As both a celebration of the official release of Kanye West’s seventh studio album and a shameless attempt to draw traffic to my blog, I decided to take a look at Yeezy’s career arc by examining the references he’s made to consumer and luxury brands across all seven of his studio releases. Though today’s release, Yeezus, is darker than Kanye’s previous work, Chicago’s favorite son drops more consumption references on the album (23) than he did on Watch the Throne (15) and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (4) combined. Follow me after the jump for five awesome infographics that will reveal which brand the self-proclaimed “Louis Vuitton Don” has cited most often (Hint: It’s not Louis Vuitton), a word cloud of every Kanye product placement drop and other fascinating information.
1. Most referenced brands
Though ‘Ye has famously proclaimed himself the Louis Vuitton Don, you might be surprised to find out that the French fashion house is actually the rapper’s second-most frequently referenced brand, and by a wide margin. Indeed, the title of most-referenced product goes to the German auto maker Mercedes-Benz, which takes the checkered flag with a whopping 18 mentions. Mercedes-Benz also wins my personal award for Kanye’s dopest brand-infused flow (“Killin’ y’all n*****s on that lyrical shit/Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push Miracle Whips.” — Last Call).
2. “Couture-level Flow”
Though Mercedes-Benz was the brand Kanye referenced most across his seven studio albums, spots two through four are all fashion brands. In fact, 90 of Kanye’s 208 brand references were about clothing and fashion products (43%). In addition to cars and clothes, Kanye also liked talking about booze (15 references) and food, soft drinks and restaurants (20).
3. Tracking Materialism Over Time
Though Kanye’s aspirational first two albums, The College Dropout and Late Registration each included more than 50 references to specific products, his interest in rapping about such things has seemed to take a dive as he’s become more successful. In fact, his brooding 808s & Heartbreaks in 2008 included just four product name-drops. For clarity’s sake, I only counted the product placement in Kanye’s verses on Watch the Throne and excluded the brand-checks Jay-Z made. All guest verses were excluded from this study, as was the rambling part of “Last Call” (you know the part I’m talking about).
4. The Life of a Don
As you might expect, Kanye’s tastes skew toward luxury goods. But how much? I found that 123 of the 208 products references (59%) were about luxury and high-end brands, with the rest spanning the gamut from Banana Republic all the way down to Depends. From Late Registration‘s “Late”: “Will I make it from the student loans to a Benz-o?/Like old folks pissin’, I guess it all Depends, oh, oh.”
5. Wordcloud, y’all!
And now, a word cloud of every single brand Kanye has mentioned on his seven studio albums. Click the image to enlarge: