Raw. Uncensored. Different. Real.
My friend showed me pictures of his kids, and all I could show him was pictures of my cribs. He said his daughter got a brand new report card, and all I got was a brand new sports car. -Kanye West
I had no idea the impact this album would have on culture when it came out.
I was in college coming off the high from Graduation. I thought it was too far removed from Ye’s previous work.
How stupid could I be?
I remember the first time I saw Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” performed on the main stage at Ultra Music Festival. Nobody understood it.
The most important artists often take enormous risks through their music… To the point it takes the public time to catch up.
That is this album. Legendary. Looking back, of course.
When it first comes, there’s nothing else like it.
With no competition, it stands out.
When it works, it’s originality propels it to be the inspiration for generations of future artists.
This album didn’t just give us another side of Kanye. It also gave birth to one of the other greatest producers of our generation Jeff Bhasker.
Kanye did something else on this album cycle which has always intrigued me and I use frequently as a case study for artists as they design their video content strategy:
“Love Lockdown” was a slow motion, minimalist, vulnerable video.
“Heartless” was an animated story line.
“Paranoid” was black/white and featured Rihanna – No singing of the words.
“Welcome to Heartbreak” was effect heavy.
And “Amazing” was an exploration of nature.
These five videos could not be more different from each other, but they all represent the same themes of loneliness and desperation.
Kanye is the MVP when it comes to creating cohesive works of art. Out of all of his albums, 808’s specifically stands out in this regard for its simplicity.
While each video has a different vibe, they are all perfectly aligned with the CQ of this classic album.
So congrats to Ye… Not just on this milestone, but on still being the bar setter 10 years later. The rules he breaks become the standard for the future generation – freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of love.
I can say unabashedly Kanye is my favorite artist of all time… His work means too much to me. I’m from the Chi, and similar to Jordan as my favorite athlete, I don’t see a new favorite in the future. Kanye is the GOAT.