


i like this.


WeegiMoneyIsTime
WeegiMoneyIs...

Male, 34, Washington, DC

Posted July 05, 2011


REAL HIP HOP!!!!


poullo10
poullo10

Male, 29, Senegal

Posted May 15, 2011


this is a real lover of african styles, u can see and feel it in his songs like love luck down, power or all of the lights, and dress 2.


Toney_Dey
Toney_Dey

Male, Age Private, Chicago, IL

Posted April 02, 2011


Love ur music "G" keep bangin it.

Much Love Ye.


lilhershei20
lilhershei20

Female, 29, Birmingham, AL

Posted February 19, 2011


Your album has been in my disc changer since it came out!! I love it that you express yourself differently. I'm loving your swag and I cant wait till your next project comes out so I can get that one too.


QueenMutha
QueenMutha

Female, Age Private, New York, NY

Posted February 18, 2011


On Black Planet, Kanye ha a white woman plastered all over his page, go figure! And oh so typical!


2Mau
2Mau

Male, 42, South Africa

Posted January 25, 2011


Words are for students.....and you are a teacher....don't forget to give them homework....your music is a message expressed for a reality check to those who think otherwise...Kanye....Kenya.... who k....one of the disciples of Africa....


SkEEtDwnYOthoat
SkEEtDwnYOthoat

Male, 41, Chicago, IL

Posted January 09, 2011


ya album is classic


binafarhanna
binafarhanna

Female, Age Private, Tampa, FL

Posted December 11, 2010


love u..


THICKCHOCOLATE28IN
THICKCHOCOLA...

Female, 37, Fort Wayne, IN

Posted November 12, 2010


I LOVE YOU KANYE YOU ARE THE BEST KEEP DOING WHAT YOU DOING....NUMBER ONE FAN!!!!!


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