Kanye West is notable for many reasons. When it comes to his rapping, though, he wasn't always the celebrated figure he is today. He had some fantastic moments in the early years of his career, many of which are below, but overall, his ear for beats and knack for unique song concepts outpaced his rapping ability. On his 2004 debut album, The College Dropout, he was shown up by nearly every guest -- who were, to be fair, some of the greatest rappers alive -- Jay-Z, Common, Talib Kweli and Mos Def among them.
Despite that, the record sold over four million copies and Yeezy established himself as a legitimate rapper. Most artists would take this as an excuse to sit back and make The College Dropout, parts 2-157. West had a different idea. Despite being a huge star, he continued to work on his mic skills and, by 2009, he was on a par with -- and even sometimes besting -- the same folks who had previously murdered him on his own shit.
Yeezy didn't rest on his laurels stylistically, either. Each album has shown a distinct change and progression. The hip-hop world waits with baited breath for each new project-- can he really make an album with Jon Brion? Can he make a record that will translate into stadiums and arenas? What's this about a tour where he's on stage by himself, talking to a spaceship and some puppets? Wait, he's singing? How will he come back from Swiftgate? Year after year, he pulls off stunts that no other artist dares to attempt, never mind succeed at, and his music only gets better -- we could have filled up half this list just with quotes from "Gorgeous" and "Power." Ladies and gentlemen, here's the best of Mr. West.