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Readers’ Poll: The Ten Best Kanye West Songs

Your picks include ‘Jesus Walks,’ ‘Power’ and ‘Stronger’

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Kanye West certainly didn't plan to drop his new album, Yeezus, at the exact same time that Kim Kardashian was dropping his firstborn child, but it led to wall-to-wall coverage of all things Kanye. He's such a polarizing figure that even President Obama has called him a "jackass," but denying his talent is pretty much impossible. He's basically the Muhammad Ali of 21st century music.

We asked our readers to vote on their favorite Kanye song last week. There were 170 votes for "none" (really, you guys?) while a highly suspicious 560 identical votes for the relatively obscure "Gone." We left those out of the final tabulations. Click through to see the results. 

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2. ‘Jesus Walks’

The Beach Boys faced some resistance when they tried to release a song with the word "God" in it in 1966, and 38 year years later Kanye West faced a similar issue with "Jesus Walks." Kanye started the song before he established any sort of solo career, and executives felt people would assume it was a Christian rap song. They also felt it wouldn't get any radio play, and West addressed this fear in the final version of the song. "But if I talk about God my record won't get played," he rapped. "Well let this take away from my spins/Which will probably take away from my ends."

Turns out it didn't take away from his spins or his ends. Radio and MTV embraced the song, and it was soon blaring from cars all over America. If he hadn't insisted on pushing the song out it's quite possible his career would have fizzled at that crucial moment. 

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1. ‘Runaway’

If My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is Kanye's Kid A, then "Runaway" is his "Idioteque." The hugely ambitious album was a steep departure from his previous work, and its genius only revealed itself slowly. There's way too much there to take in after one or two listens. The nine-minute "Runaway" is the longest track on the album, and the most whacked-out. It's the sound of him absorbing all the hate coming in his direction, and feeding off it. If everyone agreed with Obama's assessment of him, then Kanye will offer a toast to the douchebags, scumbags, assholes and jerk-offs.

The song is constructed around a single, haunting piano note. At the end, his vocals are scrambled beyond recognition. It's Kanye's way of conveying that nobody is able to understand him or even hear his words properly. The song seems aggressively un-commercial, but it actually hit number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. If nothing else, it proves that the public will embrace something more complex than a short pop song if they're exposed to it enough.

No matter what Kanye comes up with over the next few decades, "Runaway" will almost certainly stand up as one of his greatest works. 

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