20 Best Lyrics From Kanye West
Once Kanye West crossed over from production to lyricism, it seemed as though there was no turning back. Mr. West was in the building, crafting (or borrowing) lines that encompassed everything the ubiquitous superstar embodied, both enchanting and polarizing. From his early 'College Dropout' musings up to 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,' including cameos on his affiliates' (Jay-Z, Pusha T, Rhymefest) projects, Kanye West brings Yeezy 100% at all times.
As we await the arrival of his long awaited project 'Watch the Throne' on August 2, with his "big brother" Jay-Z, the Boombox takes a look at some of 'Ye's punchiest lines. His combination of swag and bold audacity make this list only half of what Kanye West is capable of lyrically. Like one of his classic lines states, he found bravery in his bravado
20. "My big brother was B.I.G.'s brother/ Used to be Dame and B.I.G.'s brother/ Who was hip-hop brother/ Who was No I.D. friend/ No I.D. my mentor/ Now let the story begin." (Big Brother')
Kanye West never falters in thanking Jay-Z for being the catalyst in his success. While his production mentor No I.D. ushered Kanye through the beat-making process, it was Jay-Z who took those beats and used them, urging Kanye to pick up a mic. And the rest is history.
19. "This week he's moppin' floors, next week it's the fries/ So, stick by his side/ I know these dude's ballin, and yeah that's nice/ And they gon' keep callin' and tryin'/ But you stay right, girl/ But when you get on, he leave yo' a-- for a white girl."('Gold Digger')
On this particular track, Kanye takes a Ray Charles sample -- by way of Jamie Foxx -- and pushes it through an entire track about girls being gold diggers. Then, at the close of the song, he flips the script by telling girls to stick by their men who will ultimately leave them in the end. The irony.
18."Uh oh, there they go, talking 'bout how your boy clothes extra tight/ I just remember that my limelight extra bright." (Rick Ross' 'Maybach Music 2')
Kanye's questionable fashion choices are always sprayed upon the cyber-walls of gossip blogs. The more he absorbs global fashion, the more his own personal style evolves. For years, baggy pants were a symbol of true hip-hop. Kanye crushed that stereotype.
17. "I know that people wouldn't usually rap this/ But I got the facts to back this/ Just last year, Chicago had over 600 caskets/ Man, killing's some wack s---."('Everything I Am')
Kanye always shows his loyalty to the Windy City whenever he rhymes. He may be a globetrotter now, but the Chicago streets that raised him are woven into the fabric of his being. When Chicago is suffering, he feels it too.
16. "Spittin' fire on the PJs in my PJs/ Fire Marshall said I took it to the Max like TJ/ Y'all ain't peep how I said Marshalls, replay/ I guess I'm like the Black Marshall meets Jay" (The Clipse's 'Kinda Like a Big Deal')
It used to be taboo to compare yourself to Biggie in rhymes. Then when Jay-Z took the crown as the G.O.A.T. (to most), it became instantly taboo to compare oneself to Jay. Kanye jumped over that rule and even called himself the Black Eminem.
15. "We shine because they hate us, floss cause they degrade us/ We trying to buy back our 40 acres/ And for that paper, look how low we stoop/ Even if you in a Benz, you still a n---- in a coop." ('All Falls Down')
It's not always about fashion and flashin' with Kanye. Sometimes he manages to insert social commentary into his rhymes and TV appearances (read: Hurricane Katrina). His own admission of insecurity is a vulnerable trait that not too many rappers would admit.
14. "They gonna have me on Concrete Loop in my pajamas/ To hide the goods I would need pants big as Hammer's." (Kid Sister's 'Pro Nails')
With fame comes the hounding from the paparazzi, and like a domino effect, the gossip blogs receive the info and post it. Perhaps Kanye's public image is self-fed, but regardless he's aware of it and doesn't seem to care.
13. "Does he write his own rhymes? Sort of. I think 'em. That means I forgot better s--- than you ever thought of." ('Diamonds From Sierra Leone')
Someone oddly similar to Kanye made an oddly similar reference to not totally writing his own material. "Don't worry if I write rhymes, I write checks," said Diddy on 'Bad Boy For Life.' Both don't claim to be lexicons and are proud of it.
12. "They say your attitude determines your latitude/ I'm high as a motherf-----, fly as a motherf-----/ And still the motherf----- you love to hate/ But can't because you love what I make." (Rhymefest's 'Brand New'}
Referring to himself as the rapper you love to hate is boldly accurate. Public outbursts, award show disruptions, none of that matters once Kanye presses play on his music. Suddenly the artist and the art split apart.
11. "But I can't complain what the accident did to my left eye/ 'Cause look what an accident did to Left Eye/ First Aaliyah and now Romeo must die/ I know I got angels watching me from the other side." ('Never Let Me Down')
Kanye's accident was a traumatic experience that also doubled as his career-maker. Rapping while his mouth was wired shut on 'Thru the Wire' brought much attention to him as a rapper. On 'Never Let Me Down,' though, he remembers how lucky he is to be alive.
10. "S---, these last years been a haze/ Hayes like Isaac/ So I close my eyes tighter than Asian eyes/ Then realize I got the same wings angels fly with/ With Louis Vuitton feathers now that's some fly s---." (T.Pain's 'Flight School')
Kanye makes several references to angels in his rhymes, derived from his near-fatal car accident. In a way, he rhymes like a superhero. The only difference is he's laced in designer fabric, not Spandex.
9. "She got an a-- that'll swallow up a G-string/ And up top, ugh, two bee stings/ And I'm beasting/ Off the Riesling." (Jay-Z's 'Run This Town')
All it took was one Riesling reference to make that the chosen white wine for any partygoer. In addition, all it took was one reference to smaller breasts to re-inspire an entire community of A-cups. Well done, Kanye. Well done.
8. "So if the Devil wear Prada, Adam/Eve wear nada, I'm in between but way more fresher." ('Can't Tell Me Nothing')
While Pharrell Williams could be credited with drawing hip-hop back into fashion, Kanye West took it and ran with it. The "Louis Vuitton Don" upped the designer tax bracket for rappers' threads. Now the cost of a wardrobe could mortgage a small house.
7. "I'm just sayin, hey Mona Lisa, come home, you know you can't roam/ Rome without Caesar."('Flashing Lights')
While Jay-Z is the purveyor of double entendre in rap, Kanye arrives as a close second. In addition, he's also good at making up words. Remember "Apologin" in 'Can't Tell Me Nothing?'
6."I'ma disrobe you, then I'ma probe you."(Katy Perry's 'E.T.')
There are times where Kanye's lyrics are so abrasive that you can only conclude he's the only artist allowed to talk that way. The line that follows this one is, "See I abducted you, so I tell you what to do." Aliens beware.
5."'Cause this is Louis Vuitton Don night/ So we gon' do everything that Kan like/ Heard they'd do anything for a Klondike/ Well, I'd do anything for a blonde dyke." ('Stronger')
All cryptic references to future ex-girlfriends aside, Kanye knows how to put his words together. His rhyme scheme can sound identical to the next one, while simultaneously swapping words for other words. Ingenious.
4."Two words: Chi Town, raised me, crazy. So I live by two words: f--- you, pay me."('Two Words')
Despite being one of the most successful men in hip-hop, Kanye West chases checks just like the rest of us. While 'Ye does a lot of favors for a lot of people, it's clear that he's still about his money.
3."Don't know what's better – getting laid or getting paid/ I just know when I'm getting one the other's getting away." (Dilated Peoples' 'This Way')
When Kanye assisted indie icons Dilated Peoples on the track 'This Way,' he was still rocking his backpack on the eve of fame. He probably doesn't have the same problems anymore that he muddles over in this verse.
2. "Have you ever had sex with a pharaoh/ I put the p---- in a sarcophagus/ Now she claiming that I bruised her esophagus/ Head of the class and she just want a swallowship." ('Monster')
Quite possibly the first rapper to ever use the word "sarcophagus" in a rhyme, Kanye West is always pushing the envelope when it comes to bold new vocabulary in his lyrics. Grab a dictionary when you listen to Yeezy.
1."The same people that tried to blackball me forgot about two things: my black balls."('Gorgeous')
Kanye West holds no punches. He challenged President Bush during the time of Hurricane Katrina and bumrushed the MTV Music Awards stage when Taylor Swift won over Beyonce. Saying he has "balls" is an understatement.
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