Kanye West is one of the greatest rappers of all time, and the list of hits he has produced over the years is rather extensive. While that’s great news for fans of his, it does then lead to a problem in trying to narrow down the tracks to create this list.
You see, his versatility as a rapper means he can turn his hand to any style. That means our list of the 55 best Kanye West songs will prove to be somewhat eclectic in its mix.
1. Gold Digger
If there’s a song that non-rap fans know to be associated with Kanye, then chances are that this is that track. Complete with such a dope beat, it’s jarring, and the backing vocals add so much to such a catchy song that it became a major hit worldwide.
This is more of a horror track but in a good way. It also features Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Vernon, so you have a tremendous amount of talent. Kanye throws out some impressive bars in the song while the others add their own touch to what has become a classic hip hop track thanks to its overall vibe that resonates throughout.
3. All Falls Down
This track comes with a seriously catchy hook that will pull you in with ease. It also has some real meat to the song thanks to the big beat that thunders along, adding a real depth of feel to the track. But then, there are the lyrics where Kanye plays around with some humor, giving a different angle to the overall feel of the song.
4. Everything I Am
The impressive thing about this track is it shows Kanye really looking inward, and this gives the song a bit of depth to it. Yet, throughout it all, he seeks to remain positive, with that being the overall message. It’s deep, and the beat adds to that feeling, and we think this is one of the most impressive tracks that he has ever produced.
Aside from the vocals of Rihanna, what stands out here is the tempo and general vibe of the track. It’s upbeat and catches you from the very outset before dragging you through the entire song with ease. Others do have issues with some of the lyrics, but in general, this track comes at you with a bit of pace, leading to you suddenly coming to the end, wondering what just happened. However, we think that’s pretty cool.
6. Can’t Tell Me Nothing
What we enjoy about this track is the sort of brooding feel permeating through it. Sure, the song is quite uplifting with the beat, but you always get a sense that something is bubbling away underneath, adding another layer to the track. With smooth production and a feeling of it all having been pulled together, it’s no surprise this song received much critical acclaim.
This track is the perfect example of just how strong Kanye has been in both creating verses and the general production right from the start. There is a sense of reality about the song, which is refreshing, and the way he delivers the verse is also outstanding. Overall, it’s an impressive track from beginning to end.
In this track, Kanye delves deep into some dark areas, and that’s certainly the feeling you get from the very first bar he delivers. At times, it almost creates some strange vibes in the song that can make it feel almost uncomfortable at moments. Still, throughout it all, he constantly delivers some powerful bars, maintaining control over the track with ease.
With this track, what you see is that Kanye moves away from songs he was producing around this time that were a bit more downbeat and melancholy at the same time. It comes as a bit of a relief, as there’s a sense of dynamism throughout the track that had also been missing. Instead, what you get is a song that’s pumping and delivers some powerful lyrics that hold your attention throughout.
10. Flashing Lights
The combination with the vocals of Dwele adds an extra layer to a fantastic song, and then you have lyrics from Connie Mitchell to add even more to it all. But perhaps the best thing in this track is the simplicity, even when so much is going on. It’s intriguing, but even with the additional vocals, Kanye still stands out above with his perfect delivery and flow.
11. Real Friends
Kanye teams up with Ty Dolla $ign in this track, and what a fantastic combination that turns out to be. Even though this song does come across as quite sad, it’s the heavy nature of it that helps it to stand out from the crowd. It also incorporates some stunning loops, and even though the beat is clearly simple and basic, it does enough to catch you and stay in your mind even after the track is over.
12. Through the Wire
This was his debut single, and it was written when he had his jaw wired shut after a car crash. That adds a different dimension to the track, which is also filled with a whole lot of passion. It’s a thumping song with Kanye delivering with real force as he spits out the different bars and verses with such flow and balance. Considering this was his debut single, it’s no surprise he went on to become such a dominant force.
13. New Slaves
What we love about this track is the way it has a menacing feel to it, but that just adds a lot more power to the message Kanye is putting across. Some say this song does not include the best lyrics or verses he has ever come up with, but that’s because he has produced so many classics that the bar is so high. Yet, for most rappers, this track would be outstanding, and we still think it’s up there as one of the best songs he has produced.
14. Blood on the Leaves
This track covers an explosive six minutes, and they will be some of the best six minutes of your life. It feels almost anthemic in its approach, and you find yourself being hit by the sheer awesomeness of Kanye from the very first line. With a focus on immoral things, he leaves us knowing exactly what he thinks about different things, and boy, he doesn’t hold back.
15. Lost in the World
With additional vocals from Justin Vernon, this song comes across as epic, and people love the fact it creates such an atmospheric feel to it all. The verse by Kanye comes across as more like poetry than anything else, and it gives a sense of complexity to the creation of the track while delivering solid messages that are dark and yet simple in their approach at the same time.
What we love about this track is more the build-up to the final verse delivered by Kanye. The beat pumps you up before he blasts in and hits you with a punchy performance that leaves you feeling breathless. Also, the use of strings to build that momentum is outstanding, and it’s further proof of his excellence and his ability to create stunning songs that deliver time and time again.
17. On Sight
This track really set the tone for his album Yeezus, and you will understand how it gave the album such a powerful platform to work from after just the first listen to the song. First, there’s the beat. It’s quite simply one of the coolest beats around, and it pumps through the song while Kanye then adds his own twist to the lyrics, leaving you sitting there in admiration at his excellence as an artist.
18. We Don’t Care
One thing we cannot understand is why this track is so often underrated because it’s excellent. The imagery he creates throughout the song effectively guides you through a part of his life, and that is a fantastic talent for him to have. But there is a contradiction. The beat is happy, and yet the message is sad, and that makes you sit there and really think about everything he has to say, which is cool.
This song has something of a grand feel to it, but one of the best things about the track is the sample from Daft Punk. It adds a layer of coolness to the song that would have otherwise been missing. The beat is absolutely thumping from the initial drop, and Kanye blasts into the track with his usual style, leading to yet another classic hit from him.
This track is slightly different from the norm for Kanye as it comes with a bit more of a sinister feel to the beat. The intricacy behind the song is evident with different layers brought into it, with him pumping out his verses above everything else. The hook is insane, as are the vocals that supplement him delivering an aptly named track.
You cannot help but notice the introduction of autotune in this track, but Kanye has used it in a clever way that stops it from annoying you. Often viewed as being ahead of its time, it pushed the bar for modern rap even higher than ever before, and that’s an amazing thing for him to have achieved. However, the song is slightly dark in its approach, and there’s a touch of sadness incorporated, which makes this track one you need to think about as you listen to the message.
22. I Am a God
Taken from his sixth album, this track is one that flies at you with a sense of absolute arrogance in the way Kanye delivers to you. It’s hard-hitting while the beat thumps through the song with some real ferocity behind it. The track is a real blaster from beginning to end, and even though it comes across as a bit of bragging, there’s no doubt the rapper has the talent to cope with his boasts.
Kanye pops up on this track by Slum Village, and it’s clear he takes the song to another level even just by almost contributing his sheer presence. Thanks to him, it’s probably the best track that Slum Village has produced. There is a bit of gentleness to this song, but it still has enough raw emotion to make you sit up and take notice.
This is another booming track by Kanye, but one of the best things is the appearance of Big Sean, who delivers an incredible performance. With a hint of trap music included, it bounces around with an impressive hook and a beat that carries enough energy you cannot help but be suckered into it all. As always, he gives a sterling performance and is yet another example of how this guy manages to constantly produce high-quality songs.
25. Good Life
Also featuring T-Pain, what you get with this track is something that has more of a synth and pop feel to it. This helps contribute to more of an uplifting and happy song throughout, and it just sort of makes you feel good when listening to it. The composition is balanced and controlled while the energy from it is infectious, and who wouldn’t want more of that sort of energy?
26. No Church in the Wild
This song with Jay-Z is another fantastic example of what can happen when two like-minded artists pull together. We love how the start of the track comes with a beat and bassline that helps to build a sense of tension, and then the song erupts into life. But then, throughout the track is a sort of soulfulness about it all, and that feeling of serenity seeps through, leaving you feeling in a better place after it.
27. 30 Hours
This track is one people often miss out on when checking out what Kanye has to offer, and that’s a shame. What you have here is a song that comes with one of the smoothest beats you will ever experience, and then he swaggers in doing his thing and delivering some stunning bars with an amazing flow. It’s almost like a work of art, and once it’s over, you will wonder why you’ve never listened to this track before.
28. So Appalled
Kanye delves into a deeper and darker approach here with this track, and yet he still manages to deliver his message with a serious punch. He comes across as quite somber and as if there’s a whole lot on his mind before he lets that emotion and feelings burst out, leaving you under no illusion of how he is feeling. If you want to listen to a song that has some heavy emotion included, then this track is probably perfect for you.
29. Two Words
One thing stands out above all others with this track, and it’s the passion that has gone into its development. The song is kept nice and simple, but the power behind the verses is something you cannot ignore. As one of his earlier tracks, it’s fantastic to discover just how much talent he had from the outset, and this song is a perfect example of that.
30. Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Kanye raps alongside Jay-Z once again in this song, with the two of them displaying their ample skills in perfect harmony. The flow between the two is outstanding, and there’s more than enough passion and emotion to get you thinking about the message. Even the track itself has a sort of luxurious feel to it all, which is no surprise when you think about the subject. It’s an outstanding piece from two artists at the top of their game.
31. Ghost Town
Recorded in 2018, this track is astonishing as it packs in so much emotion in the one song that you know means a lot to Kanye. It feels powerful from the outset and takes you on an emotional rollercoaster showing no sign of stopping. With enough of a punch in his delivery, he knows how to hit hard, and he doesn’t hold back on this track.
32. This Way
Kanye pops up in this track by Distilled Peoples, and his appearance certainly gives the song a whole different flavor. With a cool beat helping pull him through the track, it just feels like he was having fun with its creation compared to other songs he has produced under his own name. We love it as it just comes across as different, and he is the king of creating something different.
33. Heard ‘Em Say
Complete with a piano solo and a heavy beat that resonates with the lyrics, this song is a masterpiece and has to be one of the best tracks Kanye has ever produced. There is something of a melancholy approach to the song that offers enough to force you into thinking carefully about what it has to offer. We think you need to give yourself time to examine the lyrics and the meaning behind them to do this track justice.
34. The Glory
What is impressive about this song is just how happy it sounds. It would probably lay claim to one of the happiest hip hop tracks ever, and you will understand what we mean from the very first listen. Kanye is just throwing out so much of a positive vibe that you cannot help but feel it yourself. It’s packed so full of happiness that it’s the sort of song that will lift your spirits no matter what is going on.
35. All of the Lights
This track includes contributions from the likes of Rihanna and Fergi, so there is some added star power for you. But that’s not the only reason why we included this song. It’s also full of stunning instrumentals, and the words will hit home hard. Then, there’s the delivery because Kanye knows how to use a beat and get the maximum out of it, and that’s exactly what happens here. It’s an absolute joy to listen to.
36. Devil in a New Dress
Including a simply stunning guitar solo, Kanye delivers yet another memorable song here with this track from 2010. His ability to compose staggering verses with added layers of complexity that still mean the words blow your mind, and yet, he does this repeatedly. This song is another example of that, and don’t be surprised if you put it on repeat.
This song actually includes Chris Martin from Coldplay on piano, and that’s a collaboration you probably never expected. Yet, there’s a certain cuteness about this track, and the hook by Martin is a real highlight. But over and above everything else, you have Kanye doing what he does best: delivering solid lyrics throughout the song.
38. Hey Mama
This track started off as one dedicated to his mother, but the emotion contained within it is mind-blowing. This is a hip hop song that has the ability to produce tears, as there’s a sense of rawness in the track that is impossible to ignore. This shows how he is a fantastic songwriter, and his ability to express himself in such a way helps make him one of the best artists out there.
39. Touch the Sky
The song focuses on how Kanye had to struggle at first, so it’s quite introspective in that part. It does mean it brings with it a sense of sadness and anger, but it also incorporates a positive message to prevent you from feeling so depressed. This balance in the message and its delivery is the perfect example of how he plays with our emotions and is a master at doing so.
40. Jesus Walks
This song represents another masterpiece by Kanye, and there is something that is undoubtedly anthemic about his entire approach. It builds and has such a large presence in the track that you cannot miss it. He is brilliant as he drills over his message leading to you feeling as if he has pushed his words deep into your brain. It’s incredible and is rightfully one of his all-time most-loved songs.
41. Slow Jamz
We love this track because it makes you want to go back to the old days of hip hop, as that’s the vibe it gives off as soon as those first few beats hit. With his bars, Kanye shows he is the master at what he does with such a hypnotic flow that leaves you sitting open-mouthed as you try to absorb what just happened. If you have never listened to this song before, then make sure you change that ASAP.
42. Bound 2
One of the standout things with this track has to be the sampling that goes on. By introducing gospel vocals into the song, Kanye is, once again, doing his own thing in his own unique way. But that’s not all we love about this. He goes old-school with his verse and delivery, and when that’s combined with a seriously good bassline in the verse, you have a track that has the ability to almost play mental tricks on you as your brain tries to grasp everything that is going on.
43. Blame Game
With vocals by John Legend, you just know this track is going to be good, and it’s just not letting you down. We love the way Kanye manages to move effortlessly between a softer side in this song and then some real anger and aggression in even just the following line. It plays with your understanding of the track, but we don’t mind that because it encourages you to really listen and pay attention.
44. Wash Us in the Blood
This song is intense, and that’s certainly the vibe you get throughout. In the track, Kanye strips everything back to basics, and yet he still manages to capture his own aggression and add it to the song. You feel every single part of his emotion during the piece, and he’s helped along by the beat giving off those exact same vibes. By the end, you feel exhausted by it all but excited about what you just witnessed. It’s yet another example of how he can take us on a journey through his pieces.
45. Send it Up
This track comes with something of a party appeal to it, and that’s thanks to the beat that strikes you as soon as the song bursts to life. The beat comes with a jarring effect and helps add to the overall atmosphere of the song. As usual, Kanye has a lot to say, and he fires out his bars with the customary confidence you expect from him, leading you through the track with so much ease that you suddenly find yourself at the end and wonder how you got there. It’s entirely mesmeric, and you may feel yourself hitting repeat just to soak up more of the energy that comes through the song.
In this track, you feel as if Kanye has reached down into the absolute depths of his soul to then bring up this classic. The pain and anguish will become apparent from the outset, and you cannot help but even feel sorry for the guy as he carves his way through the verses. This song is insanely meaningful to him, and he makes that so apparent that it will end up having the same impact on you as it did on him. The vibe and beat through this track clearly inspire him to divulge his soul, and it results in a potent song that will strike a chord for so many people.
47. Ni**as in Paris
Performed with Jay-Z, this song is understandably viewed as being highly addictive. Created in Paris, there is a real rawness to it all as the duo blast their way through the track. It feels rough around the edges at times, but that has to be part of the overall appeal of the song, and it’s undoubtedly a key reason why we love it so much. These pair work so well together, and any time they do a collaboration, it means it’s a track well worth listening to.
48. BLKKK SKKKN HEAD
The track is probably one of the angriest Kanye has ever come up with in his career, which is immediately apparent from the outset. The beat is very heavy-hitting, perfectly fitting in with the genuine feelings that seep through the verses. The rhythm included in the song adds even more to the darkness you feel in the track, with it ultimately coming across as quite a cathartic piece for him. You can almost sense his relief as he gets to explore his feelings through the song.
49. Ultralight Beam
This song sounds huge, and that’s because it is exactly that. The vocals Kanye deliver are perfect throughout, and the balance of the track allows it to feel as if it takes you along on the crest of a wave. With hints of gospel music included throughout, this song feels sort of spiritual in a sense, and that’s exactly what he wants to achieve with the track. You can almost feel his power as an artist during the piece, and it’s an outstanding song to listen to at any time.
50. Love Lockdown
We think this song deserves to be included in the list because it infuses so many different genres of music into one track. It manages to include heavy synth sounds to give it something of an electro-pop feel while you get some soul from R&B included in the background. Also, don’t forget the traditional hip hop as well, with Kanye offering up his usual pristine delivery adding to the overall vibe created by a beefy beat that resonates throughout the song.
The thing about this track is that it starts off feeling very dark and moody, but it doesn’t end there. Also, people do sometimes feel some of the lyrics are creepy but look beyond that, and you will notice that this track is expertly crafted from a music perspective. In addition, the inclusion of Big Sean adds a new dimension to the song, and you just feel that they bounce off one another, creating even more energy than you ever thought it would be possible to handle. It’s a thumping track and one you should have on your playlist.
52. Praise God
The strong sense you get with this song is that Kanye west is full of gratitude for everything he has in life. So, he wants to put that across in a track, and it’s something we think he does to perfection. It’s something of an actual praise song, with that hip hop vibe thrown in, and he even includes a spoken word section from his later mother. It has a touching sense to it all, and the track is just simply free from anger or any other negative vibe. Once again, he takes his art to a whole new level with his ability to express himself in a way that very few others can possibly achieve.
53. True Love
A couple of things stand out with this track, the crazy percussion and the beat that remains out of this world. This song from 2022 shows how Kanye has developed as an artist over the decades, but it remains balanced throughout with his customary bouncing energy as he rattles through the verses. Done as a collaboration with XXXTENTACION, it’s a stunning return to form for Kanye, with it acting as a reminder that he just pulls together insane hooks and beats that keep you begging for more.
54. Good Morning
For us, it’s the wordplay that goes on in this track that helps it stand out. He has this insane ability to mess around with words that then create specific images while remaining in absolute control throughout. It has a maturity around it, from the way the layers of the song are pulled together to the way the beat keeps everything flowing to perfection. Kanye does what he does best, which is to really throw out his lyrics with his confident flow without coming across as pushing them too hard. It just all feels so natural to him throughout, which helps make this track a work of art.
55. The New Workout Plan
One thing you can say about this song is that it is refreshingly honest in its lyrics and also the way Kanye puts the track together. He’s obviously enjoying the production aspect, while the groove in the song comes across as really funk-inspired, which means it’s automatically going to be cooler than you expect. There is a sense of it being quite frantic at times, but that’s cool by us, and with the energy in the track, it means you do indeed feel as if you have had a workout by the end of it all.
Barry has worked as a freelance writer for over a decade and has developed an eye for detail when it comes to unearthing cool and interesting facts.
His love of music stems from his student days checking out up and coming bands playing in the darkest corners of bars and clubs in Edinburgh.
The love of uncovering something new also remains with him. With an appreciation for music that’s best described as eclectic, his musical tastes range from Eric Clapton to Eminem through to Snow Patrol and Incubus. The memories that music can bring back to the fore is something he tries to portray in his writing.
For him, the voyage of discovery and unearthing something new is what makes this task of writing for MusicGrotto.com so interesting.