Kanye West is always elevating culture. Before he went off at the VMAs, he made headlines when the first night of his Saint Pablo tour featured a special floating stage, upon which the artist performed the entire night above the crowd. In celebration of Mr West’s daily efforts to aim higher and get people talking, MERRY JANE put together a list of the 10 best Kanye West songs to get high to. They span all of his albums and sounds, but damn if they’re not all perfect for a session.
This track from The Life of Pablo brings recalls the style of West’s earliest efforts with a spacious atmosphere and lyrics reflective of the complexities of relationships. Stoners will undoubtedly sympathise with this lyric: “Don’t pressure me with that bills shit / ’cause everyone’s got ’em that ain’t children.”
With the lyric “towel under the door / smoking til the day’s end,” this song, released on Mr. West’s second album, Late Registration, established itself as an early stoner anthem. What’s more, the track is a solid eight minutes, allowing you to get lost in your stoned thoughts.
This popular beat, used by 2Pac and many others, sucks you in with smooth horn sections and some of the smoothest flows by Mr. West. The fifth and final single on Late Registration, the song touches on car culture and the speed with which one lives life.
The fourth single from Mr. West’s album Late Registration (2004), it features a beat produced by Just Blaze, so there’s no mystery why it pairs with marijuana so well. The music video, inspired by the stunts of Evel Knievel, resulted in a meeting between the daredevil and Mr. West. “I thought he was a wonderful guy and quite a gentleman,” Knievel later said of Yeezy.
We all remember those times when getting high felt like getting into a spaceship and being launched into the upper atmosphere. This song recalls that feeling and also touches on the struggles Mr. West experienced working for the Man and being stressed out because of it. Nothing helps such a sad situation like herb does. The relaxed beat and soulful Marvin Gaye sample is perfect for getting high.
When this song hit the Internet, fans were hyped that Mr. West’s most recent album, The Life of Pablo, could be a return to his old hip-hop style. The album’s stylings actually expanded beyond that, but this track re-established how Kanye, when he wants, can still make some of the tightest hip-hop beats out there.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) is a pop magnum opus. “All of the Lights” is a good banger to get you pumped for a weekend. “Blame Game,” which featured John Legend, brings it down a level with a beautiful piano line and pensive lyrics about a failed relationship, which gives way to a comedic Chris Rock appearance on the album track. Above is a touching live version.
The final single from the album 808’s & Heartbreak (2008), this song doesn’t evoke the sort of paranoia for which cannabis is known. The ’80s-inspired pop-indie masterpiece shows how diverse Mr. West’s music-making can be. Play this song for your Kanye West hatin’ friends (you must have one). They will be surprised Yeezy is capable of an indie-pop masterpiece a la electronic Modest Mouse.
Common passed on this beat, so Kanye had to throw it on his third album, Graduation (2008). Its stumbling piano line will bring you back to the soulful beats Mr. West made before his fame for musicians like Common, Lupe Fiasco, and Mos Def. The lyric “everything I’m not made me everything I am” is sure to trip you out.