Producer: Kanye West, DJ Toomp
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam
If there were one song to describe Kanye West and his career, this would be it. A statement, a promise, and a motto, "Can't Tell Me Nothing" set the tone for his defiant third album, Graduation, and gave West his first-ever street anthem.
Attaining the almost impossible, this track resonated with hip-hop purists, college dropouts, and trap stars. Recruiting the red-hot DJ Toomp to co-produce the track and inviting Jeezy to add his patented ad-libs was the icing on the cake. This was the exact moment in West's career when he went from rapper to international superstar.—Andrew Barber