Date: November 24, 2008
It doesn't matter if you love or hate 808s & Heartbreak: It is one of the most influential albums of the past decade. 808s was Kanye's creative departure, his therapy laid out over 12 tracks. Regardless of his intentions, the emotional journey of 808s was a bold departure from earlier Kanye material, and it changed the game for many artists in hip-hop, R&B, and pop.
808s laid the groundwork for popular hip-hop to abandon braggadocious rhymes in favor of self deprecating, emotional lyrics—something that Kanye excelled in, even in his darkest times. Ye exposed himself to fans and the industry track by track in a way that hip-hop had never witnessed.
Vulnerability, anger, sadness, and abandonment filled the album, leaving Kanye more vulnerable than he'd ever been, and setting the stage for many artists to come.