The Top 10 Best Beats Kanye West Made for Other Artists

We countdown the 10 hottest beats Ye made for other artists.


Before he became a 24-time Grammy award winner, fashion executive, and entrepreneurial billionaire, Kanye West was a hustling producer from Chicago. His cutting-edge ability to chop up vintage soul samples with hip-hop drum loops caught the attention of JAY-Z and Roc Nation over twenty years ago. He became one of the most sought-after producers in the early 2000s, working with artists like The Game, Ludacris, Janet Jackson, Lil’ Kim and so many more. To this day, Kanye continues his ascent as one of – if not the – greatest producers in music history. The latest project Kanye gifted his production prowess to – Pusha T’s It’s Almost Dry – got us thinking. What are the best beats Ye’s ever produced for other artists? Here’s what we came up with.

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10. This Can’t Be Life – JAY-Z, Beanie Sigel, Scarface

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)

JAY-Z spits some of his most heartfelt rhymes over the first beat he ever used from Kanye. He touches on the stillborn birth of his child over a sample of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ “I Miss You,” an excellent choice by Ye. Kanye later admitted on “Last Call” off his debut album The College Dropout that the drum pattern for this track was actually lifted from Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive”. The combination worked to perfection, showing Kanye’s excellent ear for producing at a very early point in his career.

9. Lucifer – JAY-Z

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Black Album (2003)

It’s easy to see what prompted Hov to proclaim “Kanyeezy you did it again, you a genius” at the start of this record. Ye samples a classic reggae track “I Chase the Devil” by Max Romeo & The Upsetters for one of the stand-out tracks off of The Black Album. At this point, Ye was already making waves as a producer. On an album with “99 Problems” and “Dirt Off Your Shoulders,” this beat can hold its own all day and night.

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8. You Don’t Know My Name – Alicia Keys

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)

Though he’s primarily known for his contributions to hip-hop records, Kanye has a plethora of underrated R&B tracks he produced. For this slow jam with Alicia Keys, Ye samples “Let Me Prove My Love to You” by The Main Ingredient. The track peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned the Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2005.

7. Find Your Love – Drake

Produced by Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker, & No I.D.

Album: Thank Me Later (2010)

Originally meant for Rihanna, the “Find Your Love” instrumental is vintage 808s & Heartbreaks Ye. Glitchy drum beats coupled with a blissful piano melody pave the way for a layer of thumping kicks ready for the dance floor. Further, the single allowed Drake to flex his full range of talent with smooth singing on this slow jam. Now that they have officially squashed their beef, can we please get a Drake album produced by Kanye???

6. If You Know You Know – Pusha T

Produced by Kanye West

Album: DAYTONA (2018)

Kanye’s legendary run of producing five albums in five weeks churned out some of the best beats of his career. None more memorable than the opening track off Pusha T’s DAYTONA, “If You Know You Know”. The song samples Air’s 1972 track “Twelve O’Clock Satanial” in a screeching loop that sets the tone of the album perfectly. Chopped guitar samples are packed tightly alongside additional vocal chops and thumping drums.

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5. Get By – Talib Kweli

Produced by Kanye West

Album: Quality (2002)

Here we have a timeless example of stellar beat work and mixing. Kanye sampled “Sinnerman” by Nina Simmone and gave Talib Kweli the biggest hit of his career. The relentless piano loop is held together by the record’s reverberating drums and subtle bassline. Yeah, Kanye whipped up an inspirational classic on this one. The all-star remix featuring JAY-Z, Yasiin Bey, and Busta Rhymes might be even better than the original.

4. Takeover – JAY-Z

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Blueprint (2001)

For “Takeover,” Kanye flips The Doors’ “Five to One” and KRS-One’s “Sound of da Police” to craft the most menacing beat of his career. JAY-Z uses the epic instrumental for what is arguably the best diss track in hip-hop history. The Jim Morrison vocal samples are eerie alongside thunderous bass and haunting guitar riffs that take Hov’s bars to a sinister level. Given the legendary nature of the subject matter, Kanye’s work on “Takeover” will forever live on in hip-hop history.

3. Dreams – The Game

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Documentary (2005)

After being both known for and criticized because of his reliance on guest appearances, this track from Game’s debut album showed he could hold down a record with no assistance needed. Kanye provides a dramatic instrumental driven by a sample of Jerry Butler’s “No Money Down,” featuring perfectly placed vocal chops and an increasingly suspenseful loop as the anchor.

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2. Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love) – JAY-Z

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Blueprint (2001)

Truly, this ranking could end with 1A and 1B. Kanye sped up a section of Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” for what would become one of JAY-Z’s best-known songs. On the track, Hov commiserates about the hate he was receiving at the height of his fame, with Ye’s soulful sample making the ordeal feel like a full-fledged motion-picture event. Interestingly enough, Ye originally wanted to give this beat to DMX. While we can’t speak on how that would have turned out, we are extremely thankful for what Hov did on this track.

1. Izzo (H.O.V.A.) – JAY-Z

Produced by Kanye West

Album: The Blueprint (2001)

At number one we have the beat that paved the way for Kanye West to transcend to superstardom. Ye flips a sample of Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” into a beat that effortlessly straddles hip-hop, soul, and pop. The loop is masterful, giving JAY-Z his first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. In hindsight, it’s easy to deny the impact of “Izzo” over two decades later, but in the early 2000 nothing sounded like this. The track also helped establish the sped-up sample as a significant tool for production. Still, few similarly-styled beats can hold a coin to the magic of “Izzo”. The drums are perfectly in the pocket, the piano slide is equally essential, and the strings are wildly infectious. Rightfully so, it takes the title as the best beat Kanye West has ever produced for another artist.

We hope you enjoyed our ranking of the ten best beats Kanye West made for other artists. Let us know what you would change in the comments section below!

Lastly, for more music rankings, check out The Top 10 Best Metro Boomin Beats.


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