When he first entered the game, as a rapper, Kanye West was a breath of fresh air. At a time when the hip hop landscape was dominated by hardcore and “gangsta” rap. Kanye West restored the conscience to hip hop, with his back-to-back hits, “All Falls Down” and “Jesus Walks.” These singles were immediately followed by his debut album, The College Dropout.
In 2004, Kanye West was the breakout new artist and he was praised for his lyrical ability. Eight years later, Kanye West is still one of the most-popular rappers in the game. Most-recently, Kanye West released his Watch the Throne album with Jay-Z. The album continued a sharp change in Kanye West’s style, which has gone from socially-conscious to materialistic.
Last night, MTVs’s “braintrust” at the “Hottest MCs in the Game” discussed the change in Kanye West, which led to the lyrics he rapped on his last album. One critic said Kanye West has declined, lyrically, since the release of his debut album. While Kanye West’s subject matter has changed, West, in the eyes of many, is still one of the top lyricists in the game.
Those who favor socially-conscious rap over the materialistic flows of Jay-Z have been very disappointed in Kanye West. Over the past eight years, Kanye West has slowly changed from more of a Lupe Fiasco-type rapper, to becoming more of a Jay-Z-type rapper, with a socially-conscious edge. There are some who praise Kanye West for adding the materialistic element, while maintaining the social conscious, which initially made him famous.
Does adding materialistic flows to his arsenal make Kanye West less of a lyricist than he was in 2004?