Happy 40th, Kanye.

"It's somethin' about the way the Nina Simone piano flow / It's like a Michelangelo painted a portrait of Maya Angelou"

 Kanye West in the studio.  Image via Tumblr.

Kanye West in the studio. Image via Tumblr.

Happy 40th, Kanye West!

While Kanye is well-known as a great emcee, I've always admired and found inspiration from his work as a producer.

The following is a playlist of 25 select tracks that he produced for others. Included is "This Can't Be Life" from 2000's The Dynasty: Roc La Familiathe beat is the first that put Kanye "on" and introduced his signature soul-sample sound (with chopped up drums from Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive"). We also find Common's "The Game" (Kanye's "best Preemo imitation" as one writer put it); the soulful "Get By" from Talib Kweli; his breakout production smash "H to the Izzo" (Jackson 5 sample) and other work from Jay Z's The Blueprint; much of his work mid-to-late 2000's work with Common and Consequence - some of my personal favorite Kanye beats; and "Live Fast, Die Young", a 2010 track with Rick Ross that introduced the world to many of the vocal chops, and overall sonic landscape, of that year's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Kanye's 5th album). 

Enjoy the playlist, and please find some inspiring studio clips below. If there's one thing I love talking, it's Kanye's music and sample-based production - feel free to reach out to me via email, johngregory at hpten.com, with any thoughts or comments. 

- JG