This generation’s closest thing to Einstein…”
Kanye puts himself in the same breath as Axl Rose, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix; icons who have permanently shaped the sound and direction of their respective genres. While this may be a radical notion to some, Kanye West is a creator whose name deserves to be mentioned among these artists, as an innovator, tastemaker and arguably the most influential artist of his generation. His imprint on hip-hop music can be traced through his albums and reflected in the work of some of today’s biggest stars, including Drake, The Weeknd, J. Cole and more.
The impact of Kanye and 808s & Heartbreak can be seen directly in the years following the album’s release.
Kid Cudi (a Kanye disciple who helped significantly on 808s) saw his first four albums all peak within the top 5 of the Billboard Top 200. Kid Cudi’s music follows the archetype he helped to create on 808s: an atmospheric sound accompanied by confessional lyrics that often involve the use of drugs to alleviate the pain.
Another artist who has become a superstar by using this formula is The Weeknd, whose trilogy of acclaimed mixtapes in 2011 produced a melancholy sound that accompanied lyrics of lust, addiction and failing romances.In further showing the impact of Kanye’s genre-bending ways, on his latest album Starboy, The Weeknd used auto-tune and pitch correction to create an electronic sound that fit the aesthetic of the Daft Punk-influenced project. This practice saw a much lower amount of ridicule than when Kanye did the same with 808s, as the technique has become widely accepted, with artists such as Futureand Young Thug frequently using it to give their vocals some life.
Travis Scott and Chance the Rapperare both prodigies of Kanye, even if Ye only signed one of them.
J. Cole’s first breakout song featured a Kanye sample and he has professed his admiration for Ye many times.
Brockhampton, the breakout boy band/rap collective of 2017, met on a Kanye forum.
So Basically Bring the GOAT to South Africa