A lot of people hate Kanye West because he’s cocky. But Ye’s arrogance is part of why I love him. We fetishize false humility too much.
Some of America’s most iconic entertainers have been accused of things much more despicable than cockiness. Bill Cosby has been accused of assault by over 60 women. Michael Jackson was accused of abusing boys. Will Smith has been accused of starring in Wild Wild West.
So when we look at great artists who are alleged monsters, why would we crucify an artist simply for loving himself too much? Fuck it, I say the cockier the better.
Here are Kanye’s albums ranked by their cockiness level. You’re welcome.
Editors Note: We have updated this ranking, which originally ran on February 14, 2018, to include ye and KIDS SEE GHOSTS.
10. 808s & Heartbreak
Kanye went full emo on this joint. There’s almost no cockiness to be found other than on the single “Amazing.” Kanye had an existential crisis and used it to create his most influential album. My last existential crisis didn’t create anything other than chlamydia and a drinking problem.
COCKIEST TRACK: "Amazing"
COCKINESS LEVEL: A nervous nerd peeing his pants while asking his crush to the homecoming dance.
A surprisingly subdued Mr. West. He woefully waits for karma to barge through his doorway on “Violent Crimes,” and atones for being the most unpredictable husband in North America on “Wouldn’t Leave.” He recorded the album in Wyoming, which is the quietest place on Earth, right behind my stand-up shows.
COCKIEST TRACK: “Yikes”
COCKINESS LEVEL: A white guy singing "Don’t Stop Believing" at karaoke night after two beers. And that white guy is me.
8. KIDS SEE GHOSTS
After Kanye and Kid Cudi both separately spent time hospitalized for their mental health, their KIDS SEE GHOSTS collab album feels like a triumphant “Fuck you, I'm back.” The brightly optimistic “Reborn” feels like a theme song for anyone emerging from a dark chapter. The vivacious vibe of “4th Dimension” pumps me the hell up and would definitely go on my workout playlist if I worked out.
COCKIEST TRACK: “4th Dimension”
COCKINESS LEVEL: Danny Devito agreeing to play in a celebrity basketball tournament.
7. Late Registration
The playful “u mad bro” vibes at the end of every “Gold Digger” verse, the cheerful boastfulness of “Touch The Sky.” NOW we’re getting somewhere. Keep in mind, this is when Ye claimed he would have been in a modern Bible and posed with a thorny crown for Rolling Stone. Blasphemy has never been so radio-friendly.
COCKIEST TRACK: "Touch The Sky"
COCKINESS LEVEL: Quentin Tarantino thinking he’s handsome.
6. The College Dropout
The long-winded rambling on the “Last Call” outro feels like a man celebrating a milestone he hadn’t even accomplished yet. “Breathe In Breathe Out” gave us the underrated bar “I always had a Ph.D, a pretty huge dick,” which I still plan to get tattooed on my forehead.
COCKIEST TRACK: "Last Call"
COCKINESS LEVEL: Floyd Mayweather scrolling through his Instagram comments knowing damn well he can’t read ‘em.
5. The Life of Pablo
Now we’re REALLY getting to that classic Yeezy ego or, should I say, Yeego™️. You could easily make the argument that Pablo should be higher simply because of that infamous line on “Famous," a bar so savage that Taylor milked sympathy from it for months until being she was eventually exposed as the adorable snake she is.
COCKIEST TRACK: "Famous"
COCKINESS LEVEL: Adam Levine jerking off to a picture of Adam Levine.
4. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Kanye’s magnum opus as well his epic comeback after Swiftgate. “POWER” feels like an aggressive battle cry from a man determined to gain your adoration and hatred at the same time. Any fella that hasn’t written “I don’t need your pussy bitch I’m on my own dick” on a Valentine card is a goddamn coward.
COCKIEST TRACK: "POWER"
COCKINESS LEVEL: An obese frat boy confidently posting a shirtless gym selfie.
I still quote “You should be honored by my lateness, that I would even show up to this fake shit” whenever I'm late for a Tinder date. That might explain why I’m still single.
COCKIEST TRACK: "The Glory"
COCKINESS LEVEL: Tom Brady on a PCP-fueled rampage.
2. Watch the Throne (with JAY-Z)
This Ye/Jay collab is bombastically boastful to the point of borderline cruelty. It’s basically 46 minutes of them throwing their money in your face and God dammit I love it. Their current beef makes me feel like a child of divorce.
COCKIEST TRACK: "Who Gon Stop Me"
COCKINESS LEVEL: Me taking my date to the Cheesecake Factory even though I don’t have a job.
The most obvious choice in the history of obvious choices. Who else has the balls to select an album title comparing themselves to Jesus? Who else has the balls to make a song called “I Am a God” where he impatiently demands French pastries with such abrasive urgency? All praise Yeezus Christ.
COCKIEST TRACK: "I Am A God"
COCKINESS LEVEL: Donald Trump having the audacity to refer to himself as a stable genius.