“Hey Mama” by Kanye West (2005)

There are lots of “mom dedication” songs in the annals of Black pop music. They didn’t start with hip-hop, either. The Intruders’ “I’ll Always Love My Mama”, The Spinners’ “Sadie”, even Jermaine Jackson’s utterly banal “Oh, Mother” all predated rap music’s popularization of open-hearted paeans to mama. One of the most, if not the most,… Read More “Hey Mama” by Kanye West (2005)

“Gold Digger” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (2005)

Sometimes a thing that can seem a little too obvious and on the nose can actually work. Case in point: Kanye West and Jamie Foxx going back to the well for “Gold Digger”. To backtrack: Kanye’s breakthrough moment as an artist was as a guest artist on Twista’s “Slow Jamz” (Twista was credited as the… Read More “Gold Digger” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (2005)

“Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” by Kanye West feat. Jay-Z (2005)

The original version of “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” (which I believe was just called “Diamonds”) is fine enough. I love the orchestral sweep of the production, thanks in part to the presence of Jon Brion, and thanks in part to the healthy sample of Shirley Bassey’s Bond theme “Diamonds Are Forever”. Kanye’s got that HDTV mindset, but is… Read More “Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)” by Kanye West feat. Jay-Z (2005)

“Blame Game” by Kanye West (featuring John Legend & Chris Rock, 2010)

“Blame Game” is the song that best strikes a balance between Genius Kanye and Definitely-Off-His-Meds Kanye. Clearly inspired by a breakup, “Blame Game” is a mournful piano ballad, intro-ed by a literal sigh by John Legend. Talk about setting a tone. As mournful as the song begins, shit gets truly unhinged in the second verse. Kanye… Read More “Blame Game” by Kanye West (featuring John Legend & Chris Rock, 2010)