12. Kanye West, 'Late Registration' (2005)
Precious few pop albums have been as contradiction-embracing, thought-provoking, and downright entertaining as The College Dropout, Kanye West's maximalist 2004 coming-out party. And yet, a year later, Late Registration built on its predecessor like an upgraded operating system: The same annoying "neighbor" returns to kick off more anti-education skits, there's Seventies slow-jam tributes ("Roses"), deep sentimentality ("Hey Mama"), consumerist critiques ("Diamonds From Sierra Leone"), glam-pop universalism ("Gold Digger"), and A-list guest appearances (Jay Z, Nas, Common, the Game, and more). Meanwhile, co-producer Jon Brion expands West's grandiosity exponentially with the addition of strings and horns.