Breaking Down Kanye West's Career By the Numbers

How many number one hits does Kanye have? Which Kanye album has the most guest features? Forget Twitter, these are facts only.
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How many number one hits does Kanye have? Which Kanye album has the most guest features? Forget Twitter, these are facts only.

Every time Kanye tweets, 100% of his 18.5 million followers get 15% dumber. His tweets are 30% factual information and 70% about Kylie Jenner and rarely reach 140 characters. “Facts” is 99.9% garbage.

Lately, Kanye’s numbers aren’t that fun to break down because he’s primarily been making me long for a time when he was all about the music. But thankfully the fine folks at Pigeons & Planes went back to what made us love Kanye in the first place and broke down some numbers from his music via a pretty dope infographic. If you're tired of all the bullshit too, let’s take a moment to pull out some of what we learned. There's some really interesting stuff here.

Dark Twisted Fantasy vs. Yeezus

Between loads and loads of producers and a seemingly endless array of guest spots, MBDTF has earned the reputation as Kanye’s most collaborative album. But looking at the numbers that honor should go to Yeezus. MBDTF only had 12 producers, half of Yeezus’ 24. There were 24 producers on Yeezus?!

Also, Yeezus had 27 songwriters to Dark Twisted Fantasy’s 26. Featured artists? My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy only has 11 compared to College Dropout and Late Registration's 13.  It’s funny because with the aesthetics of the respective albums I would have had it the other way around. MBDTF is lavish, extreme and full of opulence, Yeezus feels like Kanye’s most stripped down, bare-bones album, but it was actually his most involved in terms of collaborators. 

Also of note, both Yeezus and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy are the only two albums where Kanye didn’t produce a song only by himself. The more you know.

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Image via P&P


Number 1???

Kanye has been the pinnacle of success in hip-hop for over a decade now, when he drops a song the world stops spinning. With his fame, his pull, commercial success is all but a forgone conclusion and yet, Kanye has only had three #1 singles in his whole career? What?!?

It's true. Kanye has had some amazing singles in his day, yet only three - “Slow Jamz,” “Gold Digger” and “Stronger” - have reached number one. That means “All Falls Down," "Heartless,” “Power,” "Monster" and so many more seemingly huge songs didn't reach the peak. And notably, all his number one songs came from the College Dropout/Late Registration/Graduation era. 

Kanye is the greatest artist of the 21st century, and yet he only has three number one singles in his entire career?

Graduation Valedictorian

Last year we debated the merits of Graduation. In my humble Stan opinion it’s Kanye’s least dynamic album. It’s not in the same echelon as College Dropout, Late Registration, and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Am I crazy?

Looking at these numbers I kind of feel like I am because Graduation is far and away Kanye’s most successful commercial album. It earned the most GRAMMY nominations with six and it’s Kanye’s highest selling album in the first week with 957,000 copies sold; that shit almost went platinum in seven days. (Late Registration is next on the list with a measly 860,000 copies.) I know commercial success is not the end all be all, but it’s hard to rethink my position when the numbers are so overwhelming in favor of Graduation. Or maybe that’s my problem, it feels like Kanye’s most commercial album.

Ah...that was refreshing. No think pieces, not tweets, just a look a the music and the numbers.

It'll be interesting to see how T.L.O.P. fits in with these stats, an album with a rollout unlike any other is sure to make for some interesting numbers, right? Many thanks to P&P for reminding me just how much there is to dig into when it comes to Kanye's music. 

[Lucas Garrison is a writer for His favorite album is College Dropout but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth. Art by Naturel.]

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