Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

3. Kanye West808s & Heartbreak

I love hip hop, that was my first love, people like 50 Cent and Jeezy, Three 6 Mafia, gangsters. But I wasn’t from that lifestyle, so hearing people like Pharrell and Kanye and Lupe Fiasco was perfect for me because that was more my thing: art school kid. 

There’s a beautiful uniformity about 808s. The production, there’s beautiful melodies, very pop-centric, but at the time was very unusual. I’d never heard a pop vocal so heavily processed, and the way the 808s were used in it was peak design mentality. I remember when he did the VMAs, doing ‘Love Lockdown’ for the first time, I must have been 13 years old. Seeing that for the first time, I was like, ‘Wow, what is this?’ Growing up with Kanye and seeing that complete shift was wonderful. 

‘Amazing’ is my favourite track on the record, because it felt so alien to me. There’s something very Black American about it, but very electronic. Even ‘Bad News’, it’s almost spiritual. It uses the same drum pattern as Nina Simone’s ‘Sea Lion Woman’. You don’t hear that drum pattern anymore in music, but he was using it. It was so intriguing to me. It’s of the past and of the future at the same time. 

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