Despite being seen as a singular artist executing his vision, Kanye West has benefited more from collaboration than any other artist this century has. It takes a team of other writers and producers to make sure his dark fantasies see the light of day.
Which real friends have helped Kanye the most when he needed it?
Number one comes as no secret to anyone that knows how West rose from premier hip-hop producer to innovative artist. Jay employed Kanye to produce beats for classic albums like The Blueprint and The Black Album, then he returned the favor by rapping on a track from Kanye’s first solo album.
The two later went on tour to promote their collaborative album, Watch the Throne. Fans are still waiting for the sequel.
2. Chance the Rapper
Chancellor Bennett is one of the latest creatives to receive the Kanye treatment. West has championed Chance as being a voice worthy of hearing. Both artists share the hometown of Chicago and got closer with each other while working together on their respective projects from this year.
Chance has five writing credits on West’s most recent release, The Life of Pablo. Kanye played big brother to Chance by collaborating on Bennett’s gospel rap track “All We Got.”
3. Kid Cudi
Ye’s tutelage didn’t just start yesterday. He has been coaching up-and-coming artists for years, and his first major protege was Kid Cudi. Cudi contributed heavily to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by providing vocals on tracks like “Gorgeous” and “All of the Lights.” The artist has since ventured into acting and other creative ventures.
Despite a recent tweet that Cudi sent with Kanye’s name in it, the two are rumored to have made up, and fans await their next collaboration.
4. Kim Kardashian
If Kanye sees his life as a work of art, then who else would play his co-star other than Kim Kardashian? The pair has created two children together, and since Kanye has married Kim his musical style has changed significantly.
Kardashian has also appeared in West’s music videos, most notably the “Bound 2” video that featured the lovers on a motorcycle riding through an idyllic landscape. Mrs. Kardashian-West was also featured in Kanye’s music video for “Famous.”
This year, Kanye has been name-dropping Drake a lot more casually in conversation. West said that Drake spent a lot of time with Kanye in the studio while he worked on The Life of Pablo, thanking him in a tweet near the release of the album.
Soon after the tweet, West made claims that he and Drake were working on a full-length collaboration. Fans have been holding their breath ever since. As easy as it is to say “no new friends”, both Kanye and Drake would benefit a lot from pairing up to make what could be the most anticipated album of next year.
Kanye West’s illustrious career is proof that every artist can benefit from collaboration.
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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.