Album: 808s & Heartbreak
Producer: Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

Prior to the release of 808s and Heartbreak, the world was wondering how Kanye was going to bounce back. Having just lost his mother, and breaking off a very public engagement, his head was likely in a very different place—and rightfully so. Would he melt down? Would he retire? Lucky for us, he did neither of those things. But when he premiered “Love Lockdown” at the 2008 VMAs, we weren’t sure what to think.

It was a new look, and a new sound—something far different than anything else in music at the time. Was that a gray suit? Was Kanye singing? The sound was more electronic, and so were the vocals. The tribal noises echoing in the background were a little creepy. But “Love Lockdown” was the introduction to a new Ye, and ushered in a new era of music, one that would change hip-hop forever.