20 Best Kanye West Verses of All Time | Brightside
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20 Best Kanye West Verses of All Time

23 Feb 20 Best Kanye West Verses of All Time

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Sure, we discuss a lot of the glitz and glamour behind Kim’s husband, but let’s take a step back and reflect on his best lyrical performances. Here are the best Kanye West verses of all time:

1. 1996 Fat Beat Freestyle

The original location of Fat Beats launched on July 14, 1994 which means FB just turned 20 years old. Kanye did one of his most legendary freestyles there, alongside others such as ILL BILL, Arsonists, Lord Finesse, Adagio, Breeze Brewin, A.L. Skills, Percee P, J-Live, Mr. Live, Chino XL, Al Tariq, Black Attack, Xzibit, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Rawcotiks, Ak Skills, Rob Swift, Roc Raida, DJ Spinna and many, many more. But what really mattered was the appearance of this 19 year old kid who at that time nobody knew.

“Live and die for rhymes, dedicated to hip-hop
Shit don’t stop
Niggas they wanna know what and who’s next
And you roll up in a Lex
That’s the train stop”

2. All Falls Down

My all time favorite Kanye jam, and probably always will be. Not just because of that video with the girl from Clueless.

“I say fuck the police, that’s how I treat ’em
We buy our way out of jail, but we can’t buy freedom
We’ll buy a lot of clothes when we don’t really need em
Things we buy to cover up what’s inside
Cause they make us hate ourself and love they wealth
That’s why shorty’s hollerin’ “where the ballers at?”
Drug dealer buy Jordans, crackhead buy crack
And a white man get paid off of all of that”

3. Alright (Feat. Twista)

Definitely an oddball to pull out for this post, but I believe this song was the turn of Kanye from traditional to more expressional and outlandish.

“On a scale of one to ten, what do you rate yourself
Here’s some champagne, hydrate yourself
I know I’m lookin’ good, you lookin’ great yourself
I mean you shittin’ on these bitches, you should hate yourself”

4. Back to Basics

Originally included on one of Kanye’s official mixtapes, called Freshmen Adjustment 3, this song was later included on the Japanese edition of Late Registration.

“I’m as Chi as buck-fifty’s and Pelle Pelle Leathers
Some say, my beats made the Bulls play better
I say, black on black is the hate that hate made
Sara Lee with the dough I’m talkin’ bout the cake maid
McDonalds with the flow, served over over a billion
You’ve seen the video, words over the building
Uh, I wish I could give you this feeling, I wish I could give you this feeling”

5. Barry Bonds


“Fresh off the plane, “konichiwa,” bitches
Turn around another plane, my passport on pivot
Ask for it I did it, that asshole done did it
Talked it then he lived it, spit it then he shit it
I don’t need writers, I might bounce ideas
But only I could come up with some shit like this
I done played the underdog my whole career
I’ve been a very good sport, haven’t I, this year
They say “he going crazy and we seen this before”
But I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go
And I’m doing pretty hood in my pink polo
Nigga please, how you gonna say I ain’t no Lo-head
Cause my Dior got me more model head”

6. Better than Yours

Kanye freestyles over Kelis’ “Milkshake” hit.

“I’m Kon the Louis Vuitton Don
Bought my Mom a purse now she Louis Vuitton Mom
Still might throw on a little low arm they want me to stop go on gon
They don’t want me to shop and me spending that hard
Oh my God is that a black card
I turned around and replied why yes
But I prefer the term African American Express”

7. Big Brother

Do we question HOV, or not to question HOV? That was his question.

“You know the name do I gotta spell out or tell ’bout
J-A-Y, and ‘Ye so shy
Now he won’t even step to his idol to say hi
Standing there like a mime and let the chance pass by
Back of my mind, “He could change your life
With all these beats I did, at least let him hear it
At least you can brag to ya friends back at the gig”
But he got me out me out my momma crib
Then he help me get my momma a crib”

8. Can’t Tell Me Nothing

You all know this from The Hangover, but we were driving into spots blasting this before Alan.

“I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven
When I awoke, I spent that on a necklace
I told God I’d be back in a second
Man it’s so hard not to act reckless
To whom much is given, much is tested
Get arrested guess until he get the message
I feel the pressure, under more scrutiny
And what I do, act more stupidly
Bought more jewelry, more Louis V
My Momma couldn’t get through to me
The drama, people suing me
I’m on TV talking like it’s just you and me
I’m just saying how I feel man
I ain’t one of the Cosby’s, I ain’t go to Hillman
I guess the money should’ve changed him
I guess I should’ve forgot where I came from”

9. Diamonds From Sierra Leone

Political Kanye West verses began to rear their heads a bit here.

“If your stripper name “Porscha” and you get tips from many men
Then your fat friend, her nickname is “Minivan”
Excuse me, that’s just the Henny, man
I smoke, I drink, I’m supposed to stop, I can’t because…”

10. Everything I Am

Kanye is known for his piano beats, and “Everything I Am” is a solid representation of who–Kanye is.

“Okay, fair enough, the streets is flaring up
Cause they want gun-talk, or I don’t wear enough
Baggy clothes, Reebok’s, or A-di-dos
Can I add that he do spaz out at his shows
So say goodbye to the NAACP award
Goodbye to the In-di-a Arie award
They’d rather give me the ni-nigga-please award
But I’ll just take the I-got-alotta-cheese award”

11. Get Em High

Talib Kweli, Kanye, and Common have fun on this track all about partying.

“N-n-n-now, my flow
Is in the pocket like wallets, I got the bounce like hydraulics
I can’t call it, I got the swerve like alcoholics
My freshman year I was going through hella problems
‘Til I, built up the nerve to drop my ass up out of college”

12. Good Night

This is another one of my slept on Kanye favorites… Al Be Back tears it up on producing a track WAY ahead of its time.

“Right now I can see it so vivid
Like it was just yesterday like I could relive it
Me and my grandparents on a field trip
And I’m the little kid tryna touch the exhibits
But it’ll fade before I get to get a hold of that
Man I wish I could stop time like a photograph
Every joke that they told I’d know to laugh
Man (man), I wouldn’t let a moment pass”

13. Heard Em Say

I lied earlier… “Heard Em Say” is hands down the most inspirational song Ye ever released, and yet many see it as his first step into stardom collaboration, seeing as the hook was Adam Levine. Well, whoever the star, I live to this Kanye West verse.

“They say people in your life are seasons
And anything that happen is for a reason
And niggas gun clapping and keep to squeezing
And Gram’ keep praying and keep believing
In Jesus, and one day that you see him
‘Til they walk in his footsteps and try to be him
The devil is alive I feel him breathin
Claiming money is the key, so keep on dreamin
And put them lottery tickets just to tease us
My Aunt Pam can’t put them cigarettes down
So now my little cousin smokin them cigarettes now
His job try to claim that he too niggerish now
Is it cause his skin blacker than licorice now
I can’t figure it out, I’m sick of it now”

14. Jesus Walks

Y’all know what it is already…

“Getting choked by detectives, yeah, yeah, now check the method
They be askin’ us questions, harass and arrest us
Sayin’ “We eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast”
Huh? Y’all eat pieces of shit? What’s the basis?
We ain’t going nowhere but got suits and cases
A trunk full of coke, rental car from Avis
My mama used to say only Jesus can save us
Well mama I know I act a fool
But I’ll be gone ’til November, I got packs to move”

15. Magic Man by Malik Yusef (Ft. Common & John Legend)

I remember friends bumpin’ this when it first released, kinda like, “Whaaaaa. I don’t know B.” But looking at the lyrics I know why.

“You messing with this joker but you need a king
Cause he’ll club anybody trying to jack his queen
I’mma call a spade a spade from the start
He gave you diamonds, should’ve gave you his heart, you see?”

16. Never Let Me Down

A Kanye social commentary sandwich, with a dollop of inspirational J. Ivy, on a toasted Jay-Z self congratulation roll, all wrapped up in spiritual and religious elements.

“But in the land where niggas praise Yukons and getting paid
Its gonna take a lot more than coupons to get us saved
Like it take a lot more than doo rags to get you waves
Nothing sad as that day my girl’s father passed away”

17. Roses

Sad, yet beautiful. Stupid nurse. Dope Kanye West verse:

“You telling me if my grandma’s in the NBA
Right now she’d be okay? But since she
Was just a secretary, worked for the church for 35 years
Things ‘sposed to stop right here
My grandfather tryin to pull it together, he’s strong
That’s where I get my confidence from
I asked the nurse “Did you do the research?”
She asked me, “Can you sign some t-shirts?”
Bitch, is you smokin reefer?
You don’t see that we hurt? But still”

18. Rock the Mic Freestyle

This is a freestyle at a radio station early in Kanye’s career. Most of his verse’s show up in other songs, with the (not surprising) exception of Kanye’s lines about ‘Jews’.

“And I swear she a riot folks
How she order all that food and a motherfucking Diet Coke?
He said “You lying yo, why is you lying Joe?
Cut it out, quit it G, you hurting my kid-i-neys.”
Naw, she talking bout a couple of kids for me
She’s hinting at a ring from Tiffany’s
Right then and there I had an epiphany
I swear since that day I’ve been treating fat girls differently”

19. Southside

Chicago rappers make a Grammy-winning collaboration “Southside” off Common’s 2007 Finding Forever.

“Back in college I had to get my back up off the futon
I knew that I couldn’t cop a coup with no coupons
Look at that neutron on his green like croutons
People asking him, “do you have any grey poupon””

20. Through the Wire

This last one is my ploy to make kanye go back to the beginning…

“She was with me before the deal, she been trying to be mine
She a Delta, so she been throwing that Dynasty sign
No use in me tryin to be lyin’, I been trying to be signed
Trying to be a millionaire, how I used two lifelines
In the same hospital where Biggie Smalls died
The doctor said I had blood clots, but I ain’t Jamaican, man
Story on MTV and I ain’t trying to make a band
I swear this right here, history in the making, man”

 What are your favorites? john@brightsidelive.com

John Saunders

Enjoy yourselves and be offended. Word is bond.