Kanye West: 808s & Heartbreak

Music Reviews Kanye West
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Kanye West: <em>808s & Heartbreak</em>

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.