First Hit #1: September 17, 2005
Kanye West is an endlessly entertaining musician, whatever you think of him as a person, and while Gold Digger might not be the most progressive song lyrically – it is, after all, about women who try to get as much money as possible from nearby men – it is one of the most infectious singles you’re going to find. It’s because West has an appreciation for soul without really feeling indebted to it. So he makes songs that smash soul samples together in exciting, energetic and fun new ways. His lyrics are at least funny here, though one might question the relationship he’s rapping about he’s not asking for pity or anything – it’s a joke, and is actually pretty funny whether on the basis of individual lines or the thrust of the story. That’s the thing, whatever you might object to with West, he’s having fun here, and he’s made a hit by just kind of going all in, making quality dance music that has a bit of charm to it as well. Whatever objections one might have – I know some people who hate the lyrics just for being about the idea of gold diggers – it’s much easier to let loose and just enjoy it.
He’s sort of like a musical Quentin Tarantino in that way, creating work that smashes together thousands of old influences into something that feels fresh and exciting, even if the content might make some people object. And much like Tarantino, he’s at his best when he’s making his art, rather than doing anything outside of it.