Kanye West
2005 Man of the Year

kanye-2.jpgIn 2005, Kanye West’s status caught up to his ego. A year after the surprise success of his 2004 debut, The College Dropout, the kid from Chi-Town with the teddy bear on his sweater went from hip-hop star to full-fledged, cover-of-Time-magazine American icon. Splicing a sample of Jamie Foxx impersonating Ray Charles with a marching-band drumbeat, Roc-A-Fella Records’ producer-cum-MC created the song that would become his first to top the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (and five other charts along the way), “Gold Digger.” Upon its August release, his album Late Registration sold 860,000 copies its first week in stores (on its way to a total of 2.8 million) and was hailed as one of the best albums of the year, if not the best album of the year, by countless critics. Then, a month later, the always outspoken artist injected himself into a national debate on race and class and the failings of the government, when, during a televised fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina, he spontaneously uttered seven words that would become a cultural catchphrase: “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people.” Maybe not, but everybody seemed to care about Kanye West.

You can’t tell him nothin’. He can tell you a lot. Listen.

I think 2005 was the most important year in making me an impactful artist and making it so I could make records forever… I was riding off the wave of College Dropout to Late Registration, so I had a lot of goodwill at that point, and all I had to do was deliver something that was really good, and people would celebrate it.

I couldn’t even imagine the success level that “Gold Digger” had. I was scared to put “Gold Digger” out. We put the scratch on it, so I felt more comfortable about it, just to make sure that it was super hip-hop, and it just soared beyond my wildest dreams. I think that when you stop being afraid is when you stop being good. And I think that, because of the whole [idea of the] sophomore jinx, I was really in the studio, and I made music like I was really in tune with everything that was going on. People say that the key to failure is trying to please everybody, right? I feel like that’s a cop-out. I say, why not try? If you reach for the stars, you’ll fall on a cloud. Why not try to make something that has a lot of appeal? Why not try to make something that can be played on the radio but also gets respect in the barbershops? Every now and then there’s one of those records that happen like that. But usually rappers get one of those on an album, or maybe one or two of those a year. I said, Why not make a whole album of those? And I sat back and I said, Well, okay, what are the elements? Well, musicality. People like melody. So let’s have melody. Okay, but with hip-hop, you need drums and real lyrics and lines that catch people and emotion, and people relate to it. So put that on there, too. And subject matter. Make it something that everybody can understand. Speak in a way that people understand what the fuck you’re talking about. And that’s what I did.

——- Read the rest of our Kanye West feature in XXL’s September 2007 issue (#95)

XXL Staff Picks

Songs of the Year:

“Still Tippin’,” Mike Jones featuring Slim Thug & Paul Wall
“Stay Fly,” Three 6 Mafia featuring 8Ball & MJG & Young Buck
“Candy Shop,” 50 Cent featuring Olivia
“Gold Digger,” Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
“I’m a Hustla,” Cassidy
“Hate It or Love It,” The Game featuring 50 Cent
“Wait (The Whisper Song),” Ying Yang Twins
“Soul Survivor,” Young Jeezy featuring Akon
“Sittin’ Sidewayz,” Paul Wall
“Diamonds From Sierra Leone,” Kanye West

Albums of the Year:

Late Registration, Kanye West
The Massacre, 50 Cent
Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101, Young Jeezy
The Documentary, The Game
Tha Carter 2, Lil Wayne

  • BirdsFlySouth

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre

  • ABC

    BirdsFlySouth Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No, you are not the only person. I don’t like The Massacre!!!

  • whiteboy

    the massacre was garbage

  • NAWLEDGE

    BirdsFlySouth Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am
    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre

    ABC Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:08 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No, you are not the only person. I don’t like The Massacre!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    COSIGN!!!! MASSACARE SUCKED! THAT ALBUM PROVED 50 FELL OFF.

  • dez

    NAWLEDGE Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:16 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am
    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre

    ABC Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:08 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No, you are not the only person. I don’t like The Massacre!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    COSIGN!!!! MASSACARE SUCKED! THAT ALBUM PROVED 50 FELL OFF.
    ^^^^^
    massacare was boo boo jeezy was sick

  • def

    the massacre sucked

  • Fame

    First Bitches!!!

    Staright from the LDN (LONDON)

    Yeah Kanye did his fing dat year den it all got to his head and he started spitting out his dummy and running on stage and shit crying bout he aint one no awards.
    But he was, is and will always be a sick mc, so giv him props where he deserves dem.
    I jus wanna no wen hes gonna cum perform in my hometown SOUTH LONDON, nas already bin dere and done his fing but den sum fuckas let off shots and shut da concert dwn!

  • Trizzle

    Massacre was weak as fuck dog

  • Just Bayze

    fuck kanye worst but it was an o.k album I loved them “broke skits”,the funny thing is he sold 860,000 in the 1st week but ended up selling only 2 mill and fif sold the same with get rich but sold 11 million,I bet you guyz are still debating whose goin to sell the most on 9/11,i’ll go with fif the massacre did 8 mill and 1,4 mill in the 1st week,ef yall’s bitchin let the soundscan be the judg of that.curtis or graduation?

  • Just Bayze

    fuck kanye worst but it was an o.k album I loved them “broke skits”,the funny thing is he sold 860,000 in the 1st week but ended up selling only 2 mill and fif sold the same with get rich but sold 11 million,I bet you guyz are still debating whose goin to sell the most on 9/11,i’ll go with fif the massacre did 8 mill and 1,4 mill in the 1st week,ef yall’s bitchin let the soundscan be the judge of that.curtis or graduation?

  • http://defsounds.com dt

    IF T.I. AIN’T THE WINNER FOR 2006 THEN THIS IS BULLSHIT

  • jg420

    NAWLEDGE Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:16 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am
    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre

    ABC Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:08 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No, you are not the only person. I don’t like The Massacre!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    COSIGN!!!! MASSACARE SUCKED! THAT ALBUM PROVED 50 FELL OFF.

    Co sign all of that. The massacre was 50′s crossover to the “ja rule style”. I know jeezy had a hot year but that fool is garbage too, so props to kanye. I hope he can reproduce next month

  • Rockcity

    Yes the massacre was some bullshit, Late registration was not to be fucked with, the production was sick, the content was decent and the bitch had 21 songs on it and there was only about 1 or 2 i could do without, Kanye works hard to make good music, he will never try to sell his fans some bullshit and that’s what i like about him. BTW, ALBUM SALES DON’T DETERMINE IF AN ALBUM IS GOOD OR NOT, ESPECIALLY WITH TODAYS BUSINESS, SO TAKE THAT SOUNDSCAN SHIT AND STICK IT UP YA ASS.

  • Beef

    Ye stay doin it big was definitely his year, coppin that Graduation 911! Wonder who ’06 will be though.

  • suckaniggadickmakeaniggarich

    I am going to have to disagree with the majority here….Alothough The Massacre was not Get Rich or Die Tryin’ i still thought it was hot. I could have done away with candy shop and the soft shit but I liked the Gunz Come OUt track and Position of Power. I also thought the get in my car shit was good. I think the massacre was what I was expecting and thats why it was good. ALso, I reallty think Game is a trash ass rapper but The Documentary was an excellent album. The Production on that shit was fire….now if I didnt have to keep hearing about his 6-4 and cali weed the whole time….it would have been better. Like it or not…

  • BirdsFlySouth

    dt Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:44 am
    IF T.I. AIN’T THE WINNER FOR 2006 THEN THIS IS BULLSHIT
    ^^^^^^
    True enough The King sucked, but who else is it gonna be? 2006 just sucked all together, but if I had to choose it’ll be Snoop or Game.

  • Pingback: University Update - George W Bush - Kanye West 2005 Man of the Year

  • Dana

    For album the year in 2005 you guys forgot Little Brother “The Minstrel Show”.To me I enjoyed that album more than “Late Registration”

  • wat-wat-watt

    i bought the massacre, and i wanted MY MONEY BACK!!!

  • Danny

    jg420 Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:47 am
    NAWLEDGE Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:16 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am
    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre

    ABC Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:08 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No, you are not the only person. I don’t like The Massacre!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    COSIGN!!!! MASSACARE SUCKED! THAT ALBUM PROVED 50 FELL OFF.

    Co sign all of that. The massacre was 50’s crossover to the “ja rule style”. I know jeezy had a hot year but that fool is garbage too, so props to kanye. I hope he can reproduce next month

    ^^^
    Massacare sucked!!

  • Mikestreet

    Danny Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 1:22 pm
    jg420 Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:47 am
    NAWLEDGE Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:16 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am
    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre

    ABC Says:

    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:08 am
    BirdsFlySouth Says:
    August 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 am

    I think I’m the only person in the country that didn’t like The Massacre
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    No, you are not the only person. I don’t like The Massacre!!!
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    COSIGN!!!! MASSACARE SUCKED! THAT ALBUM PROVED 50 FELL OFF.

    Co sign all of that. The massacre was 50’s crossover to the “ja rule style”. I know jeezy had a hot year but that fool is garbage too, so props to kanye. I hope he can reproduce next month

    ^^^
    Massacare sucked!!

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^
    The Massacre was asscheeks

  • grapes

    whack year..

  • soy yo

    weak or tough, 50 sells!! Massacre didnt have the same expectation get rich had but still had an excellent production, it lacked lyrics.

  • Young L

    most known unknown should have been on best albums

  • COMPLETE PACKAGE

    ANOTHER POST TURNED INTO A FREE FOR ALL ON 50, FUCK IT, MASSACARE WAS DOG SHIT, JUST A LITTLE BIT WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT SHIT

  • Purple Hulk

    IM TIRED OF SEEING THIS FAGGOT ON THIS SITE, YN, STOP WITH THE DAMN MAN CRUSHES, THIS SITE NEEDS MORE ARTISTS FEATURED BESIDES YOUR FUCKBUDDYS.

  • Cuban Link

    i think the Game shouldve been the Man of this Year, hate it or love it, how we do, dreams, homie ran 05

  • H-LO

    Hmmm, seems like there didn’t come out a real big classic since The Blueprint…

    and fuck record sales

  • Rodjilius

    kanye is smart he knows what hes doin so he deserved dat one

  • RB

    Are you kidding me? I know that Kanye is the better artist, but 50 owned 2005. The Massacre, half the documentary, the movie, the book. Wasn’t he like the only dude since The Beatles to have 4 or 5 songs in the top 10? That’s fucking ridiculous. He was the biggest pop icon in the music industry. 50′s been the biggest artist in rap this decade. Hate him or love him, dude knows how to get it. I love Kanye, but y’all are on some backwards shit.

  • RB

    Shiiiiiit. I know The Massacre wasn’t his finest moment, but I know you all know Hustler’s Ambition is the truth. Hate it or love it, how we do, candy shop, disco inferno, out of control remix, hustler’s ambition, just a lil bit, and the list goes on. All those joints were banging out your stereo, so don’t front. Shit, I don’t like all those songs, but don’t forget 50 came hard. Ski Mask Way, Huster’s Ambition, Balitmore Love Thing, I’m Supposed to Die Tonight, I Don’t Need ‘Em. This dude caters to the way the music business is changing. Fill an album up with a bunch of shit and let the kids with iPods take off what they don’t dig. Take The Massacre and the GRODT soundtrack and you can make a sick playlist. Not to hop on his dick or anything, but 50′s just a smart motherfucker. Kanye can make a nice cohesive start to finish album, but 50 makes hits and he lets you decide what you want.

  • RB

    Shoot. And he had a video game.

  • Vj

    I’m a huge Kanye fan and he had one of the best albums and years in 2005. But Game should have been the 05 man of the year because he started the year off releasing “The Documentary,” a classic album. Then, leaving G-Unit and taking on the entire crew for a long period of time and releasing three classic mixtapes in the Summer through Winter.

  • k0nfidence

    last good year of hip hop was 2005.

  • k0nfidence

    sorry, in 2006 ghostface dropped fishscale.

    fishscale king minus “what you know”

  • Dude

    ^How can you not like “What You Know?”

  • Dude

    How much glue do you have to be sniffing to think that “Candy Shop” was one of the best songs of 2005?

  • Yall Niggas Crazy

    Yall niggas shoulda included Koopa’s “Sound Of Revenge” for albums of the year. That nigga had one of the hottest singles (Ridin’) on that album!!! And the Massacre shouldnt have even been mentioned!!! That shit sucked ass!!! Wouldnt nobody in the hood bumpin that weak ass shit cuz!!!

  • http://xxlmag.com illp

    OK EVRYBODY PLASE PLEASE LOOK MASSACRE WHAS NOT GET RICH IT’S SURE IT WHAS NOT THE 50 WE EXPECT BUT 2 BIG UP FOR FIFTY THAT YEAR FIRTS FOR MAKING A BIG PRODUCTION ON THE DOCUMANTARY AND ALSO THE DID 1 MILLION ON 4 FUCKING DAY MAN BIG UP MAN TO 50 MASSACRE STILL HAVE MAKE HIM MORE MONEY CANDY SHOP #1 US JUST LIL BIT #5 DISCO INFERNO #3 AND OUTTA CONTROLE REMIX #6 SO 4 SINGLES ON TOP TEN BIG TO FIFTY FOR MASSACRE AND CAN’T WAIT FOR CURTIS SEPT 11 GO COP IT OR GET FUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/lilroebitch Lil Roe

    Man…..Kanye is THAT nigga….I mean, you either gone love the guy or hate him….either way, he STILL gone talk shit AND get dough….man, he is the new generation Pac….now, I know I’mma catch a lot of Roberta’s last name for that(flack….lol) but, as far as speaking his mind and being a media obsession Ye is def the “new” Pac…..and he’ll talk shit about it

  • K-Lillz

    i gave away massacre

  • tumi

    Where is THE Naked Truth on the list. Come On!!!

  • Deep

    50 is ja rule on Roids’…I’m just a hater though…I’m still wishin dude that shot him 9 times had another gun. Why is violence the only thing that sells …killings cool til its ur moms or ur brother then its a bitch. Right? I’m white and I think my race is the reason 50 is rich…these lil wannabees think 50′s real…LOL….SHYNE is real, Mysonne is real, Game is real….Even Kanye is Real…they did them….50 just doin whatever Ja forgot….Sing em to death 50 I believe u Can

  • STILLMATIK 13

    the Kon man will dominate 50 on 9/11