Why Kanye West Is One Of The Most Influential Artists Of His Generation?

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As this 2013 quote from Kanye can attest, his views on his legacy in pop music are still going strong. Kanye lines up with Axl Rose, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix; Icons that have left a lasting mark on the sound and direction of their respective genres. Although it may seem like a radical notion to some, Kanye West is a creator whose name deserves a mention among these artists, as an innovator, forward-thinker and arguably the most influential artist of his generation. His imprint in hip hop music can be traced through his albums and is reflected in the work of some of today's biggest stars including Drake, The Weeknd, J. Cole and many more.

Kanye got his first big break in 2001 while producing songs for Jay-Z's critically acclaimed album, The Blueprint. On the record, he provided a collection of samples that gave the album a distinct soul influence, using songs from The Jackson 5, R&B group Bobby Blue Band and soul artist David Ruffin.

Early 2000s hip-hop revolved around what was called the "Timbaland sound", a style that favored beats with sparse drums and digital keyboards. But by incorporating more soulful samples into The Blueprint, the album's production sparked a shift towards more sample-dependent sounds within the hip-hop industry.

As author Del F. Cowie states, "[Blueprint caused] the supplanting of the digitally cool, keyboard-driven production style as the dominant sound." The Blueprint helped spark a renaissance in using models as a basis for production, and Ye was one of the main reasons for that.

While Kanye can't be credited solely for the soulful sound (producer Just Blaze also played a big part), he produced 4 tracks on the 13-track project, including Nas' classic diss song "Takeover." "Takeover" was voted the 51st best song of the 2000s and is widely regarded as one of the greatest rap songs in history. Even before releasing a full-length debut, Kanye was influencing the industry and quietly making hip-hop history.

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