[Creative Source – I’d Find You Anywhere – 1976: Sampled on ‘Wouldn’t Get Far’ – The Game ft. Kanye West – 2006]

Kanye West may be the most polarizing artist of our generation. It seems every move he makes has the media in uproar and someone on the internet mad enough to churn out these hilariously cruel memes with passionate finesse. He has pop culture and society completely divided. His brand doesn’t come with a moderate setting, and that is apparent in the public perception of him – You either love him or you hate him.

I love him. I always have.

In 2014 I don’t think there are any half ass Kanye fans left. The bandwagon is long gone, and if you were previously on the fence? Well, ‘Yeezus’ probably hammered the nail in that coffin. That album had Hip Hop purists genuinely angry and even [what I like to call] ‘modern’ Kanye fans, slowly retreating with confusion. “What happened to the old Kanye? He’s trash now” – I’d hear from just about every second person I spoke to after its release. (I personally loved the whole album) Yep, Kanye did it again. He pulled the carpet out from under our feet and shoved us into some futuristic realm where we didn’t want to go, and weren’t prepared for. He gave us a nearly full album of harsh pulsating almost purely electronic noises, underneath some disgustingly arrogant lyrics. (Even by Kanye standards.) And then as if to give one last middle finger to his ‘Golden Era Fans’, he finished the album with ‘Bound 2’ – A slightly updated version of a track that could have been on College Dropout or Late Registration, as if to say “Yeah of course I can still make 50,000 perfect songs with truly heartfelt lyrics, and amazing samples from the 70’s, but screw you. I don’t want to and I don’t have to because I AM A GOD.” *Kanye Shrug*

What an absolute genius.

But, I digress. I’m not here to convince you of why the love I have for Mr West is relevant and warranted, I’m here to talk about the part of him that we can all agree is undeniably talented – Production and SAMPLE SELECTION. You can hate on his new music and controversial persona all you want, but the man has faultless taste and magical ears. Not unlike Serena’s right-hand serve, or Maradona’s left footer, Kanye’s ears possess something that is in its own league. As a lover of all kinds of music, I have this obsession with discovering new sounds and artists. I have a particularly deep connection with Hip Hop because in essence, it’s a genre completely built on the greatest qualities of its preceding forefathers – Jazz, Soul, Blues, & Funk.

The rabbit hole that is Hip Hop is something I’ve been sucked into time and time again over the years. It always starts so innocently “Ohhh this Mos Def song is cool, I wonder who produced it?” A few clicks of the computer later and I’ve discovered a heart-wrenchingly beautiful love song from the Motown era. Before I know it, I’m listening to Dilla’s discography. Then all of a sudden it’s 2am and I’m on the Wikipedia page of some obscure barbershop quartet from 1933, cursing myself for the sleep I’m not getting but secretly elated with all the astonishing songs I’ve just found.

There is no denying, Hip Hop is a breeding ground for musical geeks, and Kanye beats are the cream of the fertile crop. My brain explodes when I think about what his music library must look like, and my empty pockets shudder at the money he must have sitting in his Sample Clearing and “In case I get sued by the original artist” Budget.

So without further ado, I give you:

The 17 Already Amazing Songs That Became The DNA Of 17 Kanye West Songs –

  1. Marvin GayeDistant Lover – 1973 / Kanye West ft. Consequence & GLCSpaceship – 2004
  2. WeeAeroplane (Reprise) – 1977 / Kanye West ft. Charlie WilsonBound 2 – 2013
  3. Natalie ColeSomeone That I Used To Love – 1980 / Kanye West ft. Adam LevineHeard ‘Em Say – 2005
  4. King Crimson21st Century Schitzoid Man – 1969 / Kanye WestPower – 2010
  5. Aphex TwinAvril 14th – 2001 / Kanye West ft. John LegendBlame Game – 2010
  6. Steely DanKid Charlemagne – 1976 / Kanye WestChampion – 2007
  7. Hank CrawfordWildflower – 1973 / Kanye West ft. Paul Wall & GLCDrive Slow – 2005
  8. Manfred Mann’s Earth BandYou Are I Am – 1979 / Kanye West ft. Swizz Beats, Jay Z, Pusha T, Cyhi The Prynce, & RZASo Appalled – 2010
  9. Elton JohnSomeone Saved My Life Tonight – 1975 / Kanye WestGood Morning – 2007
  10. MandrillPeace & Love (Amani Na Mapenzi): Movement IV (Encounter)  – 1970 / Kanye West ft. Mos Def, Freeway, & The Boys Choir of HarlemTwo Words – 2004
  11. Smokey Robinson & The MiraclesWill You Love Me Tomorrow? – 1973 / Kanye West ft. Rick RossDevil In A New Dress – 2010
  12. Prince Phillip MitchellIf We Can’t Be Lovers – 2004 / Kanye WestEverything I Am – 2007
  13. Donal LeaceToday Won’t Come Again – 1972 / Kanye WestHey Mama -2007
  14. Mike OldfieldIn High Places – 1983 / Kanye West ft. Nicki Minaj, Teyana Taylor, & Bon IverDark Fantasy – 2010
  15. Lauryn HillMystery of Iniquity – 2002 / Kanye West ft. Syleena JohnsonAll Falls Down – 2004
  16. Kay-Gee’sHeavenly Dream – 1979 / Kanye WestCelebration – 2005
  17. Holy Name of Mary Choral FamilySermon (He’ll Give Us What We Really Need) – 1986 / Kanye WestOn Sight – 2013



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