The Atlanta-born emcee, lyricist, record producer and fashion designer Kanye West’s fourth studio album was released 14 years ago today. The 12-track LP – which was released on 22nd November 2008 – established Kanye West as the leader of the new-school modern rap mired by sparse autotunes, simple sound palettes and Roland TR-808 drum machine. It was the first such musical departure for Hip-Hop – from brash rap records to a sound that was more electronic and sentimental in nature.
The Kanye West-produced LP featured guest appearances from Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Mr. Hudson and more. No I.D., Bhasker and Plain Pat provided production assistance to West on the record.
808s & Heartbreak was released through Def Jam Recordings and Roc-A-Fella Records and served as the follow-up to West’s Graduation. The LP sold over 450,000 records in its first week and debuted at the top spot on the Billboard Top 200 at the time.
West’s fourth LP inspired an entire generation of young emcees, lyricists and producers. It was one of the earliest releases in Hip-Hop which expressed vulnerability, emotional depth and everyday human endeavors instead of the prevailing thematic subjects of gang violence, street talk and hypermasculinity among black African-Americans.
The album featured ‘Heartless’, ‘Paranoid’, ‘Welcome to Heartbreak’ and more by Kanye West. Watch the visuals from the album below.
‘Welcome to Heartbreak’ f/ Kid Cudi
‘Amazing’ f/ Young Jeezy
‘Paranoid’ f/ Mr. Hudson
Listen to 808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West via Spotify.