8. Kanye West f/ Lupe Fiasco "Touch The Sky" (Verse 1)
Album: Late Registration
Kanye's journey from struggling producer/rapper to hip-hop superstar is well known, and nowhere is it summarized more succinctly, humorously, and skillfully than on the first verse of "Touch The Sky." In under a minute, Kanye manages to hit all the major points detailed in his famous story on "Last Call" while delivering more than enough clever lines to keep your attention.
From his forward-thinking style choices ("Back when they thought pink polos would hurt the Roc"), to his move from the Chi to the Tri-State area ("Me and my momma hopped in that U-Haul van/Any pessimists I ain't talk to them"), to his arrival at the hip-hop summit ("A hip-hop legend, think I died/In that accident, cause this must be heaven"), 'Ye's opening verse on his most celebratory of songs is his valedictory address. Of course, in classic Kanye fashion, it came before Graduation. â€”Max Goldberg