15. "Power" by Kanye West
14. "Drive Slow" by Kanye West
13. "Make Her Say" by Kid Cudi
12. "Flashing Lights" by Kanye West
11. "Dreams" by Game
10. "Let The Beat Build" by Lil Wayne
An extremely fitting title, as this Kanye West production is infectious as it steadily builds, allowing Weezy to constantly switch up his flow to keep pace. One of the standouts on Carter 3, "LTBB" is reminiscent of the soulful sampling 'Ye was using during his College Dropout and Late Registration era work.
9. "Amazing" by Kanye West
While severely underappreciated and over-criticized at the time, Kanye's 808s & Heartbreaks was far ahead of its time, in concept and production. Little did we know at the time, but this kind of song would go on to be the norm in 2014, with artists like Future and Chief Keef incorporating melody and synthy vocal effects into their gritty rhymes. This song in particular is subdued in its veracity, while still getting across its braggadocious point with chest-beating thumps and primal grunts. Plus, who can forget the 'Ye-Hawk?
8. "Overnight Celebrity" by Twista
Yeezy is known for his incredible snare work, and they slap on this Chi-town classic. Released as the follow-up to their smash hit "Slow Jamz", the beat is carried by swooping violin, paired with the fast paced drum clap that paces Twista's famous flow. "Slow Jamz" may have been the better song overall, but "Overnight Celebrity" had the more impressive production.
7. "Through The Wire" by Kanye West
Pure inspiration. This song is most people's first introduction to Kanye West the rapper (if it was for you, please go peep "The Bounce", you need it in your life). The lead single to his debut album The College Dropout, it takes it's main sample from Chaka Khan's "Through The Fire" and paces it with clapping snares and these uplifting keys that almost tell the story themselves.
"Through The Wire is the worst thing that could've possibly happen to me, and now it's obviously the best thing."
6. "Stand Up" by Ludacris
Yeezy gave Ludacris his first career #1 single on the charts, and understandably so. "Stand Up" is the quintessential Luda song, with a loud call-and-response chorus, blaring horns, and 'Ye's immediately recognizable drums setting the table for Luda's in-your-face flow. The two haven't worked together a whole lot (who remembers that dope Boost Mobile commercial?), but luckily for us they linked up for this Chicken-N-Beer classic.
5. "Can't Tell Me Nothing" by Kanye West
We've entered the top 5. Any beat on this list could arguably be ranked in the top 5, as Kanye's production catalog is filled with certified bangers, but these are the cream of the crop.
"Can't Tell Me Nothing" was one of the highlights of Kanye's third studio album, Graduation. Kanye produced all but one song on the album and if it was possible, they probably would've all made the list. That album greatly influenced hip hop, in that it intertwined EDM and rap in a way that hadn't ever been done before. The production on this song in particular was dark, yet inspiring, which mirrored the lyrical content. Kanye has perfected the nondescript female soul singer sample, using it to drive the beat and set the mood.
* Cue the commenters bitching about how "Champion", "I Wonder", and "Good Morning" aren't on here. We could have made this a Top 50 list and it STILL would've been difficult to narrow it down. *
4. "Wouldn't Get Far" by Game
The third single from Game's Doctor's Advocate ended up being what most consider one of his most iconic. The instrumental is largely driven by a sample of Creative Source's "I'd Find You Anywhere" and Kanye masterfully uses the vocal sample as an instrument in itself, with a basic snare line and a sample of a male yelling from Mountain's "Long Red" to craft a true hip hop classic.
3. "Encore" by Jay Z
If you've ever seen Hov live in concert, you've experienced the whole-ride-home-goosebumps this song gives you, as Jay ends most shows with the classic. Between Kanye's impeccable snares, the chilling keys, and the horn sample from John Holt's "I Will" cover, it comes together so perfectly. The sample of the crowd cheering just adds to the emotion this track oozes, the keys solo at the end symbolizing the end of Jay Z's illustrious career (or so we thought, silly us). One of two songs on The Black Album crafted by Yeezy, "Lucifer" could have easily been on here as well but it just missed the cut for this list.
2. "Get By" by Talib Kweli
If aliens were to travel down to Earth and not kill us, we'd probably want to show them our culture. When we tell them about hip hop, we'd give them this song. It's everything hip hop is; soulful, raw, gritty, beautiful. The drums are simply perfect and the keys get stuck in your head for a week every time you hear them. Where as "All Of The Lights" is an intricate puzzle of a beat, this one is so straightforward that you are tricked into thinking it's simple. Listen closer, however, and you'll realize its true magnificence.
1. "All Of The Lights" by Kanye West
Probably the most intricate beat of all time. It's a masterpiece. It's flawless. There's so many elements and layers that you have to throw it on repeat for an hour to truly appreciate the skill it took to bring it all together. It's impossible to not get hyped for this one.
"...I showed people that I understand how to make perfect. Dark Fantasy could be considered to be perfect. I know how to make perfect. But that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m here to crack the pavement and make new grounds, you know, sonically and in society, culturally."
-Kanye West to Zane Lowe, BBC Radio
We continue our list of Top 10s, this time taking on the best Kanye West production.
Following up last week's Top 10 of rappers who were bodied on their own shit, we're moving on to Yeezy's production. Expect a new Top 10 list each Monday going forward, and if there's a subject you want us to tackle shout it out in the comments.
It's been a long, crazy journey for Kanye West. From popped collars to bejeweled masks, we've followed along as he's evolved from the Louis Vuitton Don to Yeezus H. Christ. But it all started behind the scenes, crafting beats for hip hop heavyweights while plotting a career that would go down as one of the greatest. We all know by know what a great MC 'Ye is, but people still sleep on his production skills, and we know how he likes to be recognized for all his skills. So we're going to let you finish reading whatever else you were going to read, but first, KANYE IS ONE OF THE BEST PRODUCERS OF ALL TIME...and here's his Top 10 beats to prove it, with a few that just missed the cut. Praise Yeezus.
Be warned: this list is strictly solo Kanye production, thus all Watch The Throne/collaboratively-produced beats were not considered (so no "Sanctified" even though it bangs).