Album: Cruel Summer
Over the thumping, ominous beat, and after the operatic thrashing drum break signaling the next verse, Kanye arrives, seemingly miles from the top of the track. He starts with the most important meal of the day: Breakfast. At Gucci. A traditional Kanye brag. The next one, however—like every line he's dropped about Kim Kardashian without actually dropping her name, especially on Cruel Summer—wasn't: "My girl a superstar/All from a home movie." Kanye West took the thing that's been the source of cultural mockery for his lady (the fact that she rose to fame off of a sex tape, and only a sex tape), and turns it into an asset, a qualification, like a Nobel Prize winner starting out by discovering the method for huffing glue. If that isn't fun enough for you, there's that whole thing about casually dropping former CIA director George Tenet's name (yes, he really met him), or how white people spend money, and what he'd rather do with it (even if it makes Spike Lee mad). And then, more turbo-charged Kanye braggadocio, with double-downs: He could build a new Rome in a day. Forget this rap shit, he really just wants to design hotels. He's feeling so real, he's Isrealin.
But it's the final couplet that takes this one home, and into the pantheon of truly incredible Kanye verses. It begins with the first true acknowledgement on record of how he reacted to his mother's death. And then, the second half, and the way the verse ends: How, among the other things he's done that you haven't, he's been talking to God, and guess what? As evidenced, God's been talking back. It's such a "Fuck you" moment of brilliant blasphemy that you should be ashamed for not seeing Yeezus—an album where he recounts an entire conversation with Jesus, among other things—coming from a mile away. Nobody might be fucking with Kanye's clique, but after a closer like that, it's hard to remember who's even in it that would matter but him. —Foster Kamer