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Kanye West Truly Is The Greatest Artist Of Our Generation

We need him right now.

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A lot has been said about Kanye West over the years, and he's said a fair amount of it himself, but there's no denying his remarkable creative ability and influence.

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To appreciate his accomplishments, we have to remove his ego and image in the media, and acknowledge the fact that Kanye WORKED his way up the ranks, first impressing some of the top artists in the game as a producer.

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Behind the scenes, Kanye orchestrated some of the most recognizable beats of the past 20 years, including Jay Z's massive hits "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)," "Heart Of The City," and "Encore" before becoming a solo artist.

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If you're interested, Complex ranked the top 50 beats Kanye has made for other artists.

His first single "Through The Wire" — which he LITERALLY recorded with his jaw wired shut — helped launch The College Dropout to unparalleled success for a debut album, including over four million copies sold worldwide.

On top of receiving 10 Grammy nominations — winning best Rap Song and Best Rap Album — The College Dropout was also voted as Album of the Year by Rolling Stone and later recognized as one of the Greatest Albums of All Time.
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On top of receiving 10 Grammy nominations — winning best Rap Song and Best Rap Album — The College Dropout was also voted as Album of the Year by Rolling Stone and later recognized as one of the Greatest Albums of All Time.

His sophomore album, Late Registration, was highly acclaimed, receiving Album of the Year honors by Rolling Stone, USA Today, Spin, and Time, and named one of the Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone.

Late Registration also received a nomination for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song at the 2006 Grammy Awards. West's single "Gold Digger" was nominated for Record of the Year and won for Best Rap Solo Performance.
Via rollingstone.com

Late Registration also received a nomination for Album of the Year and won Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song at the 2006 Grammy Awards. West's single "Gold Digger" was nominated for Record of the Year and won for Best Rap Solo Performance.

Graduation, West's third album, debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling a massive 957,000 copies in its first week, going on to be certified double platinum.

Like his first two albums, Kanye took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album, receiving eight nominations in total, including Album of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song. Graduation was also honored by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly as the Best Album of 2007.
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Like his first two albums, Kanye took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album, receiving eight nominations in total, including Album of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song. Graduation was also honored by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly as the Best Album of 2007.

808s and Heartbreak was named one of the 40 Most Groundbreaking Albums of All Time, ushering in a new era of songwriting and beatmaking, allowing future artists like Drake to flourish in a new rap world where beats were slowed down and lyrics were sung.

This was West's second album to debut at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, going on to be certified platinum, with Rolling Stone journalist Matthew Trammell calling it "Kanye's most vulnerable work, and perhaps his most brilliant."
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This was West's second album to debut at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, going on to be certified platinum, with Rolling Stone journalist Matthew Trammell calling it "Kanye's most vulnerable work, and perhaps his most brilliant."

His follow-up album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, received universal acclaim, debuting at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, and winning a Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is widely considered West's best work, receiving Album of the Year honors by Billboard, Time, Slant Magazine, Pitchfork Media, Spin, and Rolling Stone, with the latter calling it "his most maniacally inspired music yet, coasting on heroic levels of dementia, pimping on top of Mount Olympus." And for the third time, Rolling Stone named West's work one of the Greatest Albums of All Time.
Via hotnewhiphop.com

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is widely considered West's best work, receiving Album of the Year honors by Billboard, Time, Slant Magazine, Pitchfork Media, Spin, and Rolling Stone, with the latter calling it "his most maniacally inspired music yet, coasting on heroic levels of dementia, pimping on top of Mount Olympus." And for the third time, Rolling Stone named West's work one of the Greatest Albums of All Time.

Watch the Throne, West's collaborative album with Jay Z, debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, receiving seven Grammy Award nominations on its way to being certified platinum.

This marked West's fifth No. 1 album in the U.S., with Rolling Stone honoring it as the second-best album of the year, stating "Throne testifies to Kanye West's genius for beats both iconoclastic and pop-savvy."
Via rollingstone.com

This marked West's fifth No. 1 album in the U.S., with Rolling Stone honoring it as the second-best album of the year, stating "Throne testifies to Kanye West's genius for beats both iconoclastic and pop-savvy."

West's most recent album, Yeezus, debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., receiving universal acclaim with nine publications rating it as the Album of the Year.

Yeezus was nominated for two Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album, and is considered to be "the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up," according to Rolling Stone, who called it a "a brilliant, obsessive-compulsive career auto-correct."
Via bysuchandsuch.com

Yeezus was nominated for two Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album, and is considered to be "the darkest, most extreme music Kanye has ever cooked up," according to Rolling Stone, who called it a "a brilliant, obsessive-compulsive career auto-correct."

Collectively, that's seven straight platinum records in 11 years, including the collaborative Watch the Throne album, all of which were fundamentally different in terms of sound and style.

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So it should come as no surprise that this experimental nature led him to the world of fashion where he launched his own clothing line, curated his own fashion show, and designed a new sneaker with Adidas.

In everything that he does from interviews to albums, West is constantly pushing boundaries and asking questions. Not only is he engaging, but he's continually creating something new and exciting, as part of his vision, whether people want it or not.

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Now it's important to note that, in Kanye's mind, everything he does is artwork, meaning a song isn't just a song; it's a single part of a carefully constructed journey through his album, which itself is just a single part of his message.

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"We spend just as much time working on the actual album packaging, as the video concept, as the song... Everything is equally as important."

But the true gift of Kanye is that we never know what we're going to get from him next. His unpredictability, talent, and passion are a special combination and one that make him a supremely unique and successful artist.

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Whether you like him or not, it's impossible to put Kanye in a box and call him "just another rapper." His influence is unmappable and his drive is inspirational.

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So what would the world be like without Kanye West? I guess we'll never know.

Happy Birthday, Mr. West. And thank you for continuing to create.

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