From: Chicago, IL
Recent bangers: Kanye West "Black Skinhead" (2013), Kanye West "Blood On The Leaves" (2013), Kanye West "Send It Up" (2013)

Kanye West's tenure as hip-hop's most influential rapper/producer since Dr. Dre rounded its tenth year with this summer's Yeezus, the album where he finally stretched out in that rarefied space he's entered where he makes music he expects will challenge his fanbase but still ends up pleasing them. Though West has often worked with a football team worth of producers on recent projects, the sonic footprints of each piece—the gilded grandiloquence and intricate musicality of his 2010 solo album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and the G.O.O.D. Music compilation Cruel Summer, the race-conscious, funk homage and stadium rap of Watch the Throne and the apocalyptic dancehall and death disco of Yeezus—are unmistakably his own.

Kanye is as much a beatsmith as he is a producer in the traditional sense; he's the visionary who corrals and combines talents, arranging disparate strengths into something better than the sum of its parts. For proof, look to Yeezus' "Blood on the Leaves," which sits the brash horns of TNGHT's electro-trap burner "R U Ready" dangerously close to a sample of Billie Holiday's timeless, heavy "Strange Fruit." Or look at "Mercy" which fused dancehall sounds to trap drums and still found time for an ominous electro breakdown nicked from the Giorgio Moroder songbook.

Kanye does weird well, but he can still play it straight when he wants to. The RZA-esque "Try a Little Tenderness" chop of Watch the Throne's near-ubiquitous "Otis" and the Ponderosa Twins Plus One flip on Yeezus' closer "Bound 2" both showed that although Kanye's boundless talent and drive have rocketed him far beyond traditional rap's city limits, home is only an MPC away.