Style: Boundary breaking hip-hop; compare to Jay-Z, Mos Def, Wu-Tang Clan
Top Tracks: "Power," "All of the Lights," "Blame Game"
It's no surprise that the new Kanye West album is full of bawdy language and lyrical content that isn't exactly "safe for the whole family." Still, the Chicago-bred rapper has created another potentially award-winning disc that digs through the depths of his soul and his struggles with faith. He especially pounds at his tattered soul with both fists on the song "Monster" and closes it with a refrain from indie superstar Bon Iver: "I crossed the line/and I'll let God decide"). And there's the usual boasting of his musical, physical, and mental prowess. It's that strange contradiction that makes West's work so fascinating—and here he defies all expectations by including lengthy samples from prog rock titans King Crimson, piano solos from Elton John, and spoken word interludes by Gil Scott-Heron. The music is as compelling in the background as it is the foreground.1
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