Kanye West is the wealthiest man in hip hop and is just one of two self-made billionaires in the genre. Since his emergence on the Chicago underground hip hop scene in the late 1990s, West has gone on to work with all the greats in the business.
When West first entered the game, he was seen as strictly a producer and had to fight against the industry to become what he is today. Even Jay-Z has previously admitted that he was not keen to sign West as a recording artist and originally had only planned on offering him a producer deal. However, with a bidding war between labels for West, with Ye’s only demand that he be taken on as a recording artist, with the risk of losing his talent to another label imminent, Jay and Dame Dash agreed to West’s terms and gave him a record deal.
However, while West is not exactly considered a lyricist, people are still curious about who he listens to and enjoys. Having done a song with Lil Pump in 2018 where the two simultaneously chant, “You’re such a fckin’ ho, I love it (I love it) / You’re such a fckin’ ho, I love it (I love it)”, Ye has undoubtedly collaborated with some lyrical disgraces over the years. However, having come up under Jay-Z on Roc-A-Fella Records, Kanye knows what a real lyricist sounds like and having worked with so many in his time, it is impossible to write off the rapper’s opinion completely.
Kanye West, over the years, has cited a number of different rappers as his favourite. In a 2009 interview with Bossip, West highlighted 50 Cent as one of his favourite rappers, stating, “50 is one of those rappers that I said was the end all be all of what rap what supposed to be. Like a true iconic rapper.” He continued, “He was my favourite rapper since Mase when he dropped, and when I used to be around him, he was one of the few people that I was like really fan of. I was nervous in the studio working on beats and hoping that I could do a good beat for him. … So, for me as a fan of him, I felt like if he said something negative and tried to make it like I’m negative, it’s almost like if a little kid walks up to you at the airport and is like, ‘Man, I love you so much,’ and then you spit on him. It’s like, ‘I don’t know if I love you as much as I used to,’ as you wipe the spit off your face, but you still play their music.”
However, in the song ‘Bonnie & Clyde Freestyle’, West rhymed, “My favourite rapper is Makaveli, Nas and Jay-Z/Eminem, Mase, Biggie Smalls and me.” So although West never pinpointed one rapper as his true favourite per se, we roughly know his top ten.
You can listen to Kanye’s ‘Bonnie & Clyde Freestyle’ below.
Kanye West’s favourite rappers:
- 50 Cent
- Tupac Shakur
- Biggie Smalls