Kanye West’s Top 10 Songs of All-Time

In honor of “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” turning seven earlier this week, I decided it would be a great (and controversial) idea to try to compile a list of the 10 greatest songs from one of the greatest rappers to ever do it, Mr. Kanye West. To try to limit the controversy, I enlisted the help of nine people, as well as myself, who absolutely know enough about Kanye’s discography to make a knowledgeable list of the artist’s greatest songs ever recorded. Here is how the scoring of these lists worked:

–    Songs ranked first in the list received 1 point, second receives 2 points, etc. all the way to tenth.

–    Songs that were not ranked within a list received a base 15 points

–    The 10 songs with the LOWEST scores made the list.

You will quickly see that there wasn’t unified agreement throughout, as there were many, many songs that us 10 selected, and you can see everyone’s individual lists at the bottom (feel free to tweet disagreements to them, I put their @names), as well as the honorable mentions. So, without further ado, here is our compiled list of the top 10 Kanye West songs of all-time:

jesus walks

10.) Jesus Walks

Album: “The College Dropout”

Score: 115 | Average Ranking: 11.5

Number of Lists: 3 | Highest Position: 2

That’s right, a song placed on only three lists comes in at number 10, that’s how diverse the selections ended up being. Still, coming in at the back end of this list is one of Kanye’s first major hits, and one of his most thought-provoking. “Jesus Walks” brings together Kanye’s thoughts on Christianity, his strong faith, and his strong opinions on how religion is portrayed in schools, as well as in rap music. This song won Kanye a Grammy, and remains hard-hitting to this day, while also having a killer beat to back it all up.


 

through the wire

9.) Through the Wire

Album: “The College Dropout”

Score: 112 | Average Ranking: 11.2

Number of Lists: 4 | Highest Position: 2

Starting off the list with back-to-back songs off Kanye’s breakout debut album, “Through the Wire” is Kanye telling the story of his brutal car accident that caused his jaw to be wired shut. This song brings Kanye’s incredibly strong lyricism to the table, while also feeling incredibly personal, especially with the moments within the chorus where he is literally attempting to rap with his jaw shut. The Chaka Khan sample is gorgeous, and the Grammy-nominated song is certainly a highlight at the start of Mr. West’s long career.


 

heartless

8.) Heartless

Album: “808s & Heartbreak”

Score: 110 | Average Ranking: 11.0

Number of Lists: 4 | Highest Position: 1

Moving to Kanye’s dark, moody, electronic “808s,” West brings a pop flair to his rap style with this incredibly catchy and memorable track. “Heartless” is one of Kanye’s most successful songs commercially and has an absolutely intoxicating beat to back it up. West goes deep into failed relationships within the track, as he does often in this album, and he brings it all together with a fantastic chorus that remains one of his most popular to this day.


 

diamonds from sierra leone

7.) Diamonds from Sierra Leone

Album: “Late Registration”

Score: 108 | Average Ranking: 10.8

Number of Lists: 5 | Highest Position: 5

Whether talking about the original or the remix, which featured Jay-Z, this song is widely considered the best song off Kanye’s sophomore album. Kanye focuses on the political situation involving mining diamonds in Africa during wars within the continent, and how they are used to create turmoil. While Jay-Z doesn’t go all that political within his verse on the remix, Kanye uses a crazy strong flow and smart lyrics on this inner struggle between politics and materialism, and it makes for a song that is equally catchy and insightful. Oh yeah, and the Shirley Bassey “James Bond” sample is absolutely incredible.


 

power

6.) Power

Album: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”

Score: 101| Average Ranking: 10.1

Number of Lists: 6 | Highest Position: 3

The first (but not the only) song from Kanye’s universally acclaimed “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” comes with the banger, “Power.” This is easily one of West’s best-produced tracks, and it is accompanied by sly bars about SNL, haters, and the power that comes from criticism against him. This song, as well as this entire album, was a massive exclamation point and proved that Kanye is back and better than ever after his previous slower effort in “808s.”


 

devil2

 

5.) Devil in a New Dress (ft. Rick Ross)

Album: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”

Score: 98 | Average Ranking: 9.8

Number of Lists: 6 | Highest Position: 2

One of the most popular songs among Kanye fans, “Devil in a New Dress” has West and Rick Ross combining for two very equally strong halves of a song with a fantastic instrumental to back them both. West focuses his verse on a girl who, while religious, may not be the best for him, as she does a lot of nasty things, possibly from the influence Kanye has over her. This song is gorgeously produced and gorgeously written, and Ross backs the track with one of the best verses he has ever made.


 

blood on the leaves

4.) Blood on the Leaves

Album: “Yeezus”

Score: 92| Average Ranking: 9.2

Number of Lists: 6 | Highest Position: 1

Kanye’s dive into electronic was (mostly) considered a success with “Yeezus,” an album that earned West four Grammy nominations. Though this song did not receive the noms, “Blood on the Leaves” is an absolutely epic track about a lost love. The beat sounds huge, and it gives the entire song a powerful feeling, as do the verses from West. The autotune is used effectively, as is the Nina Simone sample, and these components all add up to a six-minute song that hits hard, and that works on a grand scale.


 

all falls down

3.) All Falls Down (ft. Syleena Johnson)

Album: “The College Dropout”

Score: 86 | Average Ranking: 8.6

Number of Lists: 6 | Highest Position: 3 (four times)

A classic from West’s first album and one that is still consistently considered one of the best songs Kanye has ever made, “All Falls Down” shows Kanye diving into more major issues that he faces within society. Talking about materialism, consumerism, and his hypocritical tendencies when it comes to the things he owns. West brings a load of insight to the track, while also making a ridiculously catchy track with a fantastic feature by Syleena Johnson on the chorus and within the verses. The beat may be nothing flashy, but it fits well and allows Kanye to spit on the things that mattered to him back in 2004.


 

life of pablo

2.) Ultralight Beam (ft. Chance the Rapper, Kirk Franklin, The-Dream, and Kelly Price)

Album: “The Life of Pablo”

Score: 70 | Average Ranking: 7.0

Number of Lists: 9 | Highest Position: 2 (two times)

Coming in at the runner-up position is the sole track from Kanye’s most recent album and one that is absolutely magnificent from start to finish. Kanye starts the track strong with a mellow flow that works brilliantly with the instrumental, and from there the song gets downright epic. The Kelly Price feature is beautiful, as is Chance the Rapper, who absolutely dominates his verse with clever wordplay and a consistent increase in his intensity that is truly something to behold. The choir starts off nice, adding tons to the chorus, then becomes irresistible as they completely take over the track’s finale. This is Kanye’s first major attempt at a Gospel song, and he pulls it off with flying colors, bringing together a song that is grandiose, monumental, and perfectly impactful at the same time.


 

runaway

1.) Runaway (ft. Pusha T)

Album: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”

Score: 21 | Average Position: 2.1

Number of Lists: 10 | Highest Position: 1 (seven times)

The runaway choice (haha) for the number one spot on this list is Kanye West’s ode to himself, his informal apology, and the most real that he has ever been on a single track. “Runaway” is the no-brainer here, as this over nine-minute song explores the deepest into who Kanye is, and it also is truly a masterpiece track that brilliantly encapsulates the greatest album he has ever made. The piano here is gorgeous, as is the bass, and Kanye’s verses are full of honesty, power, and true emotion. Discussing past relationships, the Taylor Swift Grammys debacle and much, much more, Kanye has a toast to himself and warns anyone who gets close to him to run away as fast as you can. Pusha T’s verse is equally tremendous, and this is the highest point Kanye has reached in his career, and “Runaway” is as close as nearly anyone can get to a perfect song. The distortion-filled closing is filled with the same level of emotion as the rest of the track, wrapping up the song nicely and showing everything and anything that Kanye West can do on a single song.

Some Stats:

  • 34 different songs were chosen throughout our 10 lists
  • By Album: College Dropout (3 songs in Top 10, 3 songs total), Late Registration (1 in Top 10, 5 total), Graduation (0 in Top 10, 4 total), 808s (1 in Top 10, 3 total), MBDTF (3 in Top 10, 10 total), Yeezus (1 in Top 10, 4 total), Life of Pablo (1 in Top 10, 4 total)
  • “Runaway” is the only song on every list, 13 songs were only on one list
  • Not one song from “Watch the Throne” was even mentioned

Honorable Mentions (Score, Number of Lists): Gold Digger (116, 4), Can’t Tell Me Nothing (118, 3), Touch the Sky (119, 3), Black Skinhead (125, 3), Flashing Lights (127, 3), New Slaves (129, 2), Stronger (131, 2), Blame Game (132, 2), Lost in the World (133, 2), Hey Mama (134, 2), Saint Pablo (136, 2), Dark Fantasy (137, 1), Waves (139, 1), Street Lights (139, 1), All of the Lights (139, 1), Real Friends (140, 1), Bound 2 (140, 1), Good Morning (141, 1), White Dress (141, 1), Monster (142, 1), Drive Slow (144, 1), Coldest Winter (145, 1), So Appalled (145, 1), Gorgeous (145, 1)

INDIVIDUAL LISTS

Wyatt Crosher (@wcrosher)

  Tim Bizon (@timbizon)
Runaway   Runaway
Through the Wire   Jesus Walks
Ultralight Beam   Touch the Sky
Jesus Walks   New Slaves
New Slaves   Flashing Lights
Power   Through the Wire
Hey Mama   Ultralight Beam
Black Skinhead   Diamonds from Sierra Leone
All Falls Down   Blood on the Leaves
Coldest Winter   Devil in a New Dress
     
Julian Irizarry (@JulianIrizarry)   Jacob Cathcart (@JacobCathcart)
Runaway   Heartless
Dark Fantasy   Runaway
All Falls Down   All Falls Down
Lost in the World   Devil in a New Dress
Blood on the Leaves   Stronger
Diamonds from Sierra Leone   Blood on the Leaves
Through the Wire   Monster
Devil in a New Dress   Ultralight Beam
Flashing Lights   Can’t Tell Me Nothing
Ultralight Beam   Gold Digger

Nick Harner (@nick_harner)   Ryan Flynn (@rfly_21)
Runaway   Blood on the Leaves
Devil in a New Dress   Runaway
Power   Black Skinhead
Blood on the Leaves   Street Lights
Ultralight Beam   Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Diamonds from Sierra Leone   White Dress
Blame Game   Saint Pablo
Flashing Lights   Devil in a New Dress
Lost in the World   Power
Heartless   Ultralight Beam
     
Spencer Newark (@spencernewark)   Aaron Zorij (@Aaron_Zorij)
Runaway   Runaway
Can’t Tell Me Nothing   Ultralight Beam
All Falls Down   Heartless
All of the Lights   All Falls Down
Power   Gold Digger
Blame Game   Good Morning
Through the Wire   Stronger
Touch the Sky   Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Black Skinhead   Power
Gold Digger   So Appalled

Tony Ricchiuto (@SayitAintTone06)   Jordan Zorij (@J_Zorij)
Runaway   Gold Digger
Can’t Tell Me Nothing   Ultralight Beam
Touch the Sky   All Falls Down
Jesus Walks   Waves
Real Friends   Bound 2
Devil in a New Dress   Heartless
Blood on the Leaves   Hey Mama
Ultralight Beam   Power
Drive Slow   Saint Pablo
Gorgeous  

Runaway

What is your own Top 10 Kanye West Songs? Who do you agree with most? Disagree? Comment below with your thoughts.


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