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Kanye West Details
“Name one genius that ain’t crazy,” Kanye West demanded on his 2016 album The Life of Pablo. Kanye was, of course, referring to himself, and it’s hard to argue with him on either count. Throughout a career that has seen him release some of the greatest music of the 21st century, West has continually pushed the boundaries not only in music, but also in art, fashion and, um, social decorum.
Already a producer for hip-hop’s biggest emcees, Kanye finally took control of the microphone on his 2004 debut album, Late Registration, like Graduation. In November of that year, though, tragedy struck. His mother Donda, whom he frequently spoke about publicly and mentioned often in his music, died from surgery complications. West’s subsequent album, 808s & Heartbreak, mined the deaths of his psyche as he struggled to deal with the loss of his mother.
Then came his masterpiece. Following a months-long series of free single releases known as GOOD Fridays, West released My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy in November 2010. The album won universal acclaim and was named the best album of the year by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, SPIN and, well, pretty much everyone else. From there, his sound has only gotten weirder. Yeezus (2013) is a jarring, obscene affair, and Pablo doesn’t have much of a cohesive sound at all. While we know better than to hold expectations for whatever Kanye does next, he will still somehow find a way to defy them.