The 50 Best Kanye West Songs Ever

48 of 51

4. Can’t Tell Me Nothing

Release Date: May 15, 2007

Album: Graduation

Writer(s): Kanye West, Aldrin Davis

Producer(s): West, DJ Toomp

Notable Lyric:

“I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven

When I awoke, I spent that on a necklace

I told God I’d be back in a second

Man it’s so hard not to act reckless”

A huge part of Kanye’s appeal is his outsized, bombastic ego. You can hear even in his earliest stuff. Over the years that narcissism has been reflected, refracted, repurposed and retooled too many times to count, but it probably never shined brighter than it did on “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.”

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy deservedly gets a tremendous amount of hype and plaudits for being the album where Kanye became (perhaps only temporarily) complete, but Graduation and songs like “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” were vital routes taken on the journey to that self-actualization.

His ego butts heads with his religion, is buoyed by his finances, bounces off his relationships and settles at a comfortable distance from all three. As the song’s title suggests, he’s far beyond the point where he can hear — and thus appreciate — your criticisms, so why even bother?

Next: 3. Power