808s And Impact: The Influence Of Kanye West's Worst Album

808s And Impact: The Influence Of Kanye West's Worst Album

Kanye's least critically acclaimed album is also his most influential.

It may be hard for some of you to believe, but there was a time where it was considered 'wack' to be a rapper who could also sing. Hip hop was focused more on street cred and who had the better bars when artists like 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, and Eminem were the gold standard.

Now, if you look at present day, many of today's biggest hip-hop artists have added an element of singing to their repertoire, because that's what is translating to chart success. Popular artists such as Drake, Future, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino have all done this.

Let's take Drake, for example, who is not only the most popular rapper right now but arguably the most recognizable and popular artist across every genre. Drake made a name for himself as an "emo-rapper;" a hip-hop artist whose lyrics focus more on emotional storytelling than braggadocious rhymes (but those are still prevalent). This made it easier for crossover success because everyone can relate to heartbreak or family issues, but not everyone can relate to the luxurious life of being famous or the struggles of growing up in poverty and dangerous situations.

While Drake has become the poster boy for this new era of hip-hop, he is by no means the artist responsible for its conception. For that, you have to go back to 2008 when Kanye West released his fourth solo album "808s and Heartbreak."

After the death of his mother Donda and a split with his longtime fiancé, West shocked the music industry with the release of "808s." "The album was a public mourning of sorts as West went through a very dark and difficult part of his life. A little over one year earlier he had released his grandiose album "Graduation" to widespread success, which infamously took down 50 Cent by selling almost 1 million copies its first week and cemented West as the king of hip-hop. So to have the best rapper alive (sorry Lil Wayne) completely ditch his rapping in favor of some drums, autotune, and pure emotion was unheard of. Even if he didn't know it at the time, Kanye had just changed the music industry with a single album.

While many hip-hop nerds, myself included, consider "808s" to be West's worst solo effort, it has to be his most influential. Where "The College Dropout" made it cool to use soul samples, witty one-liners, and laid the foundation for Kanye's honesty through lyrics, it did not manage to influence and inspire an entire generation of artists the way "808s "has.

Besides Drake, the most obvious influence of West can be seen in Kid Cudi's catalogue. Uncoincidentally, Cudi is a direct protégé to Kanye and was even featured on "808s and Heartbreak" standout "Welcome to Heartbreak."

Kanye's influence on Drake is evident both in interviews with him and his music directly. It's no coincidence that on Drake's breakthrough project, the 2009 mixtape "So Far Gone", he raps over the instrumental to "Say You Will," "808s and Heratbreak"'s opening track.

Despite the music industry's initial confusion with the album, "808s" was still a success by selling over 450,000 copies in its first week and spawning hit singles you're probably familiar with, "Heartless" and "Love Lockdown." But the album's true impact wouldn't become evident until years after its release.

Perhaps now, almost nine years after its initial release, we can finally reflect on how the state of hip hop has been changed by Kanye. Everywhere you look, new artists are popping up who have taken "808s" influence to heart, either directly or indirectly. Post Malone, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert and whoever is next will continue to carry on the impact left by West and "808s and Heartbreak. "But not even Drake can replicate the significance that Mr. West continues to have within the music industry.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

Popular Right Now

To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.


To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

What The 2019 'Season Of The Crab' Means For Your Zodiac Sign

It could be a super emotional month for everyone.


It's officially summer, and that means it's time to dive into the watery depths of Cancer season on June 21. There is a different energy in the air; different from the vibe in Gemini season. Each sign can expect to notice its effects, whether they are obvious or more subtle.

Cancer season means you're probably going to feel more moody than usual. Maybe you're crying more often. Maybe you'll feel more dreamy and intuitive. Maybe you'll be more irritable. Whatever the case, it never hurts to know what you're about to get yourself into.

So what does Cancer season mean for you, based on your zodiac sign?

1. Cancer - 21 Jun to 22 Jul


Happy solar return, cutie crustacean!

This is one of the dreamiest times of the entire year for you, but lacking structure and planning could prove stressful. You're in an imaginative zone and you may not feel like settling down before chasing the stars, but you must think ahead so things will work out.

2. Leo - 23 Jul to 22 Aug


Cancer season will find you exploring who you want to become, and what you want to leave behind. With your season just around the corner, this is also a magical time for healing and exploring yourself. Journaling, creative pursuits, or talking things through are wonderful ways to nourish your soul.

3. Virgo - 23 Aug to 22 Sep


This Cancer season, you'll find that the stars and the moon are asking you to rest. You will be faced with many choices and decisions this month. Enjoy your time fostering whatever creativity comes to mind. Do not force yourself to go out if you're not feeling up to it. It's okay to be you and be alone sometimes.

4. Libra - 23 Sep to 22 Oct


Cancer season and Neptune retrograde begin on June 21, causing you to need to pause and reflect on your goals. Change can be uncomfortable, but every small shift brings us closer to our goals. Be willing to take a risk, and let the universe push you in the direction of happiness and adventure.

5. Scorpio - 23 Oct to 21 Nov


Cancer season finds you traveling and opening new doors of opportunity. Are you really gaining anything by holding onto the past so tightly, Scorpio? Set your sights on new dreams, and leave all those people and situations that are holding you back in your rearview mirror.

6. Sagittarius - 22 Nov to 21 Dec


The question Cancer season asks you now, Sag, is whether you'll run away from your past, cling on to it, or do the emotional work necessary to process it and let it go. Appreciate the memories you are making and try not to get too wrapped up in the little things that annoy you. This is a time for experimentation.

7. Capricorn - 22 Dec to 19 Jan


You love your deadlines and goals, but remember that taking care of your emotional health will ultimately help you be more efficient! Trust your intuition, take it slow, and use the energy for play and creativity rather than detailed planning.

8. Aquarius - 20 Jan to 19 Feb


Cancer season this year is all about being comfortable and doing what you know, so go ahead and stick to that. This is also a great time for you to check in with yourself when it comes to wellness and your habits.

9. Pisces - 20 Feb to 20 Mar


This Cancer season, the heightened emotion that is in the air will bring you natural happiness. Go out, have a wonderful night under the summer stars, and use your experiences for inspiration. It will reinvigorate your soul to be more creative and more adventurous.

10. Aries - 21 Mar to 19 Apr


Cancer season finds you focused squarely on your personal life. It's a wonderful time for an adventure. Go on that hike. Wake up early and drive to the beach. You'll feel an inclination to do it all-- and you can! Remind yourself that you are capable.

It will be hard to stay focused because the vibe just feels so good, but Neptune's retrograde brings intriguing messages to your dreams, so pay close attention to your inner voice at this time.

11. Taurus - 20 Apr to 20 May


Cancer season causes emotions to be even more extreme so you'll probably reach your breaking point this month, Taurus, but you are never alone in the problems that you face. Remember to control your temper long enough to cool off and take some relaxation for yourself.

Take a day off and drive around with the windows down. Take five days off and drive to the beach to hang out and reflect. Whatever it is that you need to feel better, it is time to do it this month.

12. Gemini - 21 May to 20 Jun


Cancer is a sign that's all about security and protection, and you're really feeling those vibes right now. Your confidence is running high, as you are feeling more in control of your life. Get rid of the elements in your life that won't propel you forward.

Just as the moon and ocean cycle, so do we. Cancer is that strong energy that gets you up in your feels; it's sure to be a ride.

Related Content

Facebook Comments