Label: G.O.O.D. Music/Def Jam Music Group

Throughout his career Kanye has made a habit of making albums that leave fans picking their jaws up off the floor and wondering how on earth is he going to follow that?

After fusing the hot emotions of personal loss with the cold, spare, autotune synthsoul of 808s and Heartbreak he brought forth the grand-scale, baroque, rap-as-high-art masterpiece, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. After lavishing us in the luxury rhymes and plush production of Watch the Throne (a gazillion-dollar project that somehow, and effectively, came off as a small, self-contained, almost casual effort from the two biggest rap stars in the world) he challenged us to keep listening through the nasty, rage-filled blasphemy and cacophonous squawk of Yeezus—and made it very much worth the effort.

What will he do next? Who knows. But there is no more interesting question in music, or art, or popular culture in general this year. —Dave Bry 

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