For many fans, it’s hard to believe that the Chicago rapper recently entered middle-agehood, celebrating his 40th birthday. The outspoken artist’s ‘ego-meets-talent’ narrative has defined his decorated career.
We went ahead and sorted through Kanye’s catalog. The releases are listed below from worst to best.
June 18, 2013 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
750,000 sales 4× platinum
Yeezus is the sixth solo album and seventh studio album by American rapper Kanye West. Yeezus has been characterized as West’s most experimental and sonically abrasive work. It draws from an array of genres, including industrial, acid house, electro, dancehall, punk, and Chicago drill.
7 The Life of Pablo
February 14, 2016 • GOOD Music, Def Jam
?? sales 4× platinum
he Life of Pablo is the seventh solo album and eighth studio album by American rapper and producer Kanye West. Following the official streaming debut of The Life of Pablo, West continued to make changes to the music, describing it as “a living breathing changing creative expression” and declaring the end of the album as a dominant release form.
6 808s & Heartbreak
November 24, 2008 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
1,700,000 sales 4× platinum
Nearly a year after his mother’s unexpected death, a questionably-stable West returned to music. Soon after came his infamous VMAs incident with Taylor Swift.
5 Watch The Throne Ft. Jay-Z
August 8, 2011 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam, Roc Nation
1,432,000 sales 4× platinum
Watch the Throne is a collaborative studio album by American rappers Jay Z and Kanye West, released on August 8, 2011, by Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc Nation, and Def Jam Recordings. Before the album, Jay Z and West had collaborated on their respective singles and with West as a producer on Jay-Z’s work. As longtime friends, they originally sought out to record a five-song EP together, but the project eventually evolved into a full-length album.
September 11, 2007 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
2,700,000 sales 2× platinum
Graduation is the third studio album by American hip hop recording artist and record producer Kanye West. The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 957,000 copies in its first week.
3 Late Registration
August 30, 2005 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
3,643,000 sales 3× platinum
Late Registration is the second studio album by Kanye. Its production was much more lush and elaborate than West’s 2004 debut album The College Dropout, as he utilized intricate sampling methods and string orchestration with Brion. West’s lyrics explore both personal and political themes, including poverty, drug trafficking, racism, healthcare, and the blood diamond trade.
2 My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
November 22, 2010 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
1,300,000 sales 4× platinum
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the fifth studio album by Kanye. Following a period of public and legal controversy, West retreated to a “self-imposed exile”. A widespread critical success, it was named the best record of 2010 by many publications and has since appeared on several lists ranking the greatest albums of all time.
1 The College Dropout
February 10, 2004 • Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
3,358,000 sales 3× platinum
The week The College Dropout came out, three singles featuring his handiwork were in the Top 20, including his own “Through the Wire.” A daring way to introduce himself to the masses as an MC, the enterprising West recorded the song during his recovery from a car wreck that nearly took his life — while his jaw was wired shut.