The Soundtrack of My Life

the music that keeps me going…

Big Brother vs. Little Brother

on August 15, 2010

“I guess big brother was thinking a little different
Kept little brother at bay, at a distance…”

so my good friend G presented this idea to me and I told him “knock yourself out.” Since he only visits/comments on my blog when I discuss hip hop, of course he would be the perfect person to pen this post–as we have debated and bonded over how we love H.E.R. over the years. Check out his tumblr page for his random coolness. When he feels the urge to type more than 140 characters, this is what we get…

Just recently, while listening to “POWER” I realized Kanye is approaching his fifth album and is pretty much the one of the top emcees in hip-hop right now.  Seems just like yesterday we were all introduced to a polo-wearing producer turned rapper.  He can legitimately be thrown into any “top 10” debate along said his big brother Jay-Z.  So naturally I began to think “who is better?”  I know what you’re thinking: “that’s like comparing Jordan and Kobe!!”
Yes Jay has more records and has been in game longer, so that would be pointless comparison.  So rather than comparing their over all careers, I took a look at Jay’s early career prior to his fifth album (which happened to be “The Blueprint”). So here is quick compression/snapshot of the two (leading up to their fifth album):

Jay: 1995-2001, 4 albums (I excluded “Streets is Watching” and “The Dynasty: ROC La Familia” because I consider those compilation albums) and 11.5 million records sold

Kanye West: 2003-2010, 4 albums and 11.5 millions records sold

So on paper they’re pretty much identical, so I had dig a little deeper to get better comparison, so let’s break it down a little further shall we:

Freshman Year:

Jay-Reasonable Doubt (1996, 1.5mil sold)

Lead singles: “Ain’t No Nigga” and “Can’t Knock the Hustle”

Notables: “Feelin it” and “Can I Live”

Sleepers: “Coming of Age” and “Politics as Usual”


Kanye-The College Dropout (2004, 3.5mil Sold)

Lead single: “Through the Wire”

Notables: “Spaceship”, “Jesus Walks” and “School Spirit”

Sleeper: “Two Words”

This is a tuff match up, both are classic and are on most fans list of favorite albums.  The interesting factor that separates the two is RD was not labeled a classic upon release.  Jay himself even said: “didn’t appreciate the first one, until the second one came out”. TCD was a bit unpredictable/risky upon release, who ever imagined a producer turned rapper dropping a classic? (Even Jay was reluctant to sign Kanye at first).  No one did, until it dropped and the whole world was shocked.

Winner: this was a “score tied w/:03 secs on the clock in 5 OT of a game 7” situation.  Both are undeniable classics, but for sentimental reasons I have to go with RD, but TCD put up one HELL OF A FIGHT!

Reecie’s feedback: I agree. “Feelin It” and “Politics as Usual” are two of my all time favorite Jay songs. But “Two Words” and “Get Em High” are some of my favorites in hip hop too, with Common, Talib, & the Mighty Mos!  I also personally hated “School Spirit” lol. The influence of TCD is undeniable though. I think Ye’ wins as far as changing/progressing the genre.

Sophomore Year:

Jay-In My Lifetime, Vol. 1 (1997, 1.5mil)

Lead single: “Who You Wit”

Notables: “Where I’m From” and “Imaginary Player” (Tribute to Biggie)

Sleeper: “Streets is Watching”


Kanye-Late Registration (2005, 3mil sold)

Lead single: “Gold Digger”

Notables: “Touch the sky” (1st intro to Lupe) and “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”

Sleepers: “Late” and “We Major”

Some say Jay was depressed by Biggie’s death and his willingness to let Puffy put him in a shinny suit didn’t add to the album’s allure.  It wasn’t horrible but was far from great, it definitely left us all appreciating RD more.  Whereas Kanye “came out swinging like Tiger Woods.”  He lead off with a Jamie Foxx (who was fresh off of the movie “Ray”) Ray Charles inspired collaboration and the rest is history.

Winner: this was a no brainier; Kanye had this won in the first quarter

Reecie’s feedback: I ABSOLUTELY adore Vol. 1, so I disagree with the appreciating RD more. I love them both for what they are. I know its an unpopular project overall but “You Must Love Me” is great storytelling. “Lucky Me” is a sentimental reflective song to me that I love more EVERY time I hear it, “Where I’m from” is a favorite go hard Jay track and how can you not love “Face/Off?” Even “A Million and One Questions” (the extended remix) is dope.  I just LOVE this cd, from beginning to end the flow of the cd works for me so of course most of the tracks I think are sleepers. As far as overall awesomeness, I gotta go with ‘Ye being as I think Late Registration is a better album musically than TCD and really confirmed Kanye as a force rapping. “Late” is my favorite from LR.

Junior year:

Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life (1998, 5.5mil sold)

Lead single: “Hard Knock Life”

Notables: “Jigga What, Jigga Who” and “Can I get A…” (funny that Amil was on both)

Sleeper: “It’s Alright” (Bleek at his finest)


Kanye – Graduation (2007, 3mil sold)

Lead singles: “Stronger” and “Good Life”

Notables: “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”

Sleepers: “Barry Bonds” and “Good Morning”

How could anyone forget the “Annie” inspired summer anthem? There were some decent tracks on Vol. 2 but the album was definitely carried by the success/popularity of “Hard knock life”.  By junior year Kanye had earned his respect in the game and deserved to be called Mr. West. Graduation had lots of bangers and how could we forget that this was the album that helped destroy 50 Cent’s career.

Winner: Jay came hard with Vol. 2, but Mr. West dropped a nuclear bomb with Graduation. Kanye had this game wrapped up by half time.

Reecie’s feedback: I wasn’t a huge fan of Vol. 2 outside of the songs mentioned above, oh and of course “Money, Cash Hoes”–the original and the remix. “Hard Knock Life” was THEEEEE SHIT in 98 though. “Jigga What, Jigga Who” had me thinking I could flow for real.  “mufuckas wanna act loco, hit em with numerous shots with the fo fo” Graduation was dope to me when it first came out (the whole 50 cent thing–Curtis wasn’t a bad CD either, btw) but I can’t say I listen to a lot of those songs now either, outside of “Flashing Lights” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” *shrugs* and I’m still salty he reworked “Home” and made “Homecoming” which is inferior to the OG track with John Legend. Revisiting, it’s definitely a solid CD, just not one in my heavy rotation–that goes for both Junior Year projects. I don’t want to pick at all on this one (indecisive Libra).

Senior year:

Jay-Vol. 3…Life and Times of S.Carter (1999, 3mil sold)

Lead: “Big Pimpin”

Notable: “Jigga My Nigga” and “Do it Again”

Sleepers: “So Ghetto”

Kanye-808&Heartbreaks (2008, 2mil sold)

Leadoff singles: “Heartless”, “Love Lockdown”

Notable: “Amazing”

Sleeper: “Pinocchio Story” (Kanye explains his pain on this track)

Vol. 3 was an overall average/decent album and marks transition of when Jay-Z became Mr. Carter.  For Kanye this was viewed by many as his worst album, it was a “star player suffering a season ending injury” situation.  Kanye was dealing with the passing of his mother and a recent break up.  He chose to express emotions/pain (as well as experiment) on 808.

Winner: Vol. 3 is the winner here.  A lot people didn’t understand Kanye’s vision of 808.  You definitely have to be in a certain mind frame to appreciate/see Kanye’s vision, because this is not an album you can randomly listen to on a regular day.  Therefore Jay wins this round primarily due to replay value.

Reecie’s Feedback: I’ve stated on a previous blog post, I haven’t listened to 808s, so you already know I can’t vote at all,  I mean I can and say Jay but I’d be super biased. Other sleepers on this one are “Come and Get Me” hands down my fave after “So Ghetto”  and “Jigga My Nigga” became a favorite from the Ruff Ryder’s joint, forgot it was also a hidden track on Vol. 3. Vol. 3 had a good number of commercial/crossover songs like “Snoopy Track” and the joint with Mariah but of course the girl in me liked that one too. I only listen to about half of  the tracks on this CD now, maybe less.

Leading up to 5th album

Jay-“IZZO (H.O.V.A.)” **ironically produced by Kanye**

Jay was at the top of his game and “IZZO” was summer anthem for 2001.  Who knew a rapper (and producer) could flip a Jackson 5 beat and make it a banger??


Kanye is coming off a hiatus after the Taylor Swift thing and using “POWER” to address it and his position (power) in the industry.  The rhymes are clever and the production is a bit risky if you really listen but Kanye definitely made it work.

Winner: Both are winners, because “IZZO” was definitely a fresh sound to the hip-hop game (and introduced us to Kanye the producer).  “POWER” is just as creative and makes us all anticipate what is to come.  So they both win in my book.

Reecie’s Feedback: Ditto. I will never forget the first time I heard “IZZO”–he performed it during an award show performance before the album dropped and of course being the Hov fanantic I was I was soooo hyped because of course he mentioned VA on the track. I dug it immediately. “Power” I heard before his recent award show performance but seeing it “live” helped me appreciate it a lot more.  And the moving portrait video? I think its extremely creative and innovative.

And the Winner is:

After comparing stats/solo albums I’d personally say Kanye is better at this point when compared to Jay’s early career.  Kanye had stronger start and has been more consistent overall.  His story is genuine and original (suburban kids’ dominating the industry was unheard of before Kanye).  The fact that TCD came out the gate as a recognizable classic is what gives Kanye the edge.  Yes Jay (reluctantly) put Kanye on, but when discussion Jay early career (prior to the Blueprint) 95% of the time only RD will be referenced out of his first four albums.  Personally I believe RD was what got Jay recognized and the Blueprint was what ultimately gave him the crown.  That does not take anything from Jay’s career as a whole, but in my opinion when comparing their careers, Kanye is better than Jay was at this point in his career.

Reecie’s Feedback: Agree. Also, the collective Jay is what makes him what he is–we haven’t even touched on the greatness of The Black Album and American Gangster. Shoot even BP3 (what can I say, it grew on me) Plus just like I love Vol. 1, I also dig the select tracks from Kingdom Come and if BP2 hadn’t been a double disc, it would’ve been better too, IMO. Most people consider these as failures. All and all, I look forward to what Ye has coming down the pike.

“My big brother was Big’s brother
So here’s a few words from your kid brother
If you admire somebody you should go ahead and tell em
People never get the flowers while they could still smell em
An idol in my eyes, god of the game
Heart of the city, Roc-a-fella chain
Never be the same, never be another
Number 1 Young Hov, also my big brother…”

Welp, that last quote is how I feel (yall know I love Hov).

So who would you say had/has better career when comparing the two?   Can we expect Kanye’s new album to be the next Blueprint? Please discuss/debate…

27 responses to “Big Brother vs. Little Brother

  1. Ms.Minx says:

    I think I agree with y’all on Kanye, BUT, I didn’t really become that much of a Jay fan until the new millenium, so a lot of his older stuff I never really went back to to listen to fully & appreciate. With Kanye, I’ve been a fan (of his work as an artist) since “Thru the Wire”, so I’m definitely biased. And Reecie, u need to listen to 808s, dude! It def bangs 🙂 but I think for some, it’s more of a grower, lol.
    Kanye’s new album is gonna be pretty damn awesome, from what I’ve heard, but whether or not its the “new BP” (which I doubt), even I will admit Jay’s Legend/Big Bro status is intact. At least for now

  2. Ms.Minx says:

    Oh, and I LOVE this post, btw 😀

  3. Sultricious says:

    I think it’s interesting that you compare the beginning of Jay’s career to the beginning of Ye’s. Here’s my problem: you’re comparing 90’s ambums to post-2000 ish. You both make excellent points, but I can’t get past that.if Jay’s first album had been in 2000, his experiences and influences mightve been completely different. That could’ve resulted in very different music, better or worse. Who knows?

    Secondly, most of the “wins” for Kanye (IMO) are because of better production and/or the presence of other artists on the track (Get ‘Em High, for example). well, he IS a producer. But, if we’re talking about straight up rapping…c’mon, son! We shouldn’t even be having this conversation. 😐

  4. Reecie says:

    great point and thank you for commenting, Sultry.

    I stand behind Kanye being a better producer than rapper so you are absolutely right–that makes so much sense. Jay’s earlier works had good production too though–Just Blaze, Timbaland, Neptunes, Primo, etc. But yeah, it was a different time and a different sound.

  5. Cryssy says:

    “So who would you say had/has better career when comparing the two?” I really think it is hard to compare the two, seriously. If we could compare them in the same time frame, maybe — but 1996 versus 2004? I mean that makes a huge difference right there. Kayne already had a buzz before he dropped – even if it was just from being a dope producer – people who knew hip hop knew him. So that in itself created some of the buzz around him. So even looking at the money I think you need to look at they dropped 8 years apart.

    I like Ye (well his music – you all know how i feel about that 7 year old). However I don’t see him having the staying power that Jay has. So when you look at the overall careers (totally) I say Jay is better.

  6. Crooky says:

    GREAT post….primarily because of the talk of my favorite dude Jay! I would have to agree with Sultry that what makes the difference so relevant is the era when both made their start.

    It’s interesting that G and Reecie both like Vol 3. It was ok, but considering Jay’s discography, it really did NOTHING for me like the others did. I even think that I like Kingdom Come better than Vol 3. #pause Yup…I did.

    I don’t know if I have a clear fave for Kanye. I immediately got into the 1st three. 808 took me a while to get into, but considering his situation at the time, I definitely appreciated it more. I’m looking forward to “Good Ass Job”, because if “Power” is any indication, it’s gonna be a BANGER!!

    Oh yeah, “Two Words” was and still is the HOT ISHT!!! “Spaceships” is also funny…especially with the talk of my PT and gankin’ some khakis.

    Great post…y’all should do this more often.

  7. SoleFood says:

    I was vibin’ to this piece until we reached the junior year. No waaaaaaaaay…LOL! I’m a fan of both of these artist. However, I beseech anyone reading this to go back and listen to the two albums discected. I’m tossing the red flag for a review of the play.

  8. @milesfan79 says:

    Thanks for reading(i know it was a bit long lol), glad you’ll enjoyed!!

    Yea it is true that it was different eras, producers, etc but as we know its always going be comparison: kobe/jordan, lebron/kobe, bulls of the 90s/lakers of 2000s. So why not compare Ye to the great and considering other rappers truthfully there was no one else to chose from(Nas fell way off after “it was written” and Big only has 2 albums, so Jay was natural fit. But yea Jay will always trump Ye overall, be he had slow(er) start comparatively(IMO)

  9. SoleFood says:

    By the way, you both should get paid to do this.

  10. Cryssy says:

    I agree with the slower start — But I think that is because of the gap. But Ye’ did come out the gate way more creative and with a BIGGER bang.

  11. Streetz says:

    Heres my quickstrikes

    1) THis was an ill comparison. Kudos to you too

    2) We cant take “eras” into account. If thats the case we should never have a “GOAT” discussion. The eras make the artist and true legends transcend era. Nas had a Buzz prior to being out. So did BIG. They both delivered. Jay had no real buzz and worked to be who he is today. Babe Ruth wouldve been a star in 2010. Jordan wouldve been an icon in 1975. See what I mean?

    3) I think we have to remember that saying Ye was better at this point… the next comaprison would be this album to Blueprint: The Album that ultimately put Jay at the forefront of hip hop, while it had a heavy Ye influence.

    4) My man Most needs to see this post so he can drop the knowledge on how Kanye is truly that dude musically of this generation

    5) Graduation did not kill 50 Cents career. With sub par music hes still relevant…more relevant that 2/3rds of the game. He does it for sh*ts and giggles now! Mixtape music over the last few years has been the apex of hip hop. Few artists can say theyve put out better.

    elephant in the sand
    Sincerely yours
    Forever King

    6)Vol 3 and Vol 1 were like 3 mic albums. They always had THAT single to carry it (Do it again, Big Pimpin, Where Im from etc). THats the beauty of Hov. He can put out ehhh albums and have one bangin single to make u consider that it was hot

    7)Id like to see this same comparison with Wayne/Drake in 4 years.

    P.S. Reecie stop bullshytn and listen to 808s. THat album will touch anyone whos been thru some sh*t

  12. @milesfan79 says:

    after recently listening to all of these for the article i felt like Vol 2 and 3 could have been one album. Had it been combined album(vol 2+3) it could have been on “blueprint” status lol, but that was just a random thought.

    Yea a drake/weezy comparison would be interesting in few years. Considering they ushered the new era of marketing(hype) of hip-hop=”mixtapes”

    lol I been telling Reecie she needs to listening to 808, especial on “one of them” days. Get a glass of wine or stoli and put in 808 you will see where Ye was coming from!

  13. Cryssy says:

    oh BTW I love that picture…

    To Streetz #2 point – I have to disgaree. As I was Telling G – you can’t tahe Ye’s success out the gate and compare it to Jay’s out the gate. There are so many influences that made Ye hot from cd 1 that jay didn’t have. Esp when you start comparing $$ sold. Although it is not the ultimate comparison it is a piece of the puzzle.

    “Babe Ruth wouldve been a star in 2010. Jordan wouldve been an icon in 1975.” I disagree you have to look at all the elements – Jordan/Babe Ruth/Kobe are doing things to make them the Greatest Of Their Time.

    I don’t think with 4 albums Ye’ should even be considered the Greatest of All Times – like Streetz said “transcends an era” Ye’ is still in the same one.

  14. Streetz says:

    @ Cryssy

    1) We gotta agree to disagree. The fact that ye produced first and EVERYONE slept on him… i mean ppl slept on jay too! What vehicle rap wise did ye have that Hov didnt? If you want to talk about increased communication etc fine… but Jay was also out in a time where people actually BOUGHT music. The bootleg era was HEAVY in Ye’s time too.

    2) Jay wasnt considered “GOAT’ after 5 albums either, so I think its fair to compare their 5 years. Ye’s still in this era but hes transcending it. When you trnascend your own era it makes you timeless to others. I think Ye has proven that sonically musically inspirationally, hes on another level. Hes playing chess while others play Chutes and Ladders

  15. Cryssy says:

    let me back up….. heyyyyy boo


    “I think Ye has proven that sonically musically inspirationally, hes on another level.” I can agree with this. He is def on something!!!

    But whether folks slept on him or not Ye’ had access to people in the biz that Jay didn’t. AND because he was a dope producer people didn’t really think it was that far fetched for him to be at least a decent rapper. Also being a producer he was way ahead of knowing what he needed sound wise to capture you. Jay was just a dope boy wanting to rap

  16. I don’t know if I can properly comment on this without writing 10 or 12 pages.

    In short, I think Jay’s first 5 years in the game shaped the landcape of Hip-Hop music for the next 10-12 years. We are just… just beginning to move away from Reasonable Doubt inspired music.

    Kanye’s first 5 years in the game have been a big part of what I just stated. Kanye is responsible for shifting the direction Hip-Hop music has gone in these past 5 years since he dropped. This includes Jay’s music for the past 5 years. Everything Jay has put out since BP1 has had heavy Kanye influence.

    Another thing to note – Kanye’s 11.5 mill and Jay’s 11.5 mill mean two totally different things. Jay’s run from 96-2002 was a time when rap music was the most popular music in the world. 11.5 sounds good – but it pales in comparison to what artists who were more commercially popular than J were doing at the same time. By contrast, for example, Nelly’s first two albums, in 2000 and 2002 sold 15 million combined. Eminem put out 3 albums between 1998 and 2002 for a combined 22 million. Kanye doing 11.5 (multi platinum every trip out the gate) at time when once juggernauts like Snoop, 50, Ludacris the aforementioned Nelly, and many others are struggling to go gold – is way more impressive.

    While Ye’s sales are more impressive, the think the verdict is out on who’s first 5 years were more impressive. If Jay stopped after the Blueprint he would still be considered greatest of all time on most lists. If Kanye stopped now… not sure sure the same would be said.

  17. Streetz says:

    @ Cryssy

    U betta say hi Woman!



    #1 – Listen to “Last Call” and ye’s speech. You will see it was FAR from easy like you put it

    #2 Jay started his OWN LABEL and put out an album.

    #3 Jay and ye both had access to the hottest rapper of the time – B.I.G. and Jay respectively. Jay also had access to Primo, Puff, Teddy Riley, Swizz, Dre, Hype Williams, Foxy, Kim, Bad Boy, Cash Money, and everyone else who was hot in the 90s. He did songs with them all. sheeit he put the East Coast up on UGK! His resources were there. Being a “dope boy who wanted to rap” with the dope $$ to start a label and get the resources needed.

    Ye’s style was sh*tted on. The emo/backpack rap. Now everyone trying to do it. A paradigm shift. Jay just excelled at a current genre. He didnt put the genre on his ass and change the stat quo like Ye… or even Nas before him.

    2 ways to get to Legendary Status: Change the game (Nas) or Reach the pinnacle of the current game (Jay)

  18. Cryssy says:

    “He didnt put the genre on his ass and change the stat quo like Ye…” I hollered at this…

    Very valid points – My issue with Last Call and most of what Ye’ says seems so extra inflated to me. From him I get the vibe “it was all so hard” but he still had it easier than most. He is a talented crying ass 7 year old… And say what you want it is easier to get on when you have already made a name for yourelf.

  19. @milesfan79 says:

    When I did initial comparison I only used record sales as a reference, never used it as factor in who was better, b/c we all know record sales don’t mean nothing. I just chose to include them b/c its was interesting that they sold same amount. Plus, I knew someone would say “well who sold more”. So when picking who i thought was best i didn’t look a records sells, I just listed them as random info/fact

  20. Reecie says:

    I agree with Streetz, Kanye’s road was not an easy one. I agree and say great point presented by Most in regards to the era in which Jay sold albums.

    I appreciate the comments from everyone and thank you G for writing this post! really all the work was by him and I just dropped my thoughts here and there…
    and yeah I didn’t use the record sales at all in my comparisons–strictly the music at hand.

  21. HU_goldenboy says:

    Before reading this post I would’ve never thought to compare J’ and ‘Ye.I never really thought of ‘ye as a rapper per se,hence why I’ve never bought any of his albums therefore I am only aware of those songs wthat were played on the radio and/or heard from others. Upon reading the comparisons of each of their first couple albums, I think there are some valid points. However J’s lyrical skills alone make it a nobrainer who is and will always be the better brother.

  22. MilanRouge says:

    Okay finally checking in. Didn’t read all the comments but imma just drop my opinion. Although I love both artists I’m gonna definitely take Jay over ‘Ye at this point in their careers and definitely beyond. LOL. I didn’t really like Late Registration (yeah I said it) and 808s…whew someone shoot me if I ever play that one again. Sorry. Jay just MOVES me. Even his wackest albums i’ve bumped because there have always been ‘phuckwitable’ tracks and verses. I can’t say that for ALL of what ‘Ye has dropped so far. And if we’re talking overall style, talent, flow…Jay all day baby. Great post though guys! 😀 *thumbs up*

  23. nyhoop says:

    I know I know, I’m mad late…

    This is an excellent post. If I were to just to do the score card, I have Jay>Ye 3-1 (Ye wins for Late Registration. Sorry, not an 808s fan. Everything else was close)

    “Jay’s run from 96-2002 was a time when rap music was the most popular music in the world.”

    How you figure? As I recall, that was the HEIGHT of pop music and the boyband era (Brittany Spears, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, Pink, Christina Aguilera etc.) However, Jay coming along at that time was a much needed change in direction…

  24. I have to reluctantly agree. Putting Kanye v. Jay at this stage of their career it’s gotta be Kanye…however, it remains to be seen. Jay’s last five albums have been absolutely off the charts good. I have grown to appreciate his music more and more everyday.

  25. LaBakir says:

    WOW!!!! Great post you two!!! I think at this point in his career Ye does have a one up on Jay. Both of their music catalouges are ridiculous, yet Ye hasn’t been in the game as long. I like both artist…TCD is my favorite, followed by Late Registration. I really didn’t get into Graduation and I’m not even gonna address 808’s.

    I look forward to Ye’s new album…and from the moment I heard Power I was hooked. I actually wrote about it on my blog. That sample is SICK (imo).

    My fav Jay is Blueprint…hands down. SMH…I can’t even sit here and go through all of his songs that are MY songs,lol. Jay always finds a way to stay relevant, I love that about him. And his concerts are dope!

    I’ll be in the building when he performs at Yankee Stadium w/ Em! CHEA!

  26. […] freshman-senior year studio albums with the one and only Young Hov. if you missed that post click here.  Now that the 5th album has leaked, my homie @milesfan79 is back to sum up his thoughts about Mr. […]

  27. mcarroll4716 says:

    I know I’m late as hell but I’ll still drop a comment. But first I want to say that this is a great post. As for my comment…

    RD is slightly better overall than College Dropout. It was two different eras when the albums dropped and most of us were listening to a different type of hip-hop in 96 than we were when the College Dropout was released.

    Late Registration way better than Volume 1. Late Registration is Kanye’s best album in my opinion (at least, until I heard My Dark Twisted Fantasy).

    Graduation was better than Volume 2 but Volume 2 up to that point was Jay’s most well-rounded album in terms of showing his level of lyricism and the different types of songs he could make. He took it a step too far with the next album and his pandering to radio-play.

    808s was better than Vol. 3. I think Jay saw the success of radio spins from Volume 2 and tried to recreate that on Volume 3 but missed the mark (or should I say overshot the mark with songs like the Snoopy joint and the song with Mariah). But Jay-Z always had one or two songs on every album that were so sick that it could carry the album even when there were songs that were there for radio-play only (in this case Come and Get Me, the Intro and Outro, and NYMP). I agree that 808s is one of those albums that you either had to be going through something similar to Kanye at the time or had been through it. That album wasn’t for everybody but as far as a creative album, it was definitely that. Most fans didn’t want to hear the vocoder or whatever but Kanye made a really solid album, it just wasn’t a typical hip-hop album. 808s is actually one of my favorite Kanye albums.

    Comparing their careers up to their 5th albums Kanye is far ahead of Jay-Z in terms of being an artist and not simply just a rapper. The fact that Jay turned to Kanye for production on the Blueprint is a testament to the fact that Jay-Z could see Kanye’s passion, creativity, and wanted to use that to help him succeed as well. At this point I don’t think there’s any comparison between Jay-Z and Kanye when you talk about artistry and creativity. But when it comes to lyricism Jay-Z is still light years ahead of Kanye West and in terms of general business savvy as well.

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