Ranking Kanye West's albums is a hopeless task. The guy has eight albums—all, if not most, classics in their own right—each of which has a strong case for being number one. Besides, your favorite Kanye album changes more than his album titles.
Ranking G.O.O.D. Music's discography, on the other hand, is a much more intriguing—and yes, exhausting—proposition. Since its inception in 2004, Kanye's label has grown from a hub of hip-hop and soul music to a sprawling, ever-changing collective that's as diverse as Yeezy's catalog itself.
Though not every artist has managed to "get out their dreams" on Kanye's label (see: Q-Tip, Mos Def, CyHi The Prynce), G.O.O.D. Music has still been one of the most prolific crews of the last decade thanks to releases from Common, John Legend, Big Sean, Kid Cudi, Pusha T and others.
Mr. West's masterpieces aside, a total of 41 projects have been released under the G.O.O.D. Music umbrella. So we decided to rank them all.
41. CyHi The Prynce — Jack of All Trades (2011)
CyHi The Prynce dropping a jacking-for-beats mixtape the same year as A$AP Rocky’s Live.Love.A$AP, Danny Brown’s XXX and Big K.R.I.T.’s Return of 4Eva told us more about where his career was heading than we realized. What’s more, it arrived just two months after Royal Flush 2. Beyond his poor decision making, however, Jack of All Trades proved that CyHi could flow over any beat — East (“Feelin’ It”), West (“Picture Me Rollin’”), South (“Late Nite Tip”), ’90s (“Elevators”), ’00s (“Be Easy”) — even if it was best saved for a radio freestyle.
40. Desiigner — New English (2016)
After going from zero to 100 real quick with his smash hit “Panda,” New English was the perfect opportunity for Desiigner to prove himself as more than just a one-hit wonder who sounds like a poor man’s Future. Unfortunately, the Brooklyn youngster's debut mixtape paled in comparison to even Hendrix’s worst project. “Da Day” sent chills down your spine while “Zombie Walk” might’ve just put you in a trance, but a wasteland of song snippets (that still haven’t been released in full) and a sense of déjà vu suggests President Push’s first G.O.O.D. Music signing is better off sticking to singles.
39. Big Sean — Finally Famous Vol. 2: UKNOWBIGSEAN (2009)
Big Sean’s second G.O.O.D. Music mixtape is best known for spawning his “Supa Dupa” punch line flow that was cribbed by everyone from Nicki Minaj and Drake to Lil Wayne and Ludacris in the late ’00s and early ’10s. Unfortunately, Sean spent the rest of UKNOWBIGSEAN biting those very biters, stuffing this 30-song mixtape with half-baked pop efforts that even Roscoe Dash wouldn’t touch.
38. CyHi The Prynce — Ivy League: Kick Back (2013)
In 2013, CyHi The Prynce returned to Ivy League for a second semester filled with “Mary Jane,” “Pillow Talking” and “Big Head Bitches.” Childish Gambino and Smoke DZA joined the fun with standout guest spots while “Start a War” found CyHi reflecting on a dead homie. Kick Back was more of the same, however, and failed to push CyHi to the top of his class.
37. Big Sean — Finally Famous (2011)
With hits like “Dance (A$$)” and “My Last,” Big Sean finally found mainstream fame on his debut album. Vol. 3: BIG’s “Memories” got a soulful update courtesy of John Legend, but for the most part, the slick, youthful energy of his mixtape series suddenly became less charming and more annoying on Finally Famous. “I Do It” and “Marvin Gaye & Chardonnay” were the musical equivalent of your little shit cousin who has ADHD, finds American Dad hilarious and just discovered what a vagina is.
36. Kacy Hill — Bloo (2015)
Kanye West has made some curious signings since Cruel Summer, and Kacy Hill is probably the most enigmatic. Aside from collaborations with label affiliates like Travis Scott ("90210") and Kid Cudi ("Releaser"), the Yeezus tour backup dancer-turned-G.O.O.D. Music member seems to exist entirely separate from the rest of the crew, both socially and sonically. Her debut EP Bloo only displayed a glimmer of her talent, but “Foreign Fields” shined brightest.
35. Big Sean — Hall of Fame (2013)
Big Sean was right when he called himself famous (finally!) on his debut album, but claiming Hall of Fame status on his underwhelming follow-up was jumping the U.S. military’s entire arsenal. Despite the success of “Beware,” Hall of Fame failed to outsell Finally Famous and proved the power of the so-called sophomore jinx. “Sierra Leone” only highlighted the gulf in artistry between Big Sean and Kanye West, in case that wasn’t already clear.
34. Malik Yusef — G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Night (2009)
2009’s G.O.O.D. Morning, G.O.O.D. Morning was Malik Yusef’s first and only release on G.O.O.D. Music, but boy, was it a big one. The two-part album clocked in at over two hours, which isn’t exactly an ideal running time for a spoken word artist. However, the album still gets props for bringing us the Kanye, Common and John Legend posse cut “Magic Man.” Malik is no longer signed to G.O.O.D. Music, but he remains a curious figure in the camp: popping up on Cruel Summer, commenting on Kanye’s mental health and comparingThe Life of Pablo to a pair of Timberlands.
33. CyHi The Prynce — Royal Flush (2010)
CyHi The Prynce is a phenomenal rapper in small doses: take G.O.O.D. Music’s BET Cypher or Kanye West’s “So Appalled.” When he extended his talents to a full-length project in 2010, however, his royal flush felt more like a two pair. This was CyHi’s first official tape, so we’ll cut him some slack, but the excess of ill-suited R&B attempts and downright terrible We Are Young Money knock-offs made his first impression a bittersweet one. Shame, because “Ring Bellz,” “Sideways” and “Living Wonderful” were great.
32. Common — Universal Mind Control (2008)
Despite finding a winning formula with his G.O.O.D. Music boss with Be and Finding Forever, Common traded in Kanye’s soulful sound beds for the futuristic framework of The Neptunes and OutKast collaborator Mr. DJ on Universal Mind Control. “Announcement” still sounds like a banger from the year 2026, but Common’s ambitious left turn ultimately took him skidding off the side of the road.
31. CyHi The Prynce — Ivy League Club (2012)
After playing his cards right on Royal Flush 2, CyHi The Prynce took his regal theme to college on 2012’s Ivy League Club. With slapping production from Mike WiLL Made It, Lex Luger and Beat Billionaire, Morehouse might have been a more appropriate title, even if “A-Town” failed to become the anthem for “new Atlanta.” The Hit-Boy-produced, Marvin Gaye-sampling “Entourage” was the tape’s standout, but CyHi shouting out his G.O.O.D. Music family (“There’s my brother Kanye, and my cousin Big Sean. There’s my n*gga Pusha T, Kid Cudi and D’banj. Chilling with my homie Common, can’t forget my n*gga John”) felt more like a cry for attention than someone repping their set.
30. HXLT — HXLT (2016)
Like Kacy Hill, HXLT (formerly known as Hollywood Holt) is another recent G.O.O.D. Music signee you often forget about. Despite his ties to Treated Crew, HXLT’s self-titled debut is anything but another Chicago rap release. Inspired by childhood favorites like Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, HXLT incorporates elements of punk, rock and house into a surprisingly impressive, if not interesting, project. The songwriting borders on Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven levels at times, but the humor makes up for it: “I wish that I could play guitar / And write all the songs that make me rich,” HXLT croons on “Guitar.”
29. Teyana Taylor — VII (2014)
Arriving seven years after inking a deal with Pharrell’s Star Trak (and two after departing for G.O.O.D. Music), Teyana Taylor’s VII made you wonder why she’d been relegated to the sidelines for so long. Teyana’s debut album didn’t exactly break new ground, but it did supply a steady of stream of sultry R&B that’ll get you sweatier than her “Fade” workout.
28. CyHi The Prynce — Black Hystori Project 2: N.A.A.C.P. (2015)
Never one to pass on a sequel opportunity, CyHi The Prynce followed up 2014’s impressive Black Hystori Project with a sequel dubbed N.A.A.C.P. (New Artists Aligning Cultural People) the following year later. No Kanye this time, but Mannie Fresh provided some star power behind the boards on the lush “What We Have.” CyHi once again explored social issues, even dedicating a song to Kendrick Lamar, but he made sure to have fun, too (“TV”). “Master P,” which features a sample of “Break Em Off Something,” might just be CyHi’s hardest song to date.
27. Big Sean & Jhené Aiko — TWENTY88 (2016)
After working together on Detroit, Hall of Fame and Dark Sky Paradise, Big Sean and Jhené Aiko took their chemistry to the next level on TWENTY88. The highly sexual, fantasy-driven collaboration found the power couple exploring the sensual highs (“On the Way”) and bitter lows (“Talk Show”) of romance over breezy, if not occasionally boring, production. TWENTY88 arrived months before Sean and Jhené made it official, but it was already obvious they were madly in love.
26. John Legend — Evolver (2008)
Good old-fashioned soul will never go out of style, but John Legend was determined to showcase his versatility on his fittingly titled 2008 LP, Evolver. The Gold-selling album found Legend dabbling with electropop (“Green Light”), reggae (“No Other Love”) and futuristic funk (“Satisfaction). Not every experiment was a success (“Quickly”), but Evolver was nonetheless an interesting step forward for the future soul legend.
25. Big Sean — Finally Famous: The Mixtape (2007)
We’ve all heard the story: in 2005, Big Sean (then known to most as Sean Anderson, a telemarketer making $100 a week) hunted down Kanye West during a radio appearance in Detroit. Kanye gave the kid 16 bars, which apparently turned into 10 minutes. Two years later, Big Sean signed to G.O.O.D. Music and dropped his debut mixtape, Finally Famous. The intro featured a co-sign from Kanye, but Sean was the star of this show as he displayed his fun, fly style on cuts like “You,” “Streetz On Lock” and “Getcha Some,” which even received a Hype Williams-directed video.
24. Consequence — Don’t Quit Your Day Job (2007)
What is it with Kanye West saving some of his best beats for Consequence? After chopping up gems like “So Soulful” and “Getting Out the Game” on 2004’s Take ’Em to the Cleaners, Kanye supplied Cons with more soulful standouts on his G.O.O.D. Music debut, Don’t Quit Your Day Job! The blue collar album featured gold standard joints like “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly” and “Grammy Family,” which gave Kanye’s burgeoning crew a perfect nickname. Ironically, Consequence quit his G.O.O.D. Music job a few years later after squabbling with Pusha T, but thankfully everyone’s back on good terms these days.
23. CyHi The Prynce — Royal Flush 2 (2011)
If Royal Flush deserved to be called Two Pair, then Royal Flush 2 could maybe pass for a Straight. On his second mixtape, CyHi The Prynce occasionally fell into the same trap of making discordant R&B songs (including an amusing yet totally unnecessary cover of Commodores’ “Easy”), but the soulful “Take You Back” and blistering “Bulletproof” displayed CyHi’s range as a rapper. Collaborations with Kanye West, Pusha T and Big Sean gave Royal Flush 2 the G.O.O.D. stamp of approval.
22. John Legend — Darkness and Light (2016)
Darkness and Light was John Legend’s first album without any input from Kanye West, but it’s not like he needs his G.O.O.D. Music boss to make, well, good music. Largely produced by Blake Mills, who’s best known for his work with Alabama Shakes, Legend’s latest was an album about love in a cruel world — about finding light in darkness, if you will. Perhaps the most interesting part, however, was how Legend channeled the political themes of Wake Up! into his own work: “My history has brought me to this place / There’s power in the color of my face,” he belts out on the gospel-infused “I Know Better.”
21. Mr Hudson — Straight, No Chaser (2009)
With Kanye West at the helm, G.O.O.D. Music was always destined to be more than just a rap label, and the addition of Mr Hudson represented those bold ambitions. After helping to craft Kanye’s game-changing 808s & Heartbreak, the British crooner released his own electropop effort a year later. The Kanye-assisted “Supernova” was a hit in the UK, but Straight, No Chaser really shone when that sad robot displayed its human soul (“Instant Messenger,” “There Will Be Tears”).
20. Big Sean — Finally Famous Vol. 3: BIG (2010)
2010 was dominated by Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy — and everything surrounding it: the BET Cypher, G.O.O.D. Fridays, the MTV VMA performance — but Big Sean’s Finally Famous Vol. 3: BIG shouldn’t be overlooked. Finally in a position to claim fame, the XXL Freshman teamed up with Don Cannon to put together a more focused, concise project that showcased his potential. Not only did he hold his own against Kanye, Drake and Bun B, Sean let loose his now-familiar “boi” and “I do it” ad-libs.
19. Pusha T — Fear of God II: Let Us Pray (2011)
A repackaged version of Pusha T's Fear of God mixtape for retail purposes, Fear of God II: Let Us Pray spawned seven new star-studded songs to send chills down the competition’s spine. The Diddy-assisted “Changing of the Guards” and “So Obvious” only added to the noise, rather than cut through it, but the Clipse-Neptunes-Odd Future combination on “Trouble On My Mind” still slaps harder than a pimp’s backhand to this day.
18. CyHi The Prynce — Hystori: Black History Project (2014)
After graduating from his Royal Flush and Ivy League series, CyHi The Prynce turned to black history for his latest — and greatest — mixtape collection. Inspired by his nephew’s teacher telling him he wasn’t important enough to write a black history report, G.O.O.D. Music’s secret weapon channeled revolutionaries like Huey Newton and Nelson Mandela on his best project so far, Hystori: Black History Project. CyHi won’t exactly go down in history as a black icon (not without a debut album, anyway), but “Cydel Young” at least cemented his legacy as a dangerous emcee.
17. John Legend & The Roots — Wake Up! (2010)
An original album from John Legend and The Roots would probably be top five on any list. Instead, they looked back to the soul music of the ’60s and ’70s for a cover album called Wake Up!, which still turned out to be excellent. The GRAMMY-winning collaboration was inspired by Obama’s 2008 presidential victory, but cuts like “Hard Times” and “Hang On In There” feel all the more relevant with Trump in charge.
16. Pusha T — Fear of God (2011)
After spending the better part of the last decade slanging coke raps alongside his older brother as one-half of Clipse, Pusha T stood firmly on his own on his debut solo mixtape, Fear of God. G.O.O.D. Music’s resident dope boy picked up where “Runaway” and “So Appalled” left off, cooking up audio crack rocks like the swashbuckling “Raid,” the introspective “Alone In Vegas” and the presidential “My God.” King Push was always destined for the White House (pardon the pun).
15. Big Sean — Detroit (2012)
On the heels of his standout verses on “Clique” and "Mercy," Big Sean struck while the iron was hot by dropping Detroit in the summer of 2012. The G.O.O.D. rookie cooked up the hardest hit of his career (“Mula”) as he made a triumphant return to the mixtape scene. With standout appearances from Cole, Kendrick and Royce, you can’t help but feel like Detroit should have been Sean’s debut album.
14. Kid Cudi — Indicud (2013)
Indicud was a series of firsts for Kid Cudi: it was his first solo album not to be called Man on the Moon, and the first album he produced by himself (with the exception of a Hit-Boy co-production credit on “Red Eye”). Without Dot, Pat and Emile flying shotgun, Cudi’s latest journey into the mad solar was noticeably more self-assured (“Unfuckwittable,” “King Wizard”), but his solo dolo spaceship eventually ran out of fuel towards the end. Indicud was also Kid Cudi’s last G.O.O.D. Music album, and arguably his last good album, period.
13. John Legend — Once Again (2006)
Get Lifted was a tough act to follow, but Once Again proved to be an apt title for John Legend’s sophomore album. G.O.O.D. Music’s resident crooner achieved both commercial success (the album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100) and critical acclaim (“Heaven” won the GRAMMY for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance) while stretching his soul sound a little further with help from Sa-Ra, Raphael Saadiq and, of course, Kanye West.
12. Pusha T — Wrath of Caine (2013)
While deciding how to approach his debut solo album, My Name Is My Name, Pusha T stuck to what he knew best and unleashed Wrath of Caine in early 2013. With only the streets to satisfy, Pyrex P “restored the feeling of when n*ggas made a killing” on “Millions” while channeling DMX’s Jamaican adventure in Belly on “Blocka” and “Take My Life.” Collaborations with Troy Ave and Kevin Gates fell flat, but it didn’t stop Push from getting to the money.
11. G.O.O.D. Music — Cruel Summer (2012)
Despite arriving a little late in the season, Cruel Summer still managed to tuck everyone’s summer in. Hits like “Clique,” “Mercy” and “Cold” were unavoidable in 2012 while “New God Flow,” which featured Ghostface Killah rapping over a Ghostface Killah sample, was as majestic as the man’s jewelry collection. More Cudi, Common, Q-Tip and Mos would have been nice—not to mention a stronger second half—but Cruel Summer should be cherished as G.O.O.D. Music’s swan song, the last time the band resembled anything close to a band. Forget what Ned Stark told you; Cruel Winter is not coming.
10. Big Sean — I Decided. (2017)
I Decided. is still fresh on digital store shelves, but Big Sean’s continued growth is already evident. On his latest album, Sean Don opts for darker, moodier production to soundtrack his loose concept about life decisions (“Intro”’s old man interlude imagines what his life might look like had he not hunted down and rapped for Kanye 12 years ago). “Bounce Back” and “Moves” prove that Sean can make hits that aren’t corny pop jingles, while the elusive Eminem finally blesses the Detroit rapper’s album on “No Favors.” I Decided. is a solid Big Sean album, but there’s still something missing if he wants to go down as a G.O.O.D. great alongside Kanye West and Pusha T.
9. John Legend — Love In the Future (2013)
It feels wrong to ever describe John Legend as “rejuvenated,” because in 10-plus years, he’s never not sounded brilliant. But on Love In the Future , which was executive produced by old buddies Kanye West and Dave Tozer , the G.O.O.D. Music crooner unlocked an even deeper part of our soul with that sweet voice of his. Tugging on your heart strings like a puppet master, Love In the Future spawned timeless love songs like “The Beginning…,” “Who Do We Think We Are” and, of course, the chart-topping “All of Me,” which will be covered by future soul singers just like Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes” was on this album.
8. Big Sean — Dark Sky Paradise (2015)
While the disappointment of Hall of Fame (and the fact he was murdered twice on his own shit) cast doubt over his lofty ambitions, Dark Sky Paradise demanded you finally take Big Sean seriously. “IDFWU” and “Blessings” put Sean back on the charts while “One Man Can Change the World” showcased a new maturity to his soulful side. Even the harmless, high-pitched delivery of previous albums was replaced with a snarl that unleashed his hunger and anger. Dark Sky Paradise has a few second-half duds (“Win Some, Lose Some,” “Stay Down”), but the album remains Big Sean’s finest hour. Whether he’s really top five is up for debate, though.
7. Pusha T — King Push — Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude (2015)
If you thought Pusha T was under more pressure as the newly-instated G.O.O.D. Music President, you were sadly mistaken: “My sophomore jinx is more minks,” he boasted on his second studio album. Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude was equal parts flair and fighting talk as King Push toyed with the competition: humiliating rappers who play the victim on “Crutches, Crosses, Caskets,” schooling those who’d rather be famous than rich on “M.F.T.R.” and laughing in Lil Wayne’s face on “Untouchable.” Continuing to expand his scope of his pen, Push even got political on the Jill Scott-assisted “Sunshine.” If Darkest Before Dawn was just a prelude, then King Push will confirm Pusha T’s place on the throne.
6. John Legend — Get Lifted (2004)
While Kanye’s College Dropout success helped turn G.O.O.D. Music into a reality, John Legend’s Get Lifted was a crucial launching pad for the label. The album, which was G.O.O.D. Music’s very first release, spawned two Billboard Hot 100 singles—“Used to Love U” and “Ordinary People”—and has since been certified double Platinum. Get Lifted not only showcased Kanye’s ability as an executive producer (beyond his own work), but established John Legend as soul music’s new star.
5. Common — Finding Forever (2007)
After creating something special together with Be, Common and Kanye West extended their winning streak on Finding Forever two years later. Cut from the same soulful cloth as their last collaboration, the album produced beautiful, powerful cuts like “The People” and “U, Black Maybe” while the additions of will.i.am and Lily Allen provided more pop appeal. Though not as critically acclaimed as Be, Finding Forever earned Common his first No. 1 album and has proven to be a tough project to top.
4. Kid Cudi — Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager (2010)
If Man on the Moon: The End of the Day made you feel like you were floating through space, its sequel was like being lost in a black hole. Fueled by a cocaine addiction, drug arrest and other personal struggles, Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager explored darker, more drugged-out sounds while bringing Cudi’s demons into clear view—like that scene in Stranger Things when Eleven came face-to-face with the Demogorgon in the upside down. Though MOTM II never quite hit the heights of “Day N Nite” or “Pursuit of Happiness,” it’s an album that thrived in its sadness and self-destruction. “These Worries” and “Trapped In My Mind” are as relevant to Cudi’s life now as they were seven years ago.
3. Pusha T — My Name Is My Name (2013)
On his major label debut, Pusha T polished his Pyrex for mass consumption while serving the same potent product. “Numbers on the Boards,” “Suicide” and “Nosetalgia” were stronger than pure Colombian while “40 Acres” and “S.N.I.T.C.H.”—a GOAT rap acronym contender that’s up there with “C.R.E.A.M.” and G.O.O.D. Music itself—displayed an introspection No Malice would be proud of. My Name Is My Name was guilty of ticking boxes at times (“Let Me Love You,” “No Regrets”), but the bars were never diluted. The question for Pusha T now is: can King Push, the album, top “King Push,” the intro?
2. Kid Cudi — Man on the Moon: The End of Day (2009)
After helping Kanye West usher in a brave new wave on 808s & Heartbreaks, Kid Cudi planted his own seeds of change on his debut album. Man on the Moon: The End of the Day took us on a journey through Cudi’s dream-like, genre-defying universe, where happiness was pursued yet pain was always lurking in the abyss. Featuring arguably Cudi’s finest records—“Day N Nite,” “Make Her Say” and “Pursuit of Happiness”—Man on the Moon shook up the game while becoming the soundtrack to life for a generation of lonely stoners. Just ask Travis Scott, Jaden Smith or Kevin Abstract.
1. Common — Be (2005)
In 2002, Common dared to be different and released Electric Circus, but only divided opinion. Three years later, the veteran emcee returned to his roots (in more ways than one), cliqued up with Kanye West and created a classic album called Be. Backed by Kanye’s warm, soulful beats (not forgetting a couple of J Dilla gems), Common Sense captured his hometown of Chicago in all its beautiful, imperfect shades—from the street corner (“The Corner”) to the court (“Testify”). After spending more than a decade searching for the commercial success to match his critical acclaim, Common struck gold with Be, which remains his highest scoring, highest selling and most GRAMMY-nominated album. “I remember sitting down with my mother and manager and planning the future after Electric Circus. But I could see fear in them,” he toldVIBE magazine in 2005. “That made me ask, Who am I? It made me go home. Home is Chicago. Home is confronting the people who are mad at me. Home is working with Kanye. Home is making Be.”
By Andy James. You can follow him on Twitter.