On August 30, 2005, Kanye West’s released his second album, Late Registration, to stores. Years later, Mr. West’s first three albums have held up well, but the second may be the most important. It’s always that second album that determines whether we’re watching a one-hit wonder or an artist ready to leave a mark on music.
Obviously, ‘Ye falls in the latter category. Not only has he left a mark but he’s also helped Hip-Hop music evolve due his penchant for taking risks with his material.
Probably one of the coolest points for LR comes from the production end as Jon Brion helped craft a bulk of the album, his name appearing on 11 of the 21 songs. With Brion’s help, Kanye was able to a host of different samples and string arrangements that stretched what rap could sound like then and beyond. As well, his lyrical content showed an awareness of what was going on in the world around him and him being unafraid to speak out on topics like losing loved ones, conflict diamonds, urban violence and more.
Now nine years later, is there one record from Late Registration that still holds a strong place in your memory bank or occupies a spot in that self-curated, “Best of Kanye” playlist?
I’ll leave my nomination below. But remember that there really aren’t any wrong answers here.