It has been 12 years since Kanye West dropped 808s & Heartbreak, which featured singles such as Heartless, Amazing, Say You Will, and Love Lockdown. T-Pain and his love for auto-tunes inspired the album. However, the album to this day is still getting mixed reviews, and it came out in 2008.
The project, according to one of the producers Miykal Snoddy, 808s & Heartbreak really showcased West’s talent as an artist, sparked Lil Wayne’s Rebirth album that dropped in 2010, and also created a line for Drake.
“That album I feel really started to show the genius of Kanye West because he was not seen as a lyricist. He was able to show his creativity as an artist, and I think that was pivotal for him. Even though he did not say why we were in Hawaii, because the first two weeks they did Jay-Z’s album [The Blueprint 3], and then they did Kanye’s for two weeks with influences coming in from Drake, Lil Wayne, and T-Pain,” said Snoddy.
“After that album, we saw Lil Wayne release his Rebirth album changing his whole vibe and opening the door sparking Drake’s career. 808 showcased emotion in hip-hop, and then Drake came in and perfected it. I feel that [the] album did a lot more than the commercial sales indicated.”
Over the past 11 years, since Drake released his mixtape ‘So Far Gone’ a couple of months after Heartbreak dropped, he has been what many consider to be the number one artist for over a decade. He has dazzled us with hit records after hit records, but can we really pinpoint Drake’s career opening to 808s & Heartbreak? I recently asked a six-time Grammy Award Winning Producer, Malik Yusef, that same question, and if he agreed with Snoody’s statement.
“I can concur with that statement. You look at an artist like T-Pain who has made a career off of Auto-Tunes, and we have always used Auto-Tunes; it wasn’t new for us. We used it on ‘College Dropout.’ We just didn’t overuse it as T-Pain used it as a feature. Which was an added tier like a background T-Pain used it a feature, and once T-Pain did that, it showed us that we could go ahead and do the same thing? Now, T-Pain can actually sing, so it is a little different for him, and he was able to go crazy with it,” said Yusef.
“But, we were scientifically together, and you have to understand when we are creating that is 40 or 50 people creating with us simultaneously. So, this is not done in a vacuum, these albums are deliberate and done purposely and with the intent of being great. We bring the great creatives possible around, and we get the best people we possibly can, and make that apart of our aesthetic.”
Yusef also shared with me that it is not by mistake that these singles and full projects come out great and also talked about some of the star-studded creatives that were in the studio during the creation process of 808s and Heartbreak.
“It is not by accident that these albums come out great, and it is kind of hard to lose a battle when you have every conceivable warrior with every conceivable skill. Also equipped with the weapons and also equipped with bringing in direction, information about what that battle is. People that have been successful in different arenas of the music game,” Yusef said. “We all came through with different ideologies having Plain Pat, Malik Yesuf, Common, Mike Dean, No I.D, Rhymefest, John Legend, T-Pain, Rihanna, and Beyoncé to just have in the room. It’s almost foolproof, and not even a fool can mess that up.”
Yusef has worked out several projects with Drake, which includes Take Care, Better Find Your Love [Thank Me Later], and recently, on the single Glow [More Life], which was released in 2018.