My Favorite 3 Kanye West Solo Albums

I like music by Kanye West.
Here are my favorite 3 Kanye West Solo Albums as of 2024.

3. The Life Of Pablo (2016)

Album Cover Art (alternative)


The Life of Pablo came out in 2016. I listened it to the first time in 2020. At first, I didn’t really like it because it is very different. But then I like it because it was very different. It is an album that was made for a Listening Party. I think the best listening order is the track order. Most of the tracks are not designed for radio play.

Each album is an expression of Kanye, what he’s going through at the time and the kind of music he’s experimenting with. TLOP was recorded between 2013-2016.

TLOP opens with Ultralight Beam which features The-Dream, Kelly Price, Chance the Rapper, and Kirk Franklin. This is not the first time Kanye raps about faith. Throughout his life, he will drop a track that shows his desire for God.

From that point, the music keeps going and just keep changing. Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 and Pt.2 is a juxtaposition of Kanye’s pride and need for God. It opens up with a sample by Pastor TL Barrett about God being the only power. Then Kanye raps about some hardships and tragedies and about making money. Desiigner raps about lavish lifestyle and is abruptly cut off and interrupted by a sample of Pastor TL Barrett again answering the bridge “How do I find You? (God)” The answer, “If I don’t turn to you. No other help I know, I stretch my hands.” While Kanye doesn’t rap anything about faith in these tracks, the music says it all in what he’s feeling on the inside. The album continues with a variety of songs with a range of styles, that’s somehow cohesive.

The album has some controversial songs “Famous” which includes a line about Taylor Swift. The music video was just as controversial. “Waves” is controversial for featuring Chris Brown.

Kanye’s talent in bringing different artists and producers together to bring different out great music.

TLOP features artist that Ye has collaborated in the past: Kid Cudi, Rihanna, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, also great vocals by Sampha and The-Dream while introducing some unexpected features:

  • Kirk Franklin
  • Kelly Price
  • The Weeknd
  • Sia
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Post Malone
  • Ty Dollar $Sign

This album also features a ton of different producers to produce a unique sound. It features veterans like Rick Rubin, Havok, Madlib and a lot of newer talented producers.

Favorite Songs: Ultralight Beam, Waves, FML, Wolves + Frank’s Track, Saint Pablo, Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 & 2, Famous, Real Friends, No Parties in LA

My Top 3 (Hard to choose): 1. Saint Pablo, 2. Waves, 3. Ultralight Beam & Famous (tie)

2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Album features art by Contemporary visual artist George Condo

MBDTF is considered Kanye West’s Magnum Opus. It came out in 2010 and I first listened it to 2020. When I first listened to it, it hit me like a truck and I can’t believe I didn’t listen to this album for 10 years. From beginning to end, it’s non-stop energy and amazing production. In my opinion, it is an album with no skips. It’s an album worth looking up the behind the scenes to see the creative genius of the people behind it.

This album has a team of some of the greatest hip hop producers of all time: RZA, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, Madlib and DJ Premier.

He’ll go, ‘Check this out, tell me what you think.’ Which speaks volumes about who he is and how he sees and views people. Every person has a voice and an idea, so he’s sincerely looking to hear what you have to say—good, bad, or whatever … When he has his beats or his rhymes, he offers them to the committee and we’re all invited to dissect, strip, or add on to what he’s already started. By the end of the sessions, you see how he integrates and transforms everyone’s contributions, so the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. He’s a real wizard at it. What he does is alchemy, really. – Q-Tip on Kanye West

The song Power represents Kanye’s comeback following the controversial 2009 VMA incident with Taylor Swift. The production is amazing and the beat and lyrics are full of energy.

Runaway starting with one piano note and gradually adding more music, the song is fun, playful and emotional at the same time. The music video by Hype Williams is just as artistic and iconic.

All of the Lights starts with a violin in it’s prelude and builds up similarly. It really highlights it’s “maximalist” production (as with other tracks on the album. Very dramatic with tons of vocals with tons of instrument usage. I did not know it until looking it up just now but the background vocals included:

  • Alicia Keys
  • John Legend
  • The-Dream
  • Drake
  • Fergie
  • Kid Cudi
  • Ryan Leslie
  • Charlie Wilson
  • Tony Williams
  • La Roux,
  • Alvin Fields
  • Kenny lewis
  • Rihanna
  • …and Elton John

Elton John?!?! What I love about Kanye is how he works with legendary with artists like Elton John. (He’s also made songs with Paul McCartney) Kanye continues to incorporate different genres of music into his hip hop. I wouldn’t have known all the vocals were there.

I think the most surprising feature though is comedian Chris Rock on Blame Game.

MBDTF features many artist he’s collaborated with in the pastor go on to collaborate with such as: Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Bon Iver, Pusha T, John Legend)

Unexpected features:

  • Rick Ross
  • Nicki Minaj
  • Wu-Tang’s RZA and Raekwon the Chef

What  I love about MBDTF (and it’s previous album 808’s and heartbreak) is it showcases how versatile Kanye West is. Like all albums reflect his personality and what he’s going through at the time. It’s music that expresses his emotions and state of being.

Music is about how it makes you feel and the stimulation of sounds, music, and lyrics. When it comes to sounds, this album is the definition of “Maximilism” grandiose, epic, tons of production, more-is-more.

From the start of the album, where the song Dark Fantasy, opens with a  Nicki Minaj’s narration and starts with the lyrics “Can we get much higher?” sets the tone. The album ends appropriately with Lost in the World and Who Will Survive in America?

I don’t listen to this album that often nowadays because of personal convictions about the content, but I can’t deny that it is Kanye West’s greatest album and one of the greatest hip hop album’s of all time.

Favorite Songs: The Entire Album

My Top 3 (Hard to choose): 1. Runaway, 2. All of the Lights (Interlude + Song) , 3. (tie) Power and Lost in The World + Who Will Survive in America

1. Donda (2021)

Donda Album Cover Art

I stopped listening to Hip Hop, Rap and R&B around 2009. Jesus is King (2019) got me listening to Kanye West again. The minute I heard that Kanye was making a Christian album, I had to check out JIK. I loved it. The problem is that it felt short leaving me wanting more. It also was experimental and minimalist yet complete and concise at the same time. It leaves a lot of room for changes and has a lot of potential on becoming something different like the unreleased album  Jesus Is King II produced by Dr. Dre.

When Donda dropped, it was a surprise to a lot of people. The production was great, the lyrics appealed to old fans and new fans alike. The music, beats and features were great. The most interesting part is there is no profanity on the album. (This is the third album with no profanity, first is 808s & Heartbreak, second is Jesus is King).

The biggest complaints is that it is “bloated” or there are “filler” tracks which also contribute to the lack of cohesiveness which also disrupts the flow of the album. It also makes it long. I disagree with the critics, sure not every song is a hit, but that doesn’t make it bad. It’s like the double albums of years past. I’d rather have more songs to choose from, then the artist omitting songs (Kanye has a ton of songs that are unreleased or cancelled). While I do find myself skipping a few songs, I’m left with over an hour of songs I do love. Songs that you don’t like shouldn’t ruin an album.

I feel like Kanye found a sweet spot of talking about faith and making music without compromising either. Kanye has been doing it since he started with Jesus Walks (2004) almost 20 years ago. When Jesus is King came out, it felt like he was being  experimental but also being cautious with Jesus is King. I think it was a bold move to make and scrap a highly anticipated one on the convictions of his belief. People also criticized his “no profanity” stance on Jesus is King. Donda proved that you don’t need profanity to make good hip hop music which is challenging in and of itself. He also opened the doors for other artists like to talk about their faith. (Eminem rapped a line about faith in a remix of Kanye’s Use This Gospel) He was able to attract other artists. Faith plays a role in hip hop and culture. There are many artists who rap about Islam, Christianity, or general spirituality. Kanye expresses his faith in music even though it may not be popular within the industry and paves the way for others with similar convictions to share their faith and walk.

Donda is not a typical “Christian album.” I meet Christians who are skeptical of Kanye West’s music due to their perception of Kanye West. Some Christians may even criticize the content of Donda for being self-glorifying or lack of overt Christian messaging or feel that his intentions are disingenuous.

Critics point out it’s flaws. Kanye’s flaws. The flaws in the content.

That’s what I love about Donda. It shows a raw expression of humanity. Kanye just sharing his life, what he thinks, how he feels. Not all of what he shares have overt Christian messaging, but we can relate with his struggles, his desire for God, his ups and downs.

For me that’s a breath of fresh air. Today we hide behind a world full of photo filters, where people post their best and the image they want to portray.

I saw churches that only share the good and hid the bad. It’s hard to connect. people felt isolated, hurt for perceived deception, hypocrisy, judgementalism or self-righteousness.

The message is further from the truth. We are all sinners. We express our desire for Jesus. We don’t have it altogether. We don’t have to because we can’t get it together without Jesus. I feel that Donda demonstrates that.

When it comes to music in Donda, people rate songs differently. That shows how diverse Donda is and how it suits people’s different tastes.



Favorite Songs: Praise God, Off the Grid, Jail, New Again, Believe What I Say, Hurricane, The Life of the Party, Donda, 24, Moon, Heaven and Hell, Jesus Lord, Lord I Need You, Keep My Spirit Alive, Come to Life + No Child Left Behind

My Top 3: 1. Come to Life + No Child Left Behind, 2. Off the Grid , 3. (tie) Keep My Spirit Alive + Jesus Lord

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