Song: "Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix)" (2005)
Album: Late Registration
Conscious Or Ign'ant?: Conscious
There couldn't have been a less popular year to release a rap song about Blood Diamonds than 2005, in which Paul Wall and Three 6 Mafia made the diamond-encrusted grill hip-hop's premier objet d'art. As usual Kanye is all about drawing the connections. Throughout his career he steadfastly avoided the first person crack dealer narratives that were so irresistible to his peers. In "Diamonds" he identifies with the dopeman and the dope addict alike: "Over here we die from drugs, over there they die from what we buy from drugs."
So many of Kanye's conscious moments are about zooming out to view the bigger picture. It's easy to rap about the oppression of inner city America, but who is really being exploited in the grand scheme? Hip-hop didn't care to see where the trail led but Kanye forced everyone to look. He was the first rapper to atone for his love of bling.