Kanye West. Is he a genius or a madman? A god or a demon? Whatever side you choose to sit of the great Kanye divide, numbers don’t lie, and Kanye West is one of the most favored and critically-acclaimed hip-hop acts of all time.
Remember that time he rapped “DJs need to listen to the models, you ain’t got no f-ckin Yeezy in your Serato?” That was six years ago, seemingly a lifetime in pop culture news, and DJs have certainly learned to keep Mr. West’s records on the quick draw. The dance electronic world has really adopted him as one of their own, and in many ways, he is. 808s and Heartbreaks, anyone?
His trap hits seem to be the most popular for the rework, but sometimes, his tender moments get taken for a spin. Here list of the 10 best Kanye West songs remixed.
Kanye West – “Four Five Seconds” – Afrojack Remix
Kanye West once called himself a “black Beatle,” (yes, long before Rae Sremmurd), then he turned around and made a track with Paul McCartney. Actually, he made a few, but this one features Rihanna and garnered a fun, laidback, summery vibe from Afrojack. This might be the most poolside groove Afrojack has ever recorded.
Kanye West – “Flashing Lights” – T/W/R/K Remix
The Graduation favorite gets 10CCs of pure beat injection. It’s not Chicago footwork, but you can still do the running man if you want to. They put Yeezy’s sleezy lyric on repeat and have a grand old time toying with Dwele‘s pitch.
Kanye West – “New Slaves” – DJ Snake Remix
The original version of Kanye West’s song hit the world like a sniper. DJ Snake leaves its initial impact intact. The French producer lets Yeezy’s powerful words hang in the air before strappin’ the song with machine-gun snare and leg-wobblin bass lines.
There are probably thousands of “Mercy” remixes out there. It was one of the biggest songs of 2012, hip-hop or otherwise. It’s dark, minimal, and mean, and our favorite rework is this sinister rave synth take from trap-dance gods RL Grime and Salva.
Kanye West – “Cold” – Lunice Remix
They don’t want Lunice to make a cold-ass remix of Kanye West’s song with DJ Khaled, so Lunice is going to make a track so cold, you need Theraflu. This is a rip from a Boiler Room set, and it’s going to have to do. They are real triflin’, these days.
Kanye West – “All The Lights” – Pretty Lights Remix
Imagine how stoked Pretty Lights was when Kanye West’s song came out with a title that practically begged him to work his magic? The experimental producer turns the drums up to 11 and fills the air with percussive synths. You can really hear his affinity for live instrumentation in this unreleased 2011 gem – not that there isn’t plenty of electronic weirdness to go around.
Kanye West – “Say You Will” – Ryan Hemsworth Remix
808s and Heartbreak was a visionary release, even if it left many scratching their heads like “wait, what?” Looking back, it’s easy to see how influential West’s saddest LP has truly been on the music world, and this Ryan Hemsworth remix from 2012 helps accentuate that fact.
Kanye West – “I Won” – Louis Futon Remix
Kanye made this joint with Future, and Louis Futon made this remix with heaps of future bass. It’s cute and airy, just like a stereotypical trophy wife. You’ll wanna cuff this track, take it out on the town, and show it off.
Kanye West – “Stronger” – A-Trak Remix
A-Trak and Kanye have a long working history. He’s recorded scratches for his beats and traveled as West’s official tour DJ ever since the rapper happened upon his performance in a London record store. A-Trak initially expressed doubts that Kanye should even mess with Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” it being a generational anthem that wasn’t yet 10 years old, but it worked out in Kanye’s favor big time, and A-Trak was a real pal on the wicked remix.
Kanye West – “New Slaves Routine” – Craze Remix
Is it cheating to put a turntable routine on remix roundup? Nah, because Craze spent decades honing his craft to get this good. A live Kanye West remix is a Kanye West remix, nonetheless, and this is stupid dumb cool. Funfact: Craze toured with Kanye for his Glow in the Dark tour as A-Trak’s fill-in when the latter was busy handling Fool’s Gold affairs. Big up the dopeness.
Kanye West – “All of the Lights” (Alexander Lewis & Brasstracks Cover)
When you think “All of the Lights,” the first thing that comes to mind is most likely that horn line. The beat is undeniable, and Brasstracks is the perfect group to bring that funk to life in a new dimension. It’s an instrumental take with a hefty electronic backbeat provided by Mr. Lewis. You already know the words anyway. Let the trumpets take it home.
Pharrell, Kanye West – “Number One” (Sam Gellaitry Remix)
It’s so unfair and unreasonable, but it’s also so necessary. Sam Gellaitry gives “Number One” a space-age disco funk remix that’ll have you ice skating on Saturn’s rings. It’s a rhythmic take, so go ahead and get your cocky strut on.