By the time 808s & Heartbreak was released in 2008, Kanye West had already established himself as one of the premier rappers and producers in all of hip hop. But following his failed relationship with Amber Rose, and the tragic death of his mother, Donda West, it was clear hip hop was about to experience a version of Kanye West different from the one who had made College Dropout, Late Registration and Graduation.
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On the very first track of “808s & Heartbreak,” Ye carries over some electronic production styles from the Graduation era, but his vocals and the type of music he was making was so different. Gone were the luxury rap bars and whimsical double entendres. In their place was soulful singing and a very obvious amount of pain.
“Say You Will” introduced the world to the gray-suit, dark sunglasses-wearing, 808s Kanye West and set the scene for what some argue is his best studio album. Singing some of his most iconic production (later used by Drake on “Say What’s Real”), Ye conveyed the pain he had experienced over the last year and with minutes of vocal-less instrumental tacked onto the end of the record, listeners were left with the emptiness he felt.
Mrs. So Fly crash-lands in my room
Can’t waste no time, she might leave soon
Spin Kanye West’s “Say You Will” below and let us know how you feel about the 808s & Heartbreak opener down in the comments.