Kanye West's 20 Biggest Billboard Hits
Kanye West: the narcissistic icon, pompous revolutionary and the man who wore a leather kilt. With a wired jaw and a collection of beats and rhymes, 'Ye came into the game in 2004 with his debut album, "The College Dropout." Nine years later and the artist has achieved national and international success, and has redefined rap music along the way.
From the luscious and intricate production to the lyrical themes, Mr. West's entire discography has been impressively consistent, challenging not only himself but listeners as well.
Since his 2004 debut, Kanye West has charted a total of 55 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 -- the third-most among all rap acts in history. (Only Lil Wayne, with 118 and Jay-Z, with 72, have tallied more.) And with his sixth studio solo album, "Yeezus," debuting on June 18, that 55 is likely to change.
In anticipation of "Yeezus," Billboard has ranked Kanye West's Top 20 Billboard hits. The ranking is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart. Songs are ranked using an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value, and weeks at No. 100 earning the least.
"Swagga Like Us" T.I. feat. Jay-Z, Kanye West & Lil Wayne
Hot 100 Peak Position: 5, Peak Date: Sept. 27, 2008
Centered around a sample from M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," "Swagga Like Us" became an anthem for swag in 2008. Considering "808s & Heartbreak" dropped the same year, it makes sense that 'Ye's verse is filled with Auto-Tuned rhymes. He surely stands out from his peers, earning the title of "Mr. Diversity" from T.I. himself. Regardless of a premature leak, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100.
"Put On" Young Jeezy feat. Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 12, Peak Date: Sept. 6, 2008
Similar to "Swagga Like Us," this single featured 'Ye utilizing Auto-Tune to the fullest. His verse works by contrasting with Jeezy's rugged delivery and adding additional melody to the Drumma Boy-produced track. "Put On" rose to No. 12 on the Hot 100, and became Jeezy's fourth top-twenty hit on the chart.
"All Of the Lights" Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 18, Peak Date: May 14, 2011
Opulence through production, the fourth single from "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" shined with layered melodies.'Ye's qualms against personal and private matters become topics of discussion thereafter. It was a mini "We Are The World": Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Ryan Leslie and others, lending their voices to a song that inevitably became an anthem. (Regardless of its the dark themes Mr. West addresses.) The lights grew brighter and brighter, as "All Of The Lights" made its way to the No. 18 spot on the Hot 100.
"Through The Wire" Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 15, Peak Date: Feb. 14, 2004
For most of us, "Through The Wire" was our first commercial introduction to Kanye. Sampling Chaka Khan's "Through The Fire," the lead single from his debut album, "The College Dropout," retold 'Ye's near-fatal car accident with a comedic spin: "Somebody orders pancakes, I just sip the sizzurp." But 'Ye truly turned tragedy into triumph: "Through The Wire" remained at No. 15 on the Hot 100 for five weeks.
"Clique" Kanye West, Big Sean & Jay-Z
Hot 100 Peak Position: 12, Peak Date: Sept. 20, 2012
It became a mantra: "clique, clique, clique, clique." Backed by sinister and minimal production from Hit-Boy, the three rappers' braggadocio lines were more intimidating than usual. But it worked; the fourth single from the GOOD Music compilation album "Cruel Summer," made its way to No. 12 on the Hot 100.
"Jesus Walks" Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 11, Peak Date: July 31, 2004
Built around a sample of "Walk With Me" sung by the ARC Choir, "Jesus Walks" foreshadowed the polarizing figure 'Ye would inevitably become. Through the eyes of sinners and saints, he discusses how Jesus "walks" with everyone, while also commenting on the media's ambivalence toward addressing songs that cover faith. It reportedly took 'Ye six months to draw inspiration for the second verse, but it paid off. "Jesus Walks" stayed on the Hot 100's No. 11 spot for two weeks.
"American Boy" Estelle feat. Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 9, Peak Date: Sept. 27, 2008
"American Boy" was destined for success. A driving dance beat, memorable chorus and Yeezy's cheeky humor pushed Estelle's first international single to No. 9 on the Hot 100. (And to think that this song originally began as a joke between Estelle and John Legend.)
"Forever" Drake feat. Kanye West, Lil Wayne & Eminem
Hot 100 Peak Position: 8, Peak Date: Oct. 3, 2009
Featuring an all-star team of rappers (which makes sense, considering the song was made for LeBron James' "More Than A Game" documentary), this hit single showcased Drake's potential by having him stand among some of rap's MVPs. 'Ye struts across this Boi-1da beat with ease, addressing his newfound fame before handing the mic to Weezy. The song debuted at No. 8 on the Hot 100, and became one of Drake's highest debuts.
"All Falls Down" Kanye West feat. Syleena Johnson
Hot 100 Peak Position: 7, Peak Date: May 22, 2004
Serving as the second single from "The College Dropout," this song features Kanye addressing self-consciousness and insecurity within the black community, and its connection to materialism. Interpolating Lauryn Hill's "Mystery of Iniquity" and featuring an incredible vocal delivery from Syleena Johnson, "All Falls Down" went way up on the Hot 100, reaching the No. 7 spot.
"Mercy" Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
Hot 100 Peak Position: 13, Peak Date: Aug. 4, 2012
Featuring heavyweights from all sides of the G.O.O.D. Music camp, "Mercy" was anything but merciful. Its minimal approach, sinister synths and down-the-line verses became a must-have in every portable music device, radio and club. Unsurprisingly, the song climbed to the No. 13 spot on the Hot 100, and made the summer of 2012 a little less cruel.
"Good Life" Kanye West feat. T-Pain
Hot 100 Peak Position: 7, Peak Date: Nov. 10, 2007
The celebratory and boisterous single showed 'Ye reaping the benefits of his success with T-Pain by his side. He shut things down with "Good Life" as it made its way to the Hot 100's No. 7 spot, and became 'Ye's second consecutive top ten Hot 100 single from "Graduation."
"Love Lockdown" Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 3, Peak Date: Oct. 4, 2008
The first "808s & Heartbreak" single introduced the world to an unnerving, vulnerable Kanye West flipping auto-tune and leaning heavily on the Roland TR-808 drum machine to bear his soul. 'Ye debuted the song during his 2008 MTV Video Music Awards performance.
"Ni--as in Paris" Jay-Z & Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 5, Peak Date: Jan. 7, 2012
Jay-Z and Kanye West claimed the summer of 2011 with their collaborative album, "Watch the Throne." The Hit-Boy co-produced track, which was passed on by Pusha T, features both 'Ye and Jay playing off one another's luxury rhymes. The Throne took "Ni--as in Paris" to another level when performing it together during their 'Watch the Throne' tour; they performed the song more times with each stop.
"Run This Town" Jay-Z feat. Rihanna & Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: Oct. 3, 2009
"Run This Town" brings The Throne and Rihanna together for a strand-out track off Jay-Z's eleventh studio album, "The Blueprint 3." While Jay-Z engages effortlessly, Kanye West outdoes his "Big Brother" with consecutive catchy verses.
"Slow Jamz" Kanye West, Twista feat. Jamie Foxx
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: Feb. 21, 2004
Before teaming up with Jamie Foxx on "Gold Digger," Kanye West worked with the singer and Twista on 2003 hit, "Slow Jamz." "Slow Jamz," featured on both Kanye's "College Dropout" and Twista's "Kamikaze," is the one of many songs 'Ye flexes his knowledge and appreciation for soul music.
"Knock You Down" Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo
Hot 100 Peak Position: 3, Peak Date: June 20, 2009
While Keri Hilson was songwriting long before her debut album, "In a Perfect World…," it wasn't until its release that the singer-songwriter turned heads with her talents. Kanye West's guest rap only assists the appeal of Hilson's second single with quotable verses such as "This is bad, real bad, Michael Jackson/Now I'm mad, real mad, Joe Jackson."
"Heartless" Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 2, Peak Date: Feb. 21, 2009
Following the success of "Love Lockdown," the second "808s & Heartbreak" single, the co-produced by No I.D., peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 on February 2009. It's sold 4.1 million digital copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Stronger" Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1, Peak Date: Sept. 29, 2007
Don't be fooled. Kanye West delved into electro years before doing so on his forthcoming "Yeezus" album. "'Stronger' was the first, like, dance-rap song that resonated to that level," 'Ye told New York Times. Kanye built the Mike Dean co-produced track around a chorus sample from Daft Punk's "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger." The French electro-duo were excited by 'Ye's usage of their song, telling Power 106 that his version "sounds real big." Consider "Stronger" a foreshadowing of their 3-4 song collaboration on '"Yeezus."
"E.T." Katy Perry feat. Kanye West
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (5 weeks), Peak Date: April 9, 2011
'Ye lent his auto-tune rap verses of "alien sex" for Katy Perry's electro-hip-hop song, "E.T." The "Teenage Dream" single kept Katy Perry and 'Ye at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks.
"Gold Digger" Kanye West feat. Jamie Foxx
Hot 100 Peak Position: 1 (10 weeks), Peak Date: Sept. 17, 2005
Kanye West has the talent of bringing out the best of those he collaborates with. Perhaps it's a case of real (talent) recognizes real (talent). For "Gold Digger," West called upon Jamie Foxx for what is the rapper's biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit to date. The "Late Registration" track includes an interpolation of Ray Charles's "I Got A Woman" and Foxx channelling the legend which he played in the 'Ray' film.
Being credited for the "I Got A Woman" sample, "Gold Digger" became Ray Charles' first Hot 100 hit as a songwriter.
The Jon Brion co-produced song has sold 3.7 million copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.