Written By: Armani Johnson

I was the biggest Kanye West fan up until 2013, which I guess that makes sense because that’s when Kanye became Yeezus. I went from walking around singing his lyrics through the hallway, to not even knowing a single song on his later albums and he went from the “asshole” guy saying George Bush doesn’t care about black people, to a guy ranting about Beyonce, Jay Z and Hilary Clinton on stage at a performance. His behavior was never the thing I cared about most though, it was his amazing lyrical genius that made me such a die hard fan for the Old Kanye.

Looking strictly at a few of his studio albums I will point out some of the best things from Old Kanye and remind everyone why they should be listening to Old Ye on this Throwback Thursday.

The College Dropout: His school spirit skits were hilarious and appropriately placed if one listened to the album straight through. Jesus Walks started off with one of the realest lines saying “We at war with terrorism, racism, but most of all we at war with ourselves.” Slow Jamz is still played to this day and I would definitely consider it a classic. The sample selection on the album was beyond great, using pieces from Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Marvin Gaye and others. Even just the general message of the album worked well for him especially for it to be his first.

808s & Heartbreak: Heartless, Amazing, and Love Lockdown are the most memorable and best things about this album. He wrote and produced all of his songs (with some help of course). There was a secret track that was better than people seem to give him credit for. This album showed a whole new energy that Kanye wasn’t putting out at first.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy: There was not a single bad track on this album, they were all great from the soft piano start of Runaway to the harsher beats of Hell of a Life to Nicki Minaj’s voice on the introduction of Dark Fantasy to the collection of talented voices in All of the Lights. Power is still considered a hype song for people. Blame Game with Chris Rock at the end is one of the funniest and most savage bits I’ve heard even 7-8 years after it came out. This album was darker than he previous work and in my opinion his best sounds.

It would take hours to really write out everything great about Old Kanye and each song he’s produced on each of his studio albums but as a quick summary and reminder, I’ll give my top 15 tracks to listen to if you’re in the mood for good throwback music.

  1. All Falls Down (The College Dropout)
  2. Diamonds from Sierra Leone Remix (Late Registration)
  3. Runaway (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  4. Flashing Lights (Graduation)
  5. Lost in the World (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  6. Heartless (808s & Heartbreak)
  7. Through the Wire (The College Dropout)
  8. Roses (Late Registration)
  9. Good Life (Graduation)
  10. Dark Fantasy (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy)
  11. Pinocchio Story (808s & Heartbreak)
  12. The New Workout Plan (The College Dropout)
  13. Crack Music (Late Registration)
  14. Homecoming (Graduation)
  15. Welcome to Heartbreak (808s & Heartbreak)

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