The 50 Best Kanye West Songs Ever

26 of 51

26. Heard ‘Em Say

Release Date: November 8th, 2005

Album: Late Registration

Writer(s): Kanye West, Adam Levine, Michael Masser, Gerry Goffin

Producer(s): West, Jon Brion

Notable Lyric:

“They say people in your life for seasons

And anything that happen is for a reason

And n*ggas gun clapping and keep to squeezing

And Gran keep praying and keep believing”

It’s hard to say what the more controversial aspect of “Heard ‘Em Say” is: Kanye’s collaboration with Marron 5’s Adam Levine, or his assertion in the song that the United States government released the AIDS virus into the population.

The initial guess is that it’s got to be the AIDS thing, but think about it. Levine might be a talented singer, but is there anything more distantly removed from the path Kanye’s burnt through the music industry and American culture itself than freaking Maroon 5?

How exactly is it that generic U2 wannabes ever meaningfully crossed paths with the Mozart of our generation?

Of course, this was recorded in 2005, long before such criticisms of one of the planet’s most popular bands ever found a toehold. Back then it might have seemed as natural for Kanye to reach out to Levine as it did for him to reach out to hipster darling Bon Iver in 2010 for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Next: 25. All Day