12 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

No one expected Kanye West to release an album like 808s & Heartbreak. The hip-hop titan’s fourth LP ditches his trademark soul samples and cheeky verses for an icy, Auto-Tune-drenched sound that initially polarized listeners, before inspiring an entire generation of artists with its futuristic sheen. Between minimal, dystopian mood pieces like “Say You Will,” synth-pop lock-steppers like “Paranoid,” and bitter MIDI-flute-laced rap cuts like “Heartless,” this album is one of his bleakest, though it’s still undeniably Kanye.

EDITORS’ NOTES

No one expected Kanye West to release an album like 808s & Heartbreak. The hip-hop titan’s fourth LP ditches his trademark soul samples and cheeky verses for an icy, Auto-Tune-drenched sound that initially polarized listeners, before inspiring an entire generation of artists with its futuristic sheen. Between minimal, dystopian mood pieces like “Say You Will,” synth-pop lock-steppers like “Paranoid,” and bitter MIDI-flute-laced rap cuts like “Heartless,” this album is one of his bleakest, though it’s still undeniably Kanye.

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