The world’s most ambitious rapper goes for broke
Kanye West long ago established himself as hip-hop’s most
soulful producer, and then as one of its cleverest wordsmiths, and then as one of
its savviest marketers. Along the way he almost single-handedly killed gangsta
rap and replaced it with something resembling emo. With that as the backdrop,
West—now an introspective 31 years old—has created 808s & Heartbreak, a hot mess of an album that’s simultaneously the
most indulgent and most disciplined record he’s ever made.