The musical genius we call Kanye West has gone through more transformations than your favorite Michael Bay movie (Transformers, get it?), and as much as people constantly beg for “Old Kanye” back, he continues to reinvent himself.
Let’s take a trip back to the years 2003-2007 when Mr. West began The College Series with The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation. Not only were these albums a fantastic display of Kanye’s rapping skills, his return to lyrical storytelling was a breath of fresh air for an industry that was becoming overwhelmed with gangster/party rap.
Kanye West’s fourth album, 808s & Heartbreak marked his first shift in rapping style. The radio was oversaturated with auto-tune tracks in the mid-00s, but the generally-unique Kanye used auto-tune for every track on 808s, which was a shock to hip-hop purists and his fans alike.
The second shift came a year after the 2009 VMA fiasco with Taylor Swift. After his mortifying stunt, Kanye West went into hiatus for nearly a year and then returned to the 2010 VMAs with a very personal and revealing track, “Runaway.” What followed was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, an album that revealed glimpses of the Kanye West of the past.
His most recent shift came with the controversial album Yeezus. Kanye’s experimental album caused a buzz in the industry, with critics either praising Yeezus as a masterpiece or dismissing it as a blasphemous, misogynist piece of work. Although every track seemed to showcase his versatility as an artist, the last track on Yeezus, “Bound 2,” could have easily been a lost track from The College Series.
You can either hate him or love him, but Kanye West has been flipping the hip-hop industry on its head for over a decade now and you can only imagine what’s next to come.