Album: Graduation
Producer: Kanye West
Label: Roc-A-Fella, Def Jam

In the early aughts, Kanye had his own patented sound. You know, those warm and fuzzy sped-up soul samples that littered his first two albums. But on his third album, Kanye graduated to a new sound—pun intended.

The vibe was more electronic. The drums were still pounding, but everything else sounded more futuristic. The album title probably had less to do with Kanye’s ongoing school theme, and more to do with the elevation of his sound. Kanye was graduating from Chicago producer to international superstar.

But his road to global domination was filled with pitfalls. The media attacked him for calling George Bush a racist and throwing fits at award shows. But did that slow Yeezy down? Not a chance. Taking his missteps in stride, Kanye let the world know that what hadn’t killed him could only make him stronger. And he found the perfect joint to flip in Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” Yeezy may have called himself the Louis Vuitton Don, but on this song he was more like the Teflon Don.