Over the course of his career Yeezy has built up a reputation as the go to Iron Chef for down-home, stick-to-your-ribs soul. Slow cooked rhythms, crisp drums, and spicy bass lines are staples in his masterpieces. I tried my best to narrow it down to his 10 most soulful productions, but let’s just say don’t be surprised if there is a part two or three or four…..
10.) Janet Jackson- I Want You
Kanye Omari stepped in to give Ms.Jackson if your nasty her lead single from her Damita Jo album. Utilizing B.T. Express’-Close To You Yeezy carefully measured, added a roux of drums and made a pot of hot soul gumbo. All the while giving little Penny from Goodtimes one of her most lit, most slept on tracks in probably her whole career.
9.) Twista- Overnight Celebrity
On this soul opus Ye turned to Lenny Williams’-‘Cause I Love You. Chopped up and smoothed out in a way only Ye could accomplish bringing soul to the pop charts was his speciality. Remember he is the gap like Banana Republic and Old Navy.
8.) Cam’Ron- Down and Out
What do you get when you mix pink Range Rover’s, purple haze, and a deep dish of Chi-Towns #1 soul brother? A fucking classic is all! Ye took William Bell and Mavis Staple’s- Strung Out and deconstructed it on some wavy shit. Mmmmmm baby. Yeaaaa
7.) Consequence- The Good,The Bad,The Ugly
Former Kanye sidekick Consequence benefited greatly from his relationship with Ye, as far as beats are concerned. His most stand out track to date is from Ye taking Al Green’s- I Wish You Were Here off the back burner, revamping it and sprinkling in some signature Ye drums.
6.) Scarface- Guess Who’s Back
No introduction is needed for the this man. The Godfather of rap and one of the most gifted with the pen.Scarface tapped a young Ye to cater to his appetite for nostalgic rhythms, and did he ever with The Original’s- Sunrise sample. As soon as that bass line drops you know it’s about to be some shit. This is hot butter grits on a cold morning, this is what your soul craves.
5.) T.I.- I’m Just Doin My Job
Kanye dug deep in the crates for this Bloodstone- I’m Just Doing My Job sample. Perfectly simmered sped up soul samples were Ye’s calling card and here is no different providing the King of the South with most soulful beat to date.
4.) Beanie Siegel- Nothing Like It
The Dynamic Superiors’-Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing provided the source for this sample. Ye folds in the sweet,syrupy, soulful crooning to give Mack one of his dopest backdrops. Good things tend to happen when Ye is whippin something up for you.
3.) Jay-Z- Never Change/This Can’t Be Life
In order to win Hov over, the acquired taste that is Kanye West, went in on these songs to become the go to in-house producer of the Roc. Taking from David Ruffin’s-Common Man and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes- I Miss You, respectively. These are the mother sauces for the resurgence of the soul sound, served up on a platter for the Jigga man himself.
2.) Common- Real People
This is an out of body Kanye experience. While working on Common’s- Be we get a J.Dilla resurrected sound with Ceaser Frasier’s-Sweet Children acting as the medium. There is a cornucopia of keys and horns with some Dilla- esque drums to spice it up. He produced 9 out of 11 tracks on Common’s best album, turning it into jazzy south side sauce fest.
1.) Kanye West- Otis/Roses/Spaceship
Ahhhh yes as the old adage goes ” nobody is going do for you like you do for self” or something like that. Everyone knows that throughout his career Ye always saves the best beats for himself. So it’s no surprise when he plucked Otis Redding’s-Try A Little Tenderness,on a bet from his mentor No ID, and transformed the deep gritty vocals into sporadic bites of hinted earthy notes throughout the track. Run it back a couple of albums where he teamed up with Jon Brion to take Bill Withers-Rosie and turn it into the rich, hearty entree that is Roses. For dessert he shows out once again with the way he poured the silky smoothness of Marvin Gaye’s-Distant Lover into his mpc, and came out with the soulful soufflé Spaceship from his College Dropout album.
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