18 hours, 251 songs, and all of the orchestral soul your heart can bear.
Today, good people, we celebrate the completion of Kanye West‘s 40th lap round the sun.
Love him or hate him, new or old, Chicago’s multi-hyphenate eccentric has left quite the dent in hip-hop and music at large. So much so, that some have argued that as an artist, you’re either right or left of Kanye, who’s so embedded, so central to the fabric of what it means to be a creative in 2017 — tentacles sprawling out into every corner of entertainment and industry — that it might be difficult to even have a grasp on which end of the spectrum you fall on.
But whether you’re sour about his embrace of The Orange One, grinding your teeth to the tune of his industrial soundscapes on Yeezus or lamenting his disembodiment of the conventional album format in favor of the living, breathing work-in-progress that is The Life of Pablo, one thing is indisputable: the man knows his soul, classic and contemporary. Sure he’s flipped a Can cut or two and dipped into weird pockets of prog rock and lo-fi electronics. But West’s relentless excavations of the soul canon — for funky drums, lush strings or a hard-hitting bass line to repurpose in his own beautifully twisted fantasies — reveal a master-level student of the Motown curriculum.
So we’ve gone ahead and given Yeezy the good old Cheat Sheet treatment, compiling 251 of his available sample archive into one 18-hour-plus playlist for your own excursions on the many paths of rhythm. Hear it below and hit the link to subscribe to our Spotify channel for even more comprehensive sample compilations with Dr. Dre, Prince Paul and the late J Dilla as our subjects. Happy 40th, Mr. West. Wherever you are.