• Howard Butler

A Happy Beginning: Top 10 Kanye West Intro Tracks

"Do you think Kanye West is a G.O.A.T?"

I hear that question too much. Whoever said there is no such thing as stupid questions was a cold-blooded liar. This is a stupid question. I do believe Kanye is a Top 50 rapper, if we want to bring the Top 50 argument back. Even with the speculations of him using ghostwriters, he has come up with too many bars on his own to discredit his immense collection of quotable lyrics.


I do not think he is a G.O.A.T. rapper (MC, lyricist), but Kanye West is a G.O.A.T artist. You could easily find fans with "classic album" arguments for each of his eight solo albums. He comes back every time with something new and refreshing. His sound is reinvented with each album, as they represent a different time in the life of Mr. Kanye Omari West. Each album shows the growth of a man and his musical abilities in the pursuit of musical perfection.


Track 1 does a lot for an album. It sets the tone and shows where an artist is coming from. Kanye's first tracks have some of his best songs and do an incredible job of introducing you to THAT Kanye West. Two of Burbs' many Yeezy Disciples, Howard Butler & Carter Ferryman, came together to present to you, our list of...


Kanye West's Top 10 Introduction Tracks.


1. Ultralight Beam


CARTER: 2016’s The Life of Pablo is, in my humble opinion, Kanye’s most underrated musical composition. In summary, Ye projects faith, product and art through three different characters, or “Pablos” if you will (hence the album cover’s “Which/One” artwork). Due to this conceptual triad, TLOP feels more like a playlist – a beautiful culmination of the different soundscapes and themes Kanye mastered over the past decade and a half.


Okay, I don’t know why I’m rambling on about TLOP; allow me to cut right to the chase: “Ultralight Beam” (barring “New Slaves,” “Runaway,” and “Jesus Walks” respectively) is Kanye West’s greatest creation to date. On this earth-shattering introduction, Kanye is submitting himself to his faith – a higher power that has been sprinkled across each and every album in Kanye’s extensive discography.


Kanye is the modern Paul the Apostle here – a man who, through trials and tribulations in the public eye, has held his relationship with God firmly above all other facets of his life.


“Ultralight Beam” is Kanye’s penultimate expression of his faith. The records existence is nearly surreal in nature; a 30-person choir roars throughout the track, accompanied by angelic vocals from The-Dream and Kelly Price – two artists whose melodies strike heavily in the realm of gospel music, effectively fitting into the songs sonic range perfectly.


On “Ultralight Beam,” Kanye is using elements from every project he has culminated to that point. The choirs, the pitched vocals, the sweeping beat, the flawless bars – it’s all here, but it’s presented in such a fashion that makes you wonder how one man could create artwork like this. That’s what “Ultralight Beam” is: artwork in audible format.


Then there’s Chance the Rapper.


This is Chance’s greatest verse to date.


This is the best rap verse of 2016.


Cause I bet that my ex looking back like a pillar of salt


I rest my case.


Incredible Video from an Incredible YouTube Channel with tons of Kanye videos


1.5 No Church In the Wild - *Bonus*

HOWIE: Jay-Z and Kanye West together are all kinds of iconic. Take the Throne and add the cryptic king of R&B, Frank Ocean, combining these three superpowers might just make the most talented trio on a track of the 21st century.


Religion is a common theme across the lyrics with Hova referencing ancient Rome, philosophers, and the Holy Ghost. Following a Frank Ocean hook so monumental and memorable that I can guarantee you've heard it in some movie trailer or commercial. Yeezus speaks on being Jesus-like as he declares that he's formed a new religion, one that sounds entirely based around sex, partying, and living life to the fullest.


The song's intensity feels like the beginning of a revolt, with some of the drum patterns sounding like crowds marching. The guitar section of the beat doesn't make you wanna run through a wall any less. Watch The Throne was the collaborative album that executed confidence and glamour perfectly, with No Church being it's larger-than-life opening ballad.


This video will make you want to destroy any form of establishment


2. Dark Fantasy

HOWIE: MBDTF was an album that definitely conveyed a mood. Kanye's exceptional production pushed the feelings of glamour and luxury to monumental heights. Tracks like Gorgeous, So Appalled, and Devil in a New Dress ooze class.


Is that from a TV show? Ooze class? Let me know if you heard someone say "I ooze class" in a show.


However, they begin to fade in comparison to the intro track. Dark Fantasy set the course from the get-go.


Nicki Minaj delivers her gangster take on Roald Dahl's Cinderella poem as Ye once again astonishes with his use of the Human Voice. Choirs are beautifully weaved in between vocals from Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Teyana Taylor (G.O.O.D, Fade Video, Married to Iman Shumpert).


THEN BOOM!


Kanye hits listeners lyrically with materialism, insight, motivation, and even a few jokes. His pen is sharp, and his delivery is mean. He commands attention, and as long as you have the ability to hear, he has it. His wordplay is on point; puns, references, and homophones scattered throughout both verses.

3. I Thought About Killing You

CARTER: “I Thought About Killing You” could be about two things:


1.) Kanye’s wildly vulnerable battle with himself, finding unhinged duality between “personal life” Kanye and “musician” Kanye.


2.) Kanye speaking directly to his Big Brother, Jay-Z. (I know, this is a conspiracy, but the D.O.A. line and the one about the “wave cap” are both too much too ignore).


For the sake of logic vs. speculation, we’re going to dive into how the first of the two points above makes ITAKY one of Kanye’s greatest works to date, and easily on the top half of his intros.


I’ve done a lot of research on this song. Honestly, that 1st bullet point above is way too basic, so allow me to explain my interpretation of this mentally powerful masterpiece.


In one of my college courses last year, we dissected the work of the late Carl Jung, one of the most influential psychologists in modern history. Jung’s works all referenced the idea of the “shadow self” – or the subconscious version of oneself that can only exist alongside the surface, or “light self.” On ITAKY, Kanye is vulnerable to his shadow. The duality that exists is macabre in nature, but Kanye takes his interpersonal struggle and paints it onto a musical canvas – essentially laying his ever-evolving brain onto the table for our ears to dissect.


Was that too much? I don’t think so. Wake up and smell the psychology professor.


Honestly, that may be an understatement – words don’t do this song enough justice. Go give it another listen, it’s a beautiful record.


I have no words. Beautiful.

Kerwin Frost has a very entertaining vlog of the Wyoming Listening Party linked here

4. Good Morning

CARTER: WAKE UP MR. WEST


Wait… was that the last album?


Ah, okay. He’s graduating now – and damn does it sound amazing.

The 3rd edition in what I consider Kanye’s intro-trilogy is a wonderful way to close off the “college series.” “Good Morning,” Graduation’s opening record, is a gateway into a project that sees Kanye murdering stadium-rocking anthems. As far as intensity goes, “Good Morning” is slightly slower than a lot of the album’s songs – regardless, it’s EASILY top 3 on the project.


I don’t know what it is about the first 6 seconds on “Good Morning”, but I absolutely adore the way Kanye starts it with a simple set of “UH’s” and a booming, yet simple beat.


It’s almost as if… it’s his alarm clock?


Wait a second... Kanye’s waking himself up?


And now he wants to kill himself on ITAKY?


Woah, woah woah, I’m just now realizing this.


Probably a stretch though (lol).


Okay… back to the topic at hand: THE BARS.


In my opinion, “Good Mornings” lyrics are “Old Kanye” in his purest form. It’s comedic, yet centralized to a specific topic.


Like, seriously – the Rosie Perez bar?


Who else but Yeezy.

You're right Angela, Jazz is stupid!